Owen Strachan: God’s Glory Is Diminished by Male Fails?

"Nothing gives one a more spuriously good conscience than keeping rules." ‪#CSLewis


Boyce College
The intensely sweating Owen Strachan-Boyce College


One of my calendars has informed me that October 12 is “National Momentary Scream of Frustration Day.” I have decided to start celebrating that auspicious occasion today. If there can be 12 days of Christmas, surely there can be 12 days of Momentary Screams of Frustration. So, take a moment now and join me in this festive occasion.For those of you who lead a serene and placid life with no cause for such a scream, I offer you my services to get your scream on.

For your inspiration, I provide Owen Strachan (Pronounced “Stran”), yes the one mentioned in the Rachel Held Evans/TGC post.

From the Associated Baptist Press here, we learn that

“Owen Strachan, assistant professor of Christian theology and church history at Boyce College, the undergraduate arm of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., described “dad moms” as “man fails” in an article in the Spring 2012 issue of The Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.”

Here is a link to the full article provided by Denny Burk. In the Journal of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, we learn the Biblical reasoning for his conclusions.

“For millennia, followers of God have practiced what used to be called patriarchy and is now called complementarianism.

Working from Gen 1:26-27, Christians have historically argued for the full equality of the sexes (though at times our theory has outpaced our practice). The fact that Adam was created first and given a leadership role from the start in naming the animals and taking dominion has weighed heavily in the gender roles of many believers; that Adam’s work is cursed in Gen 3:15 has seemed to many to suggest that in God’s economy, men bear the responsibilities of provision. This view is corroborated by a diverse array of texts that touch on the matter either directly or indirectly.

It is the men of Israel who leave the home to provide food for their families (see Genesis 37, for example); the husband of the Proverbs 31 woman sits with the elders in the gates while she cares for her family and home in manifold ways; women in Titus 2:5 are instructed to be “workers at home,” even as young widows are called by Paul to “marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander” (1 Tim 5:14).

These texts fit with the biblical-theological role Christ plays for his church in redeeming her; he is her head, her provision, and she depends upon him to live (see Ephesians 5). In a marriage, men fill this Christic role. We therefore have explicit textual reasons for calling men to be providers for their families, particularly when God gives the blessing of children, but we should not neglect the rich theme of Christ’s provision for his bride. Men who wish to be like Christ, in other words, do well to image his sacrificial labor by their own.”

In the article he also claims his goal is to

“show the world a new kind of manhood, a redeemed kind, a self-sacrificial, strong, bold, and loving kind.”

I have a simple question. If it was so “biblical”, why would so many people, Christians included, find his comments disparaging? Are we all just gospel losers? (I fear they would say yes).

According to ABP post, he "defended his thesis Sept. 25 in a Moody Radio program debate over the question, “Are Stay-at-Home Dads Violating God’s Design for Men and Women?” His pronouncements on that show and other venues are causing an mild uproar.

I would like to present Strachan’s statements as the main evidence in my claim that men and women can use the Bible to “prove” just about anything. In ages past, the Bible was used to put Galileo in jail for saying the earth moved around the sun, in clear violation of the literal interpretation of Scripture. It was used to justify slavery and racism. It was used to prevent women from voting.

I believe that I can make a pretty good case, that the “literal” view of the Bible is often developed by applying “theology du jour” (currently-Neo-Calvinism) mixed liberally with current cultural values and lifestyles. Strachan, who is married to SBTS professor Bruce Ware's daughter, is a proponent of the patriarchal view of gender. This view is espoused by the current crop of Calvinistas who appear to believe that they hold the keys to the “proper” interpretation of the gender specific passages of Scriptures. In fact, I find it rather amusing how they appear to project our current lifestyle into the Scriptural narrative.

Strachan claims that women should be in the home; not men.

The following statement is from the ABP article.

“I would say both men and women bear the image of God and so are fully invested for a life of meaningful service for God,” Strachan said. “That’s my starting point, but I would say then from a broad biblical theology that men are called to be leaders, providers, protectors and women are nurturers.”

“Women follow men in the home and the church,” he said. “Women are called to the high calling of raising families, given that God blesses them with children and making homes, being homemakers. These are roles that I think Scripture hands down for us pretty clearly in texts like Genesis 3.”


  • What happens when God does not bless a woman with a husband and children? Have single women blown it in the “high-calling” department? Do we say that single women are fulfilling a low calling. (Reminds me of that great country song: "I've got friends in low places.")
  • Where in the Bible does it say that men cannot be nurturers? 
  • Women have fought in battle, even in Scripture (Deborah)so why can’t some women be protectors as well?
  • What happens when a woman is widowed? She becomes a leader and protector of the family.

Strachan elaborates on our roles within or under the "curse' in Genesis.

“Adam is the one whose work is cursed, so Eve’s childbearing is cursed and then Adam’s work of the ground is cursed in Genesis 3:17-19,” Strachan said. “That’s very interesting, because it seems in Genesis 3 that the primary sphere of activity for each person – for the woman and the man – bears the effect of the curse now that Adam and Eve have fallen.”

“It’s(work) is  going to be hard,” he said. “It’s going to be long. It may bring injury to your body, but it means that’s part of – ironically here, because we’re talking about a curse – that that’s ironically what is going to bring God glory.”


1. The quoted verse literally say that childbearing would be painful.

"I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
 with painful labor you will give birth to children." (Gen3:16-NIV)

I agree that childbirth is painful. Been there; done that. But, where in the world does it say that all “women must now be the primary caregiver?” Maybe its in the ESV?

2.TheScripture then goes on to state the coming difficulty with working the land.

"Cursed is the ground because of you;
  through painful toil you will eat food from it
 all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
 and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow
 you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
  since from it you were taken; for dust you are
 and to dust you will return." ( Gen3:17-19-NIV)

But, it is patently obvious that Adam is not the only one who is going to return to the ground, Eve will do so as well. Since this verse refers to both of them in terms of death, why does Strachan conclude that only the man must toil by the sweat of his brow. Women have been involved in soil cultivation and farming from the beginning, often bringing their children with them into the fields. 

Strachan seems to indicate that stay at home dads diminish God's glory!

Here is where Strachan gets really weird.

From the ABP article:

“Strachan said he doesn’t think that Christian men who stay at home with the kids are necessarily lacking in faith and that it’s something about which Christians can disagree, “but I do think God’s glory is in being a godly provider as a man and taking on the burden of provision and taking on this call of Genesis 3.”

“God doesn’t suggest to us anywhere in Scripture that I’m aware that we try to figure things out as we best see fit,” he said. “He gives us an arrangement. He gives us a model, a blueprint. And that’s for his glory.


If God’s glory is dependent on women staying home with the children and men working in the field, then why doesn’t God say that loud and clear? Is God 's glory so fragile that it is diminished if Fred stays home with the kids? Assuming that Strachan is a literalist (which is a safe bet since he is at Boyce) I want to see the literal words in these quoted passages. I'm looking, I'm not seeing them.

Strachan claims that his theories are what is best for kids.

From ABP:

“That is “a properly biblical understanding of the family, in which children are being nurtured and cared for.”“I want children to thrive,” Strachan said. “I want what is best for them.”


Strachan claims he is doing this in the best interests of all children, not just some children. Does he claim he really knows the best path for all? One size does not fit all. Let me share with you a decision that my husband and I made that went against the "boiler plate" treatment plan of some doctors.

I still remember a conversation I had with a hematologist/oncologist when we decided not to radiate our daughter’s brain tumor. We had some logical medical reasons for our decision which, in the long run, proved to be absolutely correct. This decision caused controversy with the oncologists because they believed that their “radiation treatment” was the only correct treatment modality.

This doctor called me in order to get me to reconsider our decision. She said to me “We want your daughter to live a long life.” In a momentary loss of control,  I heatedly replied, “What the heck do you think I want? I want it far more than you do.” Interestingly, that same doctor, 8 years later would tell me she was glad I stood my ground because, had I taken her  "solution," our daughter would still have lived but she would have been profoundly mentally compromised.(Nerves are not fully myelinated at the age of three which causes serious destruction in the brain of a young child).

This doctor was offering us one acceptable method of treatment. Her problem was that she mistakenly thought it was the only correct  solution. We saw another way and it was the better way for our child and her particular situation. Our decision for our daughter was spot on and today she is an Emergency Room nurse.

Strachan appears to be coming up with one set of rules that are supposed to fit all families. He is wrong to do so; just as that doctor was wrong to insist that we use her boilerplate treatment for our daughter. He does not  even have Bible verses that clearly state these "Strachan rules." One size fits all does not take into account a variety of solutions that fit into God’s plans for families. It is far easier to take a one size fits all approach because tidy rules make us very comfortable that we are “following God.” The Pharisees enjoyed those types of rules as well. 

In a Christianity Today blog here, we learn more of Strachan’s superficial application of rules to becoming a  “gender correct” families.

Strachan tries the "day care argument."

"My wife and I used to live across the street from a daycare and were always sad observing the overwhelmed worker trying to care for several screaming babies at once. God's plan is better than this. He has gifted my wife to lavish love and thoughtful attention on my two kids."


Here is a comment on that blog response.

“What about women who have large families, as is popular in the more extreme wings of the patriarchal movement? Those children don't get much more attention than do the daycare children.” (Dee gives this the comment of the week award!)

Strachan: Only men herded sheep and tended fields in the Bible.

“It is men who are out in the fields and tending the sheep in the Old Testament, not women; that seems so plain as to be obvious."


Another reader commented

“Ruth, Zipporah, and Rebekah would beg to differ with that assessment.”

Another said:

“Hey better reread Ruth, it turns out some women in the Bible worked in the fields, and the ones who had all the time in the world to spend with their children, had servants. The virtuous woman described at the close of Proverbs, has more going on concerning industry, labor, business, husbandry, distribution, and overtime hours, than most "bread winner" husbands today, plus she is a homemaker to boot.”

In my opinion, throughout history, women have worked in the fields, cared for animals, tended the gardens, made the butter, and sewed the clothes after spinning the wool. Talk about female "sweat of the brow!" Has Strachan ever visited any of the prairie history museums or been inside a South Dakota dugout? I have. Those women were incredible So, were they out of line, working alongside their husbands?

Today’s conveniences include homes replete with dishwashers, air conditioning, washers and dryers, readily available food at grocery stores, etc. which give women the ability to be able to do more than fight to eke out an existence. I also happen to know that many of today’s mega-church pastor's wives have full time help, a few even have cooks, so they can “follow the Lord” by spending days at the church and at conferences.

Are Old Testament practices normative for today?

Another problem raised by readers at Christianity Today is Strachan’s application of Old Testament practices directly applicable to today.

One reader said:

"Shall we also take the Old Testament practices of marriage as normative, arranged marriages, polygamy, etc.”

I might add that there were many practices condoned in the Old Testament. Children who cursed their parents could be stoned to death. Slaves were also used to help the man “with the sweat of his brow” labor. Next week I will be discussing a controversy going on over at TGC regarding the Puritans and slavery.

Strachan claimed that he has had to “sweat” to support his family. Although I am unable to find the original comment, several people in these posts commented that a seminary professor's work is hardly backbreaking akin to tilling the hard soil with profuse sweating covering the brow. This sound a bit like Mark Driscoll's "Hey, I'm a guy. I like cage fighting and I might punch out one of my pastors."

I might contend that it is the women who, bowing to Neo-Calvinist pressure, produce many children, homeschool them, clean the house cook,and get them to all of the church activities with smiling faces so dad looks like he has his family under control, who might be seen as having the real brow sweating, back breaking job. Dad gets to yuck it up with his professorial buddies and teach a few classes. Who the heck is really doing the sweating here, good night!

Pastors: Do They Get an Opt Out?

Here is another comment that I want to focus on for the rest of this post

“I wonder if some are not being too hard on Mr. Strachan. In his original post/comments he does make a concession in his otherwise strident dogmatism: husbands as "Dad-Moms" who are church planters or attending seminary that allow, even need their wives to work are exempt from being a "Man Fail.”

Pastors are not a special class of people. Their work is no different than the work of other disciples of Christ who work in banks or hospitals.  All Christians are in the business of the kingdom.

This following story is not meant as a criticism of this pastor’s choice. But this pastor is also a proponent of the complementarian approach. His choice is one that many people make every day of their lives and I understand.But why do I get the feeling that Strachan would not be pleased if a nonpastor family chose a similar approach?

This pastor wrote about this experience on a public blog on a complementarian site and seemed pretty pleased how this all worked out. Said pastor, married with two children, felt “called” to leave one church and become a pastor at another. This would necessitate him leaving the South for a far Northern town. But, there was a problem. Their house would not sell. So, taking a distinctly uncomplementarian approach, he headed north with the kids and had his wife stay behind, working to support the mortgage. This arrangement went on for 9 months after which, the church, feeling sad for their pastor, elected to assume the mortgage so the wife could join the family.

This pastor did not take on two jobs, working up a sweat as he broke his back to keep his family together. In fact, had the church not stepped in, this could be an ongoing arrangement. Who is it? He is none other than TGC's Jared Wilson. This is a link to his story.

Same batter; different shaped cake pans

In the end, I believe that we do more harm by enforcing standards that the Scriptures do not clearly delineate. There are many ways to run a family that is God-honoring. Here are some examples:

  • I am a nurse with an MBA. I worked primarily in nursing with a short stint in the pharmaceutical industry. We decided to have children late in our marriage because my husband had extensive residency and fellowship training. I stayed home with my children. We had a very sick daughter who required much supervision. It was hard to balance my attention between all three of my children. I am now writing a blog and enjoying my freedom to do so.
  • I know a husband and wife who are both dentists. They have their own practice and rotate who is working and who is home with the kids.
  • I know a husband and wife physician team who could not have children. Instead, they have dedicated their lives to ministry in a large university medical center, reaching out to the many medical and dental students.
  • The wife is a pediatric neurologist, the husband is a cardiologist. Both are respected in their fields of practice. He works full time. She works part time-evenings and weekends. The grandparents live near by to be available on those occasions that both must be working. They have successfully raised three boys, one of whom was handicapped.
  • The wife who is a well-known pediatrician. The husband is a computer expert. He decided to stay with the two children while she worked. He slowly built an at home computer business which blossomed after the daughters went off to college.

Then there is the Ian and Larissa situation. I bring them up because they are considered role models for a family. You can read their story here.

Larissa married Ian a few years after he was left damaged by terrible car accident. She took on the job as breadwinner for the family, consciously deciding to do this prior to becoming married. I disagree that Ian is the head of that household. It is evident that he is handicapped. Yet, Larissa chose, deliberately, to enter a marriage in which she is the bread winner, caretaker, and leader.And John Piper is desperately trying to claim that the husband is still the "leader" of this family because she just can't be in his paradigm.

Finally, I know a man whose wife walked out on him and their children. He worked by the sweat of his brow, often at night when the children were sleeping. He raised three wonderful girls who love him dearly. He braided the hair, he cooked the meals, he cleaned the house and did many things that would make him a “male fail” according to Strachan. Men just can't nurture, can they?

Here is the bottom line for every family. As long as the kids are loved and cared for, the house is relatively clean, mom and dad are in agreement seeking God, then who are we to tell anyone they are not doing it by the Book, especially since the Book is not perfectly clear in this regard? However, I do know that Mark Driscoll is very clear on these issues so Strachan may need to make a pilgrimage to Seattle.

Having a perfect life with a mom at home and a dad as a seminary professor does not guarantee happiness.  Deb and I know such a man. Bet you anything Strachan knows to whom I refer. They did it exactly the way they should. The wife sacrificed for the man, they had children, he became well known in the Reformed Baptist professorial world and was highly respected for his academic work. He served as an elder, his kids went to a perfect “classical” Christian school and everything was right by the rules.

However, one day, said professor ditched it all-church, seminary and family. The seminary world has been real quiet on this one.

The single female problem

Strachan unfortunately overlooks the problem of the single woman who is often the invisible church member. 

Here is a comment from the Christianity Today article

“This article reminds me of why I bagged Christianity and the church. Women are treated like second-, third-, fourth- or fifth-class citizens in the kingdom of God, depending on whether or not we're married, have children and stay at home. If you're like me, and you never married, never had kids and work outside the home, you can join me in the invisible fifth-class status. It's not just the young people who are bailing on the church, look around you. Do you see any older single women? Nope. We've gone elsewhere because we see a culturally bound organization that treats those who fail to conform with barely-veiled derision. No Thanks.”

I would like to take a minute to salute those Christian men who have to endure the derision of the likes of Strachan and Mark Driscoll as they seek to serve their families as stay at home dads. You are not “male fails.’ You are loving, responsible men who endure derision from the likes of Driscoll and his wannabes. Some day, they may have cause to eat those words.

I end with this link to Rachel Held Evans blog (that should irritate a few folks) in which she interviews a stay at home dad. If any stay at home dads, who are reading this, would like to write a post for us please let us know.

Lydia's Corner:Exodus 29:1-30:10 Matthew 26:14-46 Psalm 31:19-24 Proverbs 8:14-26



Owen Strachan: God’s Glory Is Diminished by Male Fails? — 205 Comments

  1. WOW! Can’t believe he said this:

    “For millennia, followers of God have practiced what used to be called patriarchy and is now called complementarianism.”

    Aren’t the comps refuting this exact statement all the time and saying COMPLEMENTARIANISM AND PATRIARCHY AREN’T the same thing?

    These folks can make your head spin. (I didn’t get very far . . . back to read.)

  2. This is so offensive, but I think you’ve dissected it pretty well.

    I once knew a pastor who was very into this kind of idea. He had not only a very specific view on gender-based work roles, but even specific views on what kind of jobs met his criteria.

    But there was one glaring exception: wealthy people. If you were wealthy, especially wealthy enough to not require typical employment, that was great. If you were rich, even if you inherited and had never worked a day in your life, that was perfectly fine. You could be a man of leisure. Especially if you were giving money to the church.

    There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus /and/ have a substantial bank account. Especially if they are paying a good bit of the pastor’s salary.

  3. I always wonder – if taking care of the home is such a ‘high calling’ (and this phrase is used A LOT), then why is such a calling beneath men? Why is a man who fulfils this ‘high calling’ a lesser, deficient man? It can’t properly be a high calling if it’s only such for one gender and a horrible bad thing for the other gender. It just doesn’t work that way.

  4. Pingback: Owen Strachan: God's Glory Is Diminished by Male Fails? | The … | Christian Dailys

  5. I despise anyone who takes the word failure, truncates it to fails, and expects to be taken seriously.

    It’s just like a public figure using the ‘word’ ginormous or absotively posilutely. Pinkie Pie can say okie dokie loki, but if you want to be taken seriously, you should use your words.

  6. Oh yeah – once again the logic of my post is superior to that of the Calvinista in question 🙂

  7. Bridget
    At SBTS they are saying that patriarchy is the correct word and think complementarian is for weenies. We have written on this. If I remember, I will get you a link in the AM.

  8. I am very grateful to be married to a wonderful man who gave up a job as a private practice physician and sold his car so that we could move to Chicago and he could look after our toddler while I attended graduate school. It was an incredibly precious time in our lives and he is still close to our oldest daughter as a result of having spent actual time with her over the course of two years. Although he has now been in full time employment for the past 12 years, he still takes an equal share of the housekeeping. A male-fail? Good grief. You go, Hippipapa.

  9. Dee,

    Great post!

    BTW – we’ll be harvesting our 240 acres of cotton soon. I’ll be doing my part to help. Owen could learn A LOT about working up a sweat on our farm.

  10. when will they see the simple logic of the Genesis story. Adam came from the dust of the ground, now the advent of sin has made him subject to the ground, and his relationship with it is one of painful toil. Eve was made from Adam’s flesh, now the advent of sin has made her subject to him, and the fruit of her relationship with him is one of painful toil. It has nothing to do with gender roles, it has to do with the poetic symmetry of the way God explains the story to us. Besides, why, oh why, oh why, do these guys think that the Kingdom of God is best served by perpetuating the curse? Isn’t the Kingdom of Jesus about undoing the curse? In my view it is.

    Just like the Pharisees, these guys go on inventing new legalisms, and new forms of religious slaveries over issues that Jesus never felt a need to mention. Talk about taking the traditions of men (e.g. a patriarchal system that won out in a world where superior physical strength was a survival issue) and making it equal to, or greater than, the Word of God!!!!

  11. If he insists on going back to Genesis, in all fairness he should remember that life in the OT was very, very different than in the 21st century. They were nomadic in many cases and Sarah & Abraham lived in tents. They were an agricultural people whose lives revolved around their land. And they lived in villages/tribes/communities so husbands, wives, and children all worked in providing food and shelter.

    As life progresses throughout the Bible, so did industry, technology, travel, literacy, customs, and traditions.

    As an assistant professor of Christian theology and church history, you’d think Strachan would know how life in Genesis differs from life in the 21st century!

  12. When I was in college, one of the more conservative churches in town–I can’t remember which denomination–actually closed down their thriving day care because they feared it was encouraging women to work outside the home. I have some news for these folks and for Mr. Strachan: working outside the home has actually made me a better mother. Our daughter’s severe reflux drove me to the absolute brink. It affects her sleeping (she can’t get comfortable and so doesn’t sleep very long unless she’s being held), her eating (she has days when eating hurts so much that she refuses, which makes for a very anxious mom), and her temperament (she’s very high maintenance). At four and a half months it was clear that I just couldn’t stay home all day every day. Returning to my old job was actually a leap of faith for me, because I was worried that she would be upset by my absence and this would make the reflux worse. But I needed a break, so I did it. Turns out, going back to work was exactly what we both needed. Now, when I come home, she has a big smile for me and often falls asleep in my arms–and since I’ve had time to myself during the work day, I don’t mind sitting and holding her for an hour or two. I come home refreshed and better able to care for her and enjoy my time with her, and she seems calmer because her caregivers are calmer. Tell me, Mr. Strachan, which is more God-honoring: sacrificing my mental health and potentially putting my daughter in danger when I finally snap from exhaustion and frustration just to say that I stay at home with her all the time, or taking care of her by taking care of myself and letting someone else tend to her for several hours a day? I wouldn’t wish infant reflux on my worst enemy, but I do wish men (and some overly zealous women, too) could experience just one day of what we’ve endured for the last six months before passing judgement on our decisions.

  13. Amy,

    Your comment reminded me of what happened at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2001 when then president Paige Patterson closed the seminary-operated day care center.

    You can read about it here.

  14. His article was amusing. But as long as he is sweating on his brow in his office at work…(best be turnng the a/c off so he can be true to his broad biblical theology) then he is portraying God glorifying biblical man-work with the necessary biblical accessory of brow sweat. Yes indeed.

    I am getting 2 different messages in these paragraphs:

    “Strachan said he doesn’t think that Christian men who stay at home with the kids are necessarily lacking in faith and that it’s something about which Christians can disagree, “but I do think God’s glory is in being a godly provider as a man and taking on the burden of provision and taking on this call of Genesis 3.”

    “God doesn’t suggest to us anywhere in Scripture that I’m aware that we try to figure things out as we best see fit,” he said. “He gives us an arrangement. He gives us a model, a blueprint. And that’s for his glory.”

    In the first paragraph he says men staying home aren’t necessarily lacking in faith and Christians can disagree about this.

    In the second paragraph he seems to say the opposite. He says we really do not have the freedom to “try to figure things out as we best see fit,” which, to me, now indicates that we cannot really agree to disagree. And if there is a “blueprint” or “model” from God as he suggests, then that is something that obviously needs to be followed…and if not, aren’t you disobeying God? So, which is it? Blueprint?…or Christians can disagree?

  15. @ Lynne T: Flipping brilliant. Why have I never heart this take on the story before? It makes SO much sense! Light bulb sensation!

  16. Deb, Ouch. Note the timing of those closures–they coincide nicely with the 2000 revision of the Baptist faith and message and subsequent revocation of the credentials of women who had previously been licensed by the SBC to do chaplaincy work. I graduated from SBTS the semester before they announced the closure of the child care center, and this is the first I've heard about it. But the timing fits. When I was a CE student there, it was still possible to concentrate in early childhood education. The child care center was part learning lab and part student service, because few students with families can afford to have dad be a full time student and have mom stay home. I guess the grand plans for the CE school to switch to the family integrated model must have already been in the works.

  17. Reading Strachan's article, I'm wondering whether he's ever known any families where the mother works. Or if he knows many women at all. Scratch that, I'm wondering how many people outside his own little circle of likeminded patriarcialists he knows. Celebrities are 'our most trusted guides'? Children are unhappy and unable to understand? Mr Strachan, both my parents worked, and both of them have education levels that match yours (I'm showing bias, but I'd say my parents' education levels are much higher, actually, despite being the same type of degree – doctorate – because of the field they work in) but I never felt unhappy or unloved. Indeed, I'm proud of and humbled by the achievements of both my parents. I certainly wouldn't want a world where women are limited because of their biology.

  18. Also his ‘I even do a few chores sometimes’ line is, frankly, pathetic. Oh aren’t you clever, Owen, sometimes you wash some dishes – quick, let me make you a certificate of congratulations for your wondrous contribution. Get over yourself. And as a single woman, can I just say that any potential husband of mine who doesn’t contribute to the domestic tasks of the household is pretty quickly going to be hungry and dishevelled, because I won’t cook and clean for someone who won’t participate.

  19. Hmm … Paul wrote that he who marries does well but that he who does not marry does even better.

  20. I just got caught up on the slavery/Puritan controversy a couple of days ago, and as I was reading the various responses to it, I was wondering what you guys would think about it. Can’t wait to read what you have to say next week.

    It just amazes me how historically- and culturally-blind these proponents of patriarchy can be. It’s like they’ve taken a view of family from 1950s sitcoms, deemed it “biblical” and “traditional,” and measure everything against that. They’re willing to drop literalism when it suits them–is the CEO really earning his family’s living “by the sweat of his brow,” literally?–but then wield it when it does, even though, in reality, the man who goes out to earn a paycheck at a desk job is no more literally fulfilling the Genesis 3 command than the man who serves his family by caring for the home and children.

  21. Strachan, who is married to SBTS professor Bruce Ware’s daughter…

    Does Bruce Ware have any sons? If not, has Strachan cinched the succession?

  22. “Gen 3:17-19 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
    Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
    In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”
    For the sake of argument, let us assume Gen 3 gives men the “role” of working.
    Comps read it as: Men should do income-getting work, women should do non-income work and be dependent on men.
    But it does not say that. If struggling against “thorns and thistles” is a gender role, then women should not do anything which nature itself fights her on, such as trying to keep food fresh (food has a habit of rotting or getting stale), or keeping places clean where nature would have ants, rats or roaches.. If “the sweat of thy face” is a gender role, then women should not work. As in – they should relax full time.
    Comp theologians seems to want only the income part – earning your bread – to be the male role. Why?
    And if women eat their bread by getting a husband who supply it, and submitting to him means working “in the sweat of her face” doesn’t she follow a male gender role?

  23. “Adam is the one whose work is cursed, so Eve’s childbearing is cursed and then Adam’s work of the ground is cursed in Genesis 3:17-19,” Strachan said. “That’s very interesting, because it seems in Genesis 3 that the primary sphere of activity for each person – for the woman and the man – bears the effect of the curse now that Adam and Eve have fallen.” – Strachan

    IF only Adam’s work is cursed, Owen, it will be the greatest possible reason to give women the work – if I was a boss, I’d prefer employees whose working has no curses on it!

    Similarly, IF only women are cursed in the childbearing/raising sphere of activity, it seems logical to let men raise their children – men’s work with children is not cursed.

  24. On a lighter, though not frivolous note, there is a glorious sunrise brewing here in central Scotland.

    I’ll compose something slightly longer once I’ve got Bryony to school (it’s 7:42 am here…), but a quick comment is in order for now. The story is told of how seriously John Wesley took Jesus’ promise of troubles and persecutions, since love of the world is hatred of the kingdom and vice versa. One day he was praying, whilst travelling on horseback to his next engagement, in concern that he seemed to have encountered little opposition lately. He asked God whether he was compromising somewhere or otherwise missing something important. At that moment, a man ran up and threw a brick at him. Wesley went on his way rejoicing…

    Anyway, after having watched the neo-Platonistic theologians of patriarchy persecuting our sisters in Christ, it’s nice (in an odd kind of way) to be able to join battle directly.

  25. My mother-in-law, the wife of a pastor, was widowed with five children while still in her 30's – my husband was the oldest at 12. She lived as a widow for almost 60 years, dying at 91. She completed her own bachelor's degree, worked as both a teacher and minister, and never remarried. At her funeral many people spoke about the way she had led them to Christ or influenced their Christian walk. I was one of them. She is not the only one. All of her children are Christians and leaders in their churches. How dare Mr. Strachan imply that this wonderful servant of God is somehow inferior or being punished because she was widowed so young and had to assume what he considers the male role!

  26. Please bear with me here, people, as I’ve got a shedload of things to do today (including fielding the delivery of a ton of sand/gravel and transporting same up the garden by wheelbarrow – good exercise!). So I’m going to throw out a load of piecemeal thoughts, I’m afraid.

    The next bit is an illustration of the silliness that hanging doctrines on single words of texts can lead to. I’ve had a quick look at two of the blogs Dee and Debs cite in the article. One of them contains a comment quoting 1 Tim 5:8, as “If anyone does not provide for his own, and especially those of his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever“. The commenter states, and I quote, “Note the inspired pronouns” and goes on to say that it must be a man that does the providing. Several other commentators, many of them highly reputed Biblianists, appear to do likewise with this verse.

    OK; let’s note the inspired pronouns. I don’t know how to get Greek characters to appear here, so I’ll spell it phonetically as best I can in the Roman alphabet:

    Ei de tis tohn idiohn kai malista oikeiown ou pronoei, tehn pistin ernetai kai estin apistou cheirohn.

    Word for word, that roughly translates:
    If but someone the relatives and especially household not supports, the faith has denied and is unbeliever worse.

    That’s right: there are no gender-specific pronouns in this verse.

    It would be pointless to deny that this is an extreme example of bad exegesis. It doesn’t, by itself, prove there’s no good exegesis that might support Strahan’s position. It simply illustrates one of the many dangers in deriving statutes and commandments, especially for those who have been crucified with Christ and are dead to the law, from the letter (more usually called the text) of scripture.

  27. Nick – about noting the inspired pronouns: Not only does the Greek have no male pronouns as you noted, a mere 8 verses further – 5:16 – there is a verse about providing that directly spells out both genders should provide for their families.

    Oh, I am sure his glasses make him read :8, without gender, as "men should go to work to provide money", and :16 as "women should prepare the meals and feed their medicines to them to provide, men should go to work to provide money".

    But it is not in there.

  28. 1. Strachan is using lots of patriarchy words (high calling, sphere, taking dominion, etc.).
    2. How old is he? He looks approximately 12 years old in that photo. I bet some of the “male fails” he criticizes are actually his elders, whom he is supposed to honor…
    3. I heard (from a college professor on a Teaching Company world history course) that in hunter-gatherer societies, before the advent of agriculture, it was the women who gathered seeds and grew plants while the men went out and hunted. So Strachan’s assertion that it was always men who handled the growing of food is off. And the fact that men went out and hunted has nothing to do with their “sphere” and everything to do with the fact that most women don’t have the brute strength to team up and take down a woolly mammoth or an aurochs.
    4. So shepherdesses are unbiblical? Poor Little Bo Peep. And I guess the author of “I Sing a Song of the Saints of God” was confused. But then, he also said that a female saint could be a queen, so maybe he’s doubly confused.

  29. My mother refused to raise a son who did not know how to launder, cook, clean, shop for groceries, or take care of a baby. My brother and I both also worked in the garden and at the earliest legal age, did physical work for pay outside the home. As an example, I babysat a little boy from two weeks of age, one night a weekend, for over three years.

    My wife and I have shared the household chores since we married. I have done over 90 percent of the laundry (chemistry background), much of the grocery shopping, and about half of the cooking. When the children were little, I was in charge of their care during the day, took them to the doctor, etc., while spouse taught school and I started a home-based business. And as a former professor, I must say that one who makes a living at a Bible college may be using his brain (behind the brow!), there is very little if any sweat involved.

    This guy is missing some important intellectually related equipment. Substituting the rules of men for the grace and love of God and being paid for it. Not my idea of a Christian occupation!

  30. So, I’ve been wondering something lately. Tell me if I’m off the mark.

    Lutherans say the Lord’s Prayer every week in church. As I listened to it recently, I noticed the line “Thy will be done, on earth as it is heaven.” God’s will is done perfectly in heaven, so, if we want to do God’s will as close to perfectly as we can, we should imitate heaven. But shouldn’t that make us some degree of egalitarians? There is no marriage in heaven. There are no gender roles in heaven. True, yes, some could take this to mean we shouldn’t get married at all, but God explicitly allows this in the epistles. Point is, marriage is a good, God-ordained institution, but it is nonetheless earthly. And Paul does say that it can be better in many cases for Christians NOT to get married (something the American church has largely overlooked). Bottom line: egalitarianism, esp. as regards headship/submission in marriage, is closer to the state of believers in heaven.

    Any thoughts?

  31. HIppimama

    You have a good man. I think it is Owen who is a bit uncomfortable with himself so he needs to define what constitutes a real man. Just like with Driscoll, I am suspicious.

  32. Pam

    High calling is their way of trying to shut down the conversation. See, we really, really respect women. Don't get mad at us.

  33. M

    Thanks for the recognition of logic. But, I feel compelled to say that it doesn’t take much to see holes in their arguments. They hang around each other so much and pat each other on the back. They have a hard time explaining themselves outside of the “sweat” factory called a seminary.

  34. Victorious

    Strachan is Bruce Ware's son-in-law. There is a distinct agenda here, and history can be ignored.

  35. Duane

    If you do not believe as they do, you are being disobedient. That is the position Denny Burk is taking as he is getting slammed with women and men who are callling him on the carpet. Deb is going to be writing about this today.

  36. You know, I gotta say something that will likely sound "sugary" but it's on my heart so I'm gonna say it.

    This blog and all the commenterrs make me so proud to be a part of a community of people who have their heads on straight. Often when I read the comments I get tears in my eyes and my spirit shouts "yes! yes! yes!"

    Thank you all for restoring my faith in God, His Word, and mankind in general! (sending hugs your way….)

  37. I’m a single father with full custody. The only consistent and loving relationship my son has ever had has been with me. At one point he didn’t even recognize who his mother was (he does now, though, and they have a decent, if inconsistent relationship- she now lives out of state).

    He is 3 and I am glad for the preschool that he is in. They do a wonderful job and he has learned things there that he wouldn’t have staying at home (I also had a live in Au Pair for a while). There are different paths for everyone, and trade offs for every decision.

    It’s a broken world. Do I wish my son had two loving full time parents? Absolutely. Do I think God has a plan for him anyway? Yes. My situation does not fit into this pat little plan, but fortunately God is the God of the messy, not just our idealized view of what families should look like.

    My little boy is loved and nurtured. People comment on it all the time- they will see how he reacts when I walk into a room and know that he is loved intensely. You know what? I might not have this relationship with him if my situation was different. Most dads do end up with less involved relationships with their children for whatever reason (I’d hesitate to call that God’s order of things, though). I’m grateful I have the relationship with him that I do- it’s a blessing within the storm.

    If stay at home dads (of which I am not one, but I can identify because when I’m not at work, parenting is my full time job) are “male fail”, it is only a failure in the eyes of men. This world would be so much better if people could stop looking at their own lives, seeing what works, and then demanding everyone else do it their way.

  38. Amy

    You illustrate the thesis of my post. One size does not fit all and that loving parents figure out the best solution for their own families/children.

    As a public health nurse, I dealt with families who had to care for loved ones who had very difficult handicaps and diseases. It is well known that the caregivers must have some respite or they, too, will become unable to fulfill their responsibilities. Respite care is a thriving industry and absolutely necessary.

    You were smart enough to do it for yourself. It sounds like a perfect solution. I just prayed for you and your daughter.

  39. Hester,

    I recently read J.R. Daniel Kirk’s “Jesus Have I Loved, But Paul?”, and he makes the argument that, for Christians, new creation is more central than first creation. So, the equality that is found in Christ–no male or female, no slave or free, no Greek or Jew, no taking or giving in marriage–is more central than whatever hierarchical relationships may have been set up in the fall. I think I’m presenting that somewhat right. Anyway, it’s an interesting read, and it does seem like the Calvinistas are far more interested in maintaining the hierarchies of a fallen humanity than living out the freedom that the Kingdom of God has inaugurated.

  40. Jeff

    Never forget that we share @47% of DNA with bananas. When I read comments like Strachan’s I wonder if some got a few more banana genes.

  41. LynneT

    Good thinking on the passage. I cannot, for the life of me, understand how they can squeeze gender roles out of the curse. There is only one point that is gender specific and that is childbirth. It is painful for the woman. But, throughout the ages, it has been painful for the entire family. Many women die in childbirth and families are left without mothers and husbands without wives. That pain goes way beyond the woman.

  42. Jeff – I’m certain you are and will continue to do a wonderful job raising your son. It’s not the men who take part in the domestic parts of life that are ‘male fails’ – it’s the ones who think their penis gives them right of refusal to those tasks. A ‘real man’, a real adult, is someone who sees a responsibility and does it, regardless of their genitalia.

  43. Hester

    Strachan is Bruce Ware's son-in-law. If he wants to succeed in that world, he must be a hardliner when it comes to patriarchy. Bruce would not have let his daughter marry him otherwise. Chances are he was sold on the system a long time ago.

    I heard a comment by a pastor who admires this crowd. He married the daughter of a well known pastor. He said that wife's dad and he got together in a meeting in which the headship was transferred from the dad to the new hubby. A lady sitting in back of me mooed like a cow. I almost wet my pants.

  44. Arce

    This line you write must be repeated.

    "This guy is missing some important intellectually related equipment. Substituting the rules of men for the grace and love of God and being paid for it. Not my idea of a Christian occupation."  

    Unfortunately, this is what is held up as current SBTS thinking. No wonder there is a revolt going on.

  45. Hester

    Well, the Calvinistas have already dealt with your logical take on Biblical gender roles. It is called The Eternal Subordination of the Son which is code for The Eternal Subordination of Women.

    They now believe (this comes out of SBTS where Strachan exists) that Jesus is always subordinate to the Father and this is the model for women throughout eternity. We have written about this latest and greatest doctrine numerous times. Owen fully expects to prancing around heaven in his patriarchal robes.

  46. Victorious

    This blog is a community. You are an integral part of it. So pat yourself on the back!

  47. These Calvinist depress the faith. Let me ask, what is the criteria for salvation? What happens when you can no longer love or empathize? Do you lose the ability to keep the greatest commandments? I do hope for their sakes that once saved always saved…I mean this in all sober seriousness. Because if all is for naught without love, then these people will not like what they hear on the day of judgement.

    The fact is that there are many reasons for the man to stay home…all of them good and acceptable to God. But they don’t care because they have forsaken the capacity to care. And that is not a good thing for them.

  48. Tell me, Mr. Strachan, which is more God-honoring: sacrificing my mental health and potentially putting my daughter in danger when I finally snap from exhaustion and frustration just to say that I stay at home with her all the time, or taking care of her by taking care of myself and letting someone else tend to her for several hours a day?


    I fear they would say the former was more God honoring since part of our duty to honor God is to suffer. They would assume since God isn’t making it easy for you then it must be His will for you to suffer for righteousness’ sake. In fact, I get the idea that they would actually say you were in sin for trying to avoid God appointed suffering.

    I wish I was kidding.

  49. Jeff

    I used to know a man in an almost identical situation to yours. His son grew up to be a fine young man who loves him very much. They are as close as adults as they were when the son was little. The mother, who also moved onto greener pastures in another state, had, and has, very little interest in a close relationship. She is turning into an old lady without any family since the next guy dumped her. Her son well understand that others took precedence over him in his mother's life. I stopped and prayed for you and your son. You are awesome and your son is blessed.

  50. Lori

    I am afraid that many who argue for strict gender roles are exhibiting the Fall in their lives. Just as pastors who are of the “touch not the Lord’s annointed” variety, these men must fight tooth and nail for power and place. They, too, want to be like gods even if it is in the home. Power of position-any position.

  51. “He said that wife’s dad and he got together in a meeting in which the headship was transferred from the dad to the new hubby.”

    What the. . . . Are we cars, or something? So, since my hubby didn’t have a meeting with my dad to transfer titles, er, I mean, headship, does that mean I’m still owned, er, I mean, under the authority of my father?

  52. This is about the silliest thing I’ve ever read. If this is an example of the pablum being fed at their seminaries, then God help the Southern Baptists. I really feel sorry for the families with this millstone tied to their necks. While I realize that some “true believers” will fall hook, line and sinker, I think the saving grace will be that most folks, even those in baptist congregations, will see this is an impractical, if not an absurd proposition.

  53. You know what I really don’t get? These men seem to forget that Deuteronomy 6:7-9 was aimed at the male heads of household in Israel:

    “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

    How, if we are being perfectly honest and “biblical,” can the dad do this if he is out at work for hours on end? Seems to me that he is “abdicating his authority” (to take a favored phrase from patriarchalists) to his stay-at-home-wife.

    If you are going to be “biblical” it just seems to me that the wife should be working outside the home so the husband can teach them diligently.

    Just sayin’.

  54. Victorious,
    I second your comment!!! There is much to be grateful to God for in the folks who run and post on this blog.

    Thank you for your wisdom. I appreciate learning from you. By the way, drove a Mini Mayfair around Scotland once and went to an Easter Sunrise service on a beach there. The sunrises are beautiful, and the countryside moreso, but neither as beautiful as the people. I say with all seriousness that of all the countries I’ve been to, Scotland was the most shockingly awesome.

  55. I’ve gotta love this comment by Denny Burk from his post entitled “Christianity Today’s 50 Women to Watch”:

    “The bottom line is that egalitarians interpret the scripture incorrectly. I don’t pretend to know all of the reasons that they embrace the error. I’m sure the reasons are as diverse as the adherents. Whatever the reason, I do believe that it is an error and needs to be called such.”

    These comps out and out say it. Anyone who believes differently than they “interpret the scripture incorrectly.”

    BTW, Dee/Deb, I’d LOVE to see a response from you ladies on Burk’s post. I especially loved his wimmen-respectin’ line: “In general, it regards high-achieving women excelling in their respective fields as something to be celebrated.”

  56. I pity Bruce Ware’s daughter. A ‘divine right of men’ father then a husband. I highly recommend the book “Discovering Eve : Ancient Israelite Women in Context” by Carol Meyers, Professor of Religion at Duke University. She looks at this issue from a biblical and ancient near east societal standpoint.

    She renders Gen 3:16 as:

    I will greatly increase your toil and your pregnancies;
    (Along) with travail shall you beget children.
    For to your man is your desire, And he shall predominate over you.

    She goes on to say that the purpose of the ‘curses’ on Adam and Eve in Gen 3:16-17 is that life will no longer be easy, it will be hard, they will need to work hard and need more children to do that in order to survive. Gen 3:16 has nothing to do with female subordination – it’s all about sex. Eve could avoid the pains and risks of pregnancies by simply avoiding sex. But won’t allow that, so Eve will desire Adam and Adam will ‘predominate’ in the sense that his desire for sex will predominate. It’s got nothing to do with subordination in the relationship.

    Also, another possible interpretation of the Hebrew is ‘For to your man is your desire, And he will do likewise.’

    Either way, verses 16-17 is all about how hard they will have to work to make a go of it and to toss in this bit about subordination in the relationship really doesn’t seem to make sense in this context, it seems to come out of left field.

    Second, if Gen 16 is about female subordination and it’s so fundamental to the world order, why are there no other stories or discussions in the Old Testament on the issue? There are none so far as I know, yet we have all sorts of stories about idol worship, adultery, and all the other fundamental requirements of belief in God. If female subordination was so important in the OT, why is it never discussed?

    Finally, I’ll conclude with Proverbs 31:10-31:

    10 A capable wife who can find?
    She is far more precious than jewels.
    11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
    and he will have no lack of gain.
    12 She does him good, and not harm,
    all the days of her life.
    13 She seeks wool and flax,
    and works with willing hands.
    14 She is like the ships of the merchant,
    she brings her food from far away.
    15 She rises while it is still night
    and provides food for her household
    and tasks for her servant-girls.
    16 She considers a field and buys it;
    with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
    17 She girds herself with strength,
    and makes her arms strong.
    18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
    Her lamp does not go out at night.
    19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
    and her hands hold the spindle.
    20 She opens her hand to the poor,
    and reaches out her hands to the needy.
    21 She is not afraid for her household when it snows,
    for all her household are clothed in crimson.
    22 She makes herself coverings;
    her clothing is fine linen and purple.
    23 Her husband is known in the city gates,
    taking his seat among the elders of the land.
    24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
    she supplies the merchant with sashes.
    25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
    and she laughs at the time to come.
    26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
    and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
    27 She looks well to the ways of her household,
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
    28 Her children rise up and call her happy;
    her husband too, and he praises her:
    29 ‘Many women have done excellently,
    but you surpass them all.’
    30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
    31 Give her a share in the fruit of her hands,
    and let her works praise her in the city gates.

    Anyone see submission listed here?

  57. As someone who spins and has a working spinning wheel next to her desk, Owen Strachan doesn’t understand that the division of labor between male and female is artificial. Before the invention of the spinning wheel (probably around 1400ish), if you wanted yarn for fabric, you had to use a drop spindle. Generally, it’s not a fast way of spinning (although some drop spindlers can get as fast as a spinning wheel user). Consequently, EVERYONE, men, women, children, spun wool when they had a free moment. (Flax for linen was more specialized, both before and after the wheel.)

    It’s the same way for eating–if you wanted food, you had to farm it and herd it. Everyone did it. And we KNOW mothers of small children in England went out to the fields with their husbands because of coroners’ records. Coroners were charged with investigating unnatural deaths. There are all too many reports of toddlers falling into the fire or drowning in wells. The reports indicate toddlers were being cared for by only slightly older children who weren’t old enough yet to work in the fields only because *they* weren’t yet big enough. Heck, my grandmother, a twenty-something divorced sharecropper in rural Oklahoma with three children, left my aunt (aged 5) in charge of my dad (age 4) and my uncle (age 2) and would go out and plow the fields, stopping to check on the kids every few rows. When the kids got older, they joined their mother in the farm work when they weren’t in school. (My dad said working on the farm was so hard, going into the Army and being sent to Korea was quite a relief.)

    I don’t know how old Owen Strachan is, but he looks pretty young in the picture above. I’d say he’s a bit wet behind the ears and deliberately ignorant on a lot of things. He can babble on about male roles and female roles, but he obviously has no clue that the division of labor is not set in stone. People do what they have to do to live, eat and clothe themselves.

    Back to spinning that 80 percent merino / 20 percent cashmere mix…it’s so soft.

  58. Nick, I find this paragraph from you excellently put. If only comps would figure this out. . . .

    “It would be pointless to deny that this is an extreme example of bad exegesis. It doesn’t, by itself, prove there’s no good exegesis that might support Strahan’s position. [bold]It simply illustrates one of the many dangers in deriving statutes and commandments[/bold], especially for those who have been crucified with Christ and are dead to the law, from the letter (more usually called the text) of scripture.”

  59. “16 She considers a field and buys it;
    with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.”

    Surely, the guys who believe the way Owen does would never allow this today. These guys want to take women backwards. If I were a woman I would be saying a very LOUD NO!!!!

  60. OK: full disclosure. I work at home, Lesley works for the local council, so I do the majority of the childcare in our home. Moreover, because my “work” revolves around trying to set something up that is game-changing and radical in the way it helps the unemployed, it doesn’t actually pay anything. So Lesley is the de facto breadwinner in our household.

    Not only that, but it has often been so, because I have spent most of my adult life in a monumental struggle against unemployment. I graduated at 21; remained in Cambridge for a year (at God’s instigation) where I got a job working in the University – that was in 1989 and was the last time I could realistically say that God provided me with paid employment. Then I moved to Glasgow and worked a year (unpaid) for a new church plant. At the end of that, I turned 23. And I spent the next seven years either stacking shelves on less than today’s minimum wage in real terms (the minimum wage didn’t exist then), studying for an MSc (to try to improve my job-prospects, and to try and stay sane), or plain unemployed. For seven years I could not even – figuratively speaking – buy a job that actually paid anywhere near enough to support a family. Lesley and I – married in 1993, by the way – stayed afloat financially because of her career.

    Naturally, this went down well with our ambitious, prosperity-gospel-teaching church leadership. Quite obviously, I was a feckless good-for-nothing who was only unemployed because he was too lazy to work. To be frank, regarding that particular – vitally important – area of my life, they were about as useful as a caesium teapot, continually ordering me to throw myself into hopeless and unproductive job-hunting activities and insistently telling me all the things God was not going to help me with.

    Against this background, Owen Strachan’s post is a good opportunity to respond, not as a man submerged by his history, but as a man seated with Christ in heavenly places. I would, therefore, like to make the following points (in no particular order).

    * Paul’s admonitions about working need to be seen, not just in their social context, but in their teaching/relational context – he was not actually reinforcing gender roles but warning against laziness and idle lifestyles. Remember, the Lord looks at the heart. If being a home-maker is indeed a high calling, then a man who fills that role cannot be called idle.
    * Strachan has a point, in at least this sense: not all men would find the role of home-maker fulfilling. (Not all women do, after all.) Being stuck at home, unemployed – without even the work of childcare – was killing me. Even now, I hate the fact that I do not significantly contribute to the household income. One needs to think twice before accepting such a role.
    * I cannot prove or disprove this, but anecdotally, it seems that proportionately more women are content with the role of homemaker than men. As I said, that may not be true: but it may, and we should not reject it on ideological grounds any more than we (on this blog) reject women elders etc. But even if it is true, it is a statistical generalisation, and cannot be applied to individuals.
    * One commentator has argued that Strachan has accepted so many exceptions to the rule (injury, redundancy etc – I couldn’t find the bit where he made an exception for a pastor, so I’ll leave that one for now) that the rule has become meaningless. Strachan denied that, but I affirm it. A law has no exceptions; our physical universe, and our social democracies, would disintegrate otherwise. Once you start trying to be justified by law, and making exceptions for potential anomalies, there’s no end to the potential complications and exceptions. So, the rule probably boils down in practice to a generalised principle about not being lazy; which I certainly agree with.
    * Ah, yes, the curse. In Christ, we’re not cursed. What part of that is difficult?
    * Ephesians 2:28 – all about doing something useful with one’s hands. All the traditional examples of exclusively or predominantly male labour Strachan quotes refer to physical labour. Is being a seminary assistant professor really a biblical labour? Do they teach people to love at that seminary, in a way they couldn’t learn it elsewhere? That’s not as frivolous as it might sound, btw. If you want to start applying the letter of the law, then (as James points out) you’re going to have to live by it at all points.

    Anyway… it’s 2:45 pm here, so off to the school gate I go…

  61. No More Perfect,

    By divine providence I was going to write about the CT article 50 Women to Watch earlier in the week but inadvertently got delayed.  It will be today’s topic, and I will definitely be including excerpts from Denny Burk’s post.  Here is how Burk describes himself:

    “I am an Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at Boyce College, the undergraduate arm of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY.”

    Owen Strachan also works for Boyce College as Instuctor of Christian Theology and Church History .   

    Disclaimer:  TWW is NOT responsible for typos in the bios of Calvinista college professors.

    Denny Burk and Owen Strachan are colleagues. Imagine that! 😀

    And now C.J. Mahaney is hobnobbing with them in Louisville.

    Birds of a feather… 


  62. My friend knows of a woman whose husband just did not “get it” in terms of understanding how HARD it is to manage a home and multiple small children. Her solution…..she left town, with a note, that he could call her back when he “got it” and understood how difficult it really was..she would come back when he really needed help. He did not make it through the weekend.

  63. Dee wrote~


    If you do not believe as they do, you are being disobedient.”

    Well–I thought that’s what he (Strachan) would wish to impart to us, but in the two paragraphs I quoted above he contradicts himself. But I see he clarifies with this statemnt:

    “Our call, though, is not to re-envision the family to escape difficulty. Our call is to be faithful, to inhabit the part given us to play in God’s cosmic drama.”

    Blueprint, model, and call it is and ever more shall be. And faithful (and not sinning) are the ones who are obeying by not insisting on a different part in the “cosmic drama” that is God’s…defined by Strachan.

    So he really does not mean this–“Strachan said he doesn’t think that Christian men who stay at home with the kids are necessarily lacking in faith and that it’s something about which Christians can disagree…”

    Yes he thinks they are lacking in faith. Is he really sure what he believes? I hear clanging cymbals without love while reading Strachan’s man-fail essay. Failure…sinning…faithlessness…

    I wonder, as he goes from bubble (home) to bubble (work) to bubble (church) just how much exposure he has to people in need, whose lives are not like his bubble life…broken families full of hurt and despair. Ugly realities.

    I am glad Jesus did not live in a bubble while on the earth but showed us by His example how to love. We will know who are His by how they love one another. And in His arms is freedom, and rest, and comfort. And hope.

  64. Thanks, Dee. Everyone, including the baby, is much happier now that I’ve gone back to work!

    Re: Proverbs 31
    We recently studied this passage in our Sunday School class at a conservative, inerrancy-believing, evangelical church. The teacher began by asking the women in the class to share their gut reactions to the passage. Most of us said something like “burdened” or “hopeless.” The rest of his lesson, though, focused on the ways that the “Proverbs 31 woman” exemplified the characteristics of Wisdom (who is portrayed as a woman) that the speaker is trying to instill in his son in the rest of the book. So it may be that the Proverbs 31 woman isn’t necessarily a woman after all, but rather a general portrait of the person who pursues Godly wisdom and builds his or her house on these principles. It’s applicable to all of us, men and women alike. And his lesson was based off a well-known evangelical commentary, too.

  65. Clearly, the curse and fallen world are to be our role models.

    …wait……. ?

    Can I just say how utterly and deeply I am offended on behalf of my dad, and my husband, both of whom are extremely nurturing? The idea that woman are the only ones capable of adequately nurturing a young child is an insult to men everywhere. It is disguised as “Oh but look, we’re saying that men should do this to serve their wives in provision,” but what it really implies is “God didn’t gift men to be good at loving their kids.” Strachan says that a little more clearly than many comps, for which I think him–you’ve brought the real meaning into the light, buddy.

    I have said it before, I’m saying it now and I’ll say it again in the future. Ephesians says very clearly that husbands are supposed to put their wife’s happiness and thriving above their own. If your wife wants to work and is not gifted/patient for staying home with the kids, but you make her stay home anyway while you work, how can you claim that you are fulfilling the Bible’s marital instruction towards husband? You aren’t. You are serving your wife in the way that you WISH you could serve her (by providing) instead of in the way she actually NEEDS you to serve her (by allowing her to have a lifestyle that meets her emotional needs).

    People don’t see this because they don’t want to.

  66. @Nick, really interesting comments. I want to add some thoughts but I need to crash as climing up a mountain in the morning. It’s not a Scottish mountain though, unfortunately. PS Have you seen the 7-up series? Neil rocked – he’s the favourite of many. He made being unemployed in Scotland seem whimsical.

  67. Jeff, and when I read the first 10 verses of Pr. 31 I see that this is not a lesson that the king is giving to women but a lesson that a mom is giving to a king. And a simple blueletterbible.org search makes the proper translating of all first 10 verses make a lot more sense leading into verse 10 about finding a woman of strength and valor, rather than a dependent that would zap the strength of a king. I don’t think the king’s Mother’s prophecy was necessarily about one woman. But simply gave some examples of characteristics that he could look for to help him determine if she was just a dependent king zapper. And I believe she is telling him that after marriage don’t turn her into one. Let her be who she is and what she wants to do.
    The whole chapter is about the king not doing as the worldly kings who even get drunk and pervert the whole idea of justice and equality.

  68. No More Perfect

    You have to place < b > (don’t use any spaces in between them) before the word(s) you want in bold and then put < / b > after the word(s) – again no spacing in between the characters. I have to use spaces here; otherwise, bold lettering would appear. You can do the same thing with italics (use an “i” instead of a “b”).

    Give it a try…

    Our upcoming lesson will cover hyperlinks. 🙂

    Remember, Dee and I are techno-peasants, not to be confused with peasant princesses. 😀

  69. No More Perfect,

    Insert a b in between before the word you want to bold. To end the bold, insert this /b between .

  70. No More Perfect,

    Ooops! The board evidently doesn’t allow certain digits from the keyboard.

    So let me try again.

    Insert a b (for bold) in between the little things above the comma and the period on your keyboard. To end the bold insert a forward slash and b between the same.

    Sorry, I can’t think of the word for those little things. 🙂

  71. Diane
    Good pickup. “Our call is to be faithful, to inhabit the part given us to play in God’s cosmic drama.”

    It is a shut your mouth statement. How can anyone criticize Strachan’s view of gender roles when he is seeing “beyond the veil” to the great cosmic drama. Right….the demons and angels are having an epic battle since Fred decided to stay home with Pebbles!

    He demeans the cosmic battle by applying it in this matter.

  72. I spent a few years as a “house husband” as my wife has a license in a very technical health field. She has ALWAYS made more money than I have and to be honest, I enjoy cooking and doing laundry more than my former profession. ( I am retired now.)
    Was(is) my “manhood” somehow threatened by it? I don’t think so.

  73. For someone who doesn’t think our job is to re-envision the family, Strachan fails to realize that the responsibilities and dynamics between members of a family tend to change with history, as so many have pointed out regarding the roles in hunter-gatherer, agricultural, and post-industrial-revolution societies.

    So which version of the “family” are we not supposed to re-envision? Should we have stayed at the roles of hunter-gatherer? Agrarian family? Or the one we’re at now? How do we know today’s version is closer to the Lord’s agenda?

  74. Amy, telling your story here has just released me from a 27 year old guilt feeling. It was extremely difficult to hand over my 3 month old reflux baby to the only daycare lady that would take her. I dropped her off with 4 changes of clothes and they all came back to me used. I’m not so sure I have ever really realized how that lady was provided for me by God for my and my baby’s emotional and physical health. I absolutely needed to do something else like work even though that’s when I started drinking coffee because as you well know, sleeping through the night is impossible with a reflux baby.

  75. @Southwestern Discomfort

    May I place an order for a short-sleeve sweater vest, size XL, in something like a Newport Blue, please? Thanks.

    I noticed that too, with the animals in Genesis. When you realize that the animals were created first, what happens to their beloved Creation OrderTM?


  76. Haitch – funny you should say that, as I’m hoping to take my son up some Scottish mountains tomorrow (the Aonach Eagach in Glencoe, to be exact). Have a good ‘un! Though I confess I never got round to following the 7 Up series. In some ways, unemployment in Scotland is whimsical. The local benefits office is known colloquially as “the brew”, and being unemployed is termed “being on the brew” – i.e., once you’ve got your money, you go off and spend it on beer.

    I should probably say that I’m actually English, but I’ve lived in Scotland for almost exactly half my life (and counting), and I am completely in love with both country and people.

    Victorious – “angular brackets” was the phrase you wanted, I think!

  77. Patti at 10:15 AM: “Let her be who she is and what she wants to do.”

    I couldn’t agree more. It’s one of my favorite Proverbs. It’s saying that a spouse brings their own set of skills and interests to the marriage partnership and letting them follow those skills and interests is a benefit to both – there is no fixed set of duties that a husband or wife are limited to regardless of what Strachan and his ilk think.

  78. I believe that elders are to be men. I also believe that the biblical text and nature demonstrate that the sexes generally have different strenghts and weaknesses and need the help of the opposite sex.

    But I do not agree with Mr. Strachan.

    I think that we get into the weeds when we start trying to trying to take what I believe are general principles and applying the with such rigidity that they make no sense.

    Also, extrapolating meaning from various texts to a host of issues that are not explicitly addressed by those texts is very dangerous.

    We live in a different world than the world that existed 2,000 or 4,000 years ago.

    I believe it is very detrimental to teach (or imply) girls and young women in today’s society that their only calling is to get married and have children and stay at home. I understand that we should push back against some aspects of culture that denigrate the home and child rearing. Those are great callings.

    But in our society, we place women and families at great economic risk and we stunt the development of women by advocating things like what this author is saying.

    Every girl and every boy should be taught to go as far as they can in education and work and that these are godly desires.

    These desires should be necessarily balanced with marraige, the home and children. That is where modern society often fails.

    But that failure of modern society does not justify raising a dumbed down generation of women.

  79. This callow little punk is but one example of the Neo-Cal trend of putting young men in positions of influence for which they lack the maturity, with the result that they feel empowered to make eye-rolling pronouncements like this as though they came down off the mountain with the Ten Commandments.

  80. PS – Strachan’s reading that “the husband of the Proverbs 31 woman sits with the elders in the gates while she cares for her family and home in manifold ways” is BS. If all he gets out of this is that the husband it to sit on his arse all day shootin the bull with the big shots while the wife does everything else, he needs to reread it a few more times. Another example of how they warp and twist the texts to suit their purpose.

  81. “This callow little punk is but one example of the Neo-Cal trend of putting young men in positions of influence for which they lack the maturity, with the result that they feel empowered to make eye-rolling pronouncements like this as though they came down off the mountain with the Ten Commandments.”


  82. Deb – no, never worn a kilt myself, though I think I probably should. Maybe I’ll spring a surprise for our 20th wedding anniversary in January. They are still very much in use, though mainly for special occasions (weddings, graduations, etc). Strictly speaking, you have to be a member of a particular clan to wear the tartan of that clan, though there is a tartan called “Spirit of Scotland” that was created, so to speak, for guests.

    Chris (C.) – I think your comment regarding young men promoted (and there’s no other word for it) beyond their level of spiritual maturity is well-observed. Though, with the greatest respect, describing someone as a “callow little punk” is Driscollian language. I think we can do better on this blog.

  83. Just trying out some HTML to see if it works.
    If it does, I’ll post a brief tutorial.
    If not (if Owen Strachan’s photo does not show), then please delete this post.

  84. I find it amusing that these NeoCals have It All figured out, and that “God’s WayTM” is oh so conveniently THEIR way.

    They continuously invent new checklists for others to follow, and they of course are doing life the best way, the only way, “God’s WayTM”. It must feel good to be so right all the time.

    To those who commented on how Owen appears to be a prepubescent boy in his photo, thanks for the laugh. I needed it after the momentary scream of frustration.

  85. “What about women who have large families, as is popular in the more extreme wings of the patriarchal movement? Those children don’t get much more attention than do the daycare children.” (Dee gives this the comment of the week award!)

    I worked in my SIL’ ver well regarded and popular daycare in a classroom with 12 potty training 18-month-olds and one other adult.
    And I have 8 children of my own.
    Believe me, the commenter quoted could not be more wrong!

    Having 8 children spread out every 2-4 years over 18 years is a cake walk compared to taking care of a room full of toddlers adequately. My adult daughters are professionals (PA and MD), and since they are likely to make use of some form of childcare service when they have children, I have relayed my experience working in a daycare center and encouraged them to avoid institutional daycare and try to find a family daycare .

    And BTW, while there may be some downsides, there are also some very lovely and rewarding aspects of having a large family. And I will cautiously add that there are downsides to small families as well (helicopter parents keeping children from growing up, for example). I wish Christians would stop villainizing QF mothers! Just saying…

  86. Oh, the irony!
    The major crack-up with that radio program above, is that it is hosted by Julie Roys – a WOMAN.

  87. Nick
    I love the word “callow.” It is a line from the song Try to Remember from The Fantastiks!

    and a one and a two….

    Try to remember the kind of September
    When life was slow and oh, so mellow.
    Try to remember the kind of September
    When grass was green and grain was yellow.
    Try to remember the kind of September
    When you were a tender and callow fellow.
    Try to remember, and if you remember,
    Then follow.

  88. “It is men who are out in the fields and tending the sheep in the Old Testament, not women; that seems so plain as to be obvious.”

    “Ruth, Zipporah, and Rebekah would beg to differ with that assessment.”

    So would Rachel!

  89. I pity Bruce Ware’s daughter. — Jeff

    Daughter or Bloodline of Succession?

    “This callow little punk is but one example of the Neo-Cal trend of putting young men in positions of influence for which they lack the maturity, with the result that they feel empowered to make eye-rolling pronouncements like this as though they came down off the mountain with the Ten Commandments.”

    I believe the word is CALVINJUGEND.

  90. ” . . . men and women can use the Bible to “prove” just about anything.”

    My comment is a bit off the topic here. This is EXACTLY my frustration with the Bible and with Christianity at times. Everyone believes they are right and can “prove” it by Scripture.

    I was once asked in a small group, “Do you believe the Bible, yes or no?” Of course, I said yes. I was then told, “Then you need to get into it and read it and study it.” While the person meant well, I don’t think he realized that for a person who has been abused by the use of the Bible, “getting into it and reading it and studying it” isn’t necessarily the best thing to say. My problem is not with the Bible itself. It is with the way it has been used.

  91. Patti,

    So glad my story-in-progress helped you out. I know exactly what you mean about “the one lady who would care for her,” and about that lady being a gift from God. The nanny we finally found for our daughter has been a big blessing. If you don’t mind sharing your own experience with reflux, I would love to hear it. Folks who understand are few and far between. If you are willing, perhaps Dee or Deb can pass my e-mail address to you.

    I’ll have to ask the guy who taught the class which commentary he was reading.

  92. My adult son is a SAHD of our first grandchild (3 mos old) and I could not be more proud of my son! Happily for my grandchild, his daddy does not share Owen’s prejudice and distaste for laboring at home…

  93. They now believe (this comes out of SBTS where Strachan exists) that Jesus is always subordinate to the Father… — Dee

    Didn’t St Nicholas punch out Arius for something similar?

    …and this is the model for women throughout eternity. We have written about this latest and greatest doctrine numerous times. — Dee

    How long before this Latest and Greatest Doctrine includes FGM, burqa, and religious police with whips for uppity breeding stock?

    Owen fully expects to prancing around heaven in his patriarchal robes. — Dee

    Another of God’s Super Speshul Pets, huh?

  94. Owen is simply teaching the patriarchy reformed bubble doctrine. I would suggest they guys try to make in the real world instead of their little bubbles they live in. Good luck with that. Oh, and a woman boss would add a touch of reality, too. Make that a lesbian woman boss. Now let us see him be Christlike at work every day while struggling trying to pay the mortgage with a stay at home wife.

    Personally, I think those of us who live and work in the real world outside the bubble of the institutional church or seminary have more gravitas to speak of living as believers in every day life. The LAST people we should listen to are the Owen’s, Mohler’s, Pipers, etc.

    They have no clue.

  95. Just saw Owen’s pic. He is 30? SBTS is big on getting them young, indoctrinating them then putting them in positions of responsibility and power they do not have the maturity for. Russ Moore is case in point as are others. This way, Mohler controls them. They only think inside Mohler’s box. And if they dare question their entire career is ruined.

  96. Oh yeah, I forgot to add that when they are chosen for the positions, they think they are now experts and can teach us i.e., Owens “man fail”. Remember back when Voddie was giving all that indepth advice about raising kids when his kids were very young? He was an expert in specifics. That is how it works in their world. They don’t even see how ridiculous it is. Unfortuantly, many people really believe them.

    Oh and don’t forget that the expert, Voddie, was teaching that God gave men daughters so they could get the attention they crave from young women. The man is sicko!!!!

  97. Charis, I agree with you that having multiple children is probably different from having a daycare where all kids are the same (demanding) age.

    But honestly, I think the “moms shouldn’t work because daycare is bad” argument is faulty for another reason: because it assumes that institutional daycare is the only option when mom chooses to work. Yet I know LOTS of working parents who get help from grandparents, aunts and uncles, even loving babysitters (who come to the child’s home and keep them on a consistent, in-home routine day after day).

    Painting all “working mom” scenarios as an automatic resort to daycare is simply untrue, and it’s an underhanded arguing tactic.

    This is the crap Mark Driscoll tried to pull in his highly-publicized video about SAHDs, when he took the question of mom working and dad staying home and somehow turned it into a diatribe about what happens when TWO parents work and daycare is the only option.

  98. Sooo many good comments I’d like to read. Many good comments I might write. But– no time today. Being a SAHG of 2 toddlers is keeping me too busy. That makes me a “fail”. Meanwhile, their Daddy, who hasn’t seen them in 6 weeks, is likely “providing” by working at his job making money right now. This means he is fulfilling his “calling”. But just Maybe, he’s missing out on a couple of small blessings.

  99. Anon1

    He is now married to SBTS via Bruce Ware’s daughter. They do live in a self perpetuation loop.  As for simply teaching the patriarchy stuff, his Scriptural observations in this case are at about the same level as any ho hum, mediocre proof texter. 

  100. Anon 1 –

    That is the same strategy that CJ Mahaney started endorsing about 10 years ago. Gettem young, don’t worry about pride (yes, he said this), and we can work with the character issues. It is indoctrination and goes against scriptural wisdom. I really get the impression that the likes of Mahaney and Mohler are not as much concerned with wisdom as they are with numbers and power.

  101. so what is CBMW going to do now?

    if image rehabilitation is what’s on tap, they’re getting all tangled up together and tripping over each other in their noble (not sure about that) efforts.

    Sort of reminds me of friends who while on their honeymoon decided to rent a little sailing dinghy and go around a lake. At the end of their little adventure, Sam said to Deborah, “Stand back”, wanting to show his masculine prowess by impressively dismantling it all. Sam somehow managed to get all tangled up in the rigging. The harder he tried to untahgle himself & look heroic at the same time, the worse it got. Deborah politely watched this for a few minutes before finally saying, “Sam, get out of the boat.” She had it all properly stowed in a minute or two.

    Sam recounted this story to me, finding great humor in it, now over himself in taking himself so seriously.

  102. Disclaimer (albeit pregnant with hypocrisy) – I’ve had a couple of glasses of a rather nice Cava since my last post. So I’ll re-read this one several times before I actually post it – I don’t drink that heavily that you wouldn’t be able to tell.

    Dee – I quite like the word “callow” as well. I also like the word “little” – I refer to Bryony (my daughter, who’s 9, and a fine rock-climber in the making) as “my gorgeous big little girl”. I have no strong opinions on the word “punk”. It’s all in the context. But I certainly wouldn’t go to war over vocabulary. (Chris – your point remains, imho, well-observed, however you choose to express it.)

    Here’s the booze speaking: my favourite word is probably “Thearlaich” (two syllables, pronounced hya-likh. It’s the Scots Gaelic word for the English name “Charles”. Cf “Seamus”, which is the Gaelic form of “James”.

    Very loosely on the subject (of debated vocabulary), I regard Monty Python’s “The Life of Brian” as the greatest masterpiece in the history of cinematic comedy.

  103. Nick:
    “Though, with the greatest respect, describing someone as a “callow little punk” is Driscollian language.”

    I actually agree with you in the sense that it’s language which applies with at least equal force to Driscoll himself.

    Oh very well. In the interests of civility and decorum, I amend my previous statement to substitute “jackanapes” for “punk.”

  104. It continually amazes me how the TGC crowd gets away with such terrible exegesis! Additionally, they’re completely oblivious to the socio-cultural backgrounds of both the OT/NT texts. This isn’t surprising with Strachan, who was born on 3rd base and claims to hit a triple, but guys like Denny Burk should take their head out of the sand.

  105. Dee – many thanks for including that comment by the older single woman.

    I totally concur (sad to say, but…).

  106. It’s hard to know where to start w/ his full piece. Thanks for your analysis. I could go on and on about why his reasoning is fundamentally unsound but you’ve already taken his, er, “article” apart.

  107. God’s glory is diminished with male fails?

    Who get’s to decide what failure is?

    Many people probably considered Jesus a failure. How was David looking as he was hiding out in caves? Peter as he denied the Lord three times to a teenage girl no less? The women who actually continued in faith after Jesus was crucified? Moses who didn’t want to speak in public? I could go on . . . God used all these men and women. Doesn’t God look at the heart and not the outward appearance?

    Owen might be in the midst of a fail right now as he tells others how men and women should live and act with his biblical theology. Wonder how impressed God is with all their biblical theology.

  108. I took a course on Genesis – had some questions about Ancient Near Eastern views, etc. We did a class on the curses handed out after the fall. First only two things got cursed – 1) the serpent lost his limbs (this parallels other ANE stories of tricksters loosing limbs when they irritate a god) and the ground gets cursed. Adam and Eve have consequences, but these are not technically curses. There are a few more mentions of the ground being cursed and hard to get food from pre-flood. Then, there is the flood/God’s judgment on humans, and after the flood, in Genesis 8 what happens to the cursed ground?

    Genesis 8:20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. 21 The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though[a] every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.

    “Never again will I cruse the ground because of humans” Now Owen, repeat this 8 times.

    It was one thing to read that article a while back, it is quite another to realize this guy is a seminary (not just Bible Collage) professor, yet he doesn’t even have complete knowledge of the curses God dolled out. The ground is no longer cursed. So, the back-breaking labour (non- church working) men must endure is unbiblical. Deb (or Dee) you say that one can twist the Bible to say anything. But Owen actually misrepresents the Bible to make his ideal applicable.

    It would really help if the average person would sit down and read Genesis 1 – 11 before believing these southern literalists making grand pronouncements about “the way it is”. They have to hold a certain level of cognitive dissonance to make Genesis 1 and 2 work as one story to begin with – as the entire creation order is different between the two chapters (the NIV fudges the hebrew wording to make it seem God planted a garden in a lush world, take another version to see Adam arrives before plants, in Genesis 2). Once you rewrite the story in your head, then it is easy to miss small details – like the word curse vs. now it will be this way sort of wording.

  109. Now I have a serious question, I’ve been thinking about it ALL night: if Dominionmandate Victorious Manlyman the 3rd got in the Cage with Authority Headship Trumpington the 8th, who would win?

    Would their sons Sovereignty, Dominance, Conqueror, Power, Structure & Gritty be watching whilst being served micro-brewery beers by their Mothers Winsome Gospellina Complesubmissivemaiden Manleyman, & Obedience Submission Trumpington, whilst their sisters Gospella, Gospellicious, Gospelletta, Gospeline,Conquest, Honour, Obey, Meek, Gloria & little Winny are making snacks in the kitchen?

  110. Can God’s glory actually be diminished (or added to) by anything . . . that would require God to change wouldn’t it?

    I think God is pleased when husbands love their wives and children, especially if the wife can earn money and the husband can’t find a job, and the man takes on the life of the father at home. He is loving his wife and children as he is joyful in “all circumstances.” Isn’t this what we are called to by Jesus and again by Paul?

    It is a completely different story if the wife or husband is lazy in their living, which seems to be what these men assume IF the man isn’t providing . . . unless, of course you are Jared Wilson (a pastor). Then you get a pass?

    What heavy burdens they lay on other people whom they know nothing about.

  111. A male fail is often something that is voluntarily avoided that neo-Calvinists think is required. The admonition to “man up” presupposes that whatever is needed can be done. Have any of us heard a neo-Calvinist do any serious exposition on eunuchs?

    The first fail is basically not being married. The second and arguably worse failure to neo-Calvinists is being married but not having the kind of marriage the neo-Calvinists thinks you should have. It’s bad to be unmarried (especially if you’re not “preparing for marriage”) but it’s worse to actually be married if your marriage doesn’t conform to the patterns they want.

  112. @ HUG:

    “How long before this Latest and Greatest Doctrine includes FGM, burqa, and religious police with whips for uppity breeding stock?”

    Well, Mark Driscoll did apparently link to a site called Christian Nymphos (as part of his SOS sermon stuff), which I’ve heard includes instructions on how to be a Christian dominatrix. I haven’t worked up the nerve to go look at it yet, but it is a real site. Google “Driscoll Christian Nymphos” to get some documentation. So those whips might not be as far off as you think. One has to wonder if “domestic discipline” is far behind.

  113. @ Dee:

    “Well, the Calvinistas have already dealt with your logical take on Biblical gender roles. It is called The Eternal Subordination of the Son which is code for The Eternal Subordination of Women.”

    To me, ESS has nothing to do with it. There is no marriage in heaven, ergo the instruction to husbands and wives (i.e., headship and submission) do not apply in heaven. Period. Jesus says as much in Matthew 22. The Sadducees ask him whose husband a certain woman will be in heaven, and the first words out of His mouth? “YOU ARE MISTAKEN.” He then goes on to explain that no one in heaven is married at all.

    Jesus Himself said that dragging marriage into heaven is a mistake. This would be why a traditional marriage ceremony says “till death do us part”? The marital relationship is severed at death, i.e. no one is anyone’s head or submitting to anybody anymore.

  114. Also, what exactly is the deal with that hubbub over the Puritans and slavery? I heard about it but didn’t have time to look into it. Or will all be explained in the upcoming article?

  115. Hester

    I am going going to do a complete story on this issue next week. I think someone in TGC is giving the TGC a run for their money and I, for one, am encouraged. The Puritans are to be defended, along with Calvin, as almost infallible.No one is allowed to tell tales that do not fit that paradigm. And, if some of these guys do not watch their steps, they will be tarred with insinsitivity to the race issue.

  116. Hester

    As you know, women can be in no position of authority in the churches-pastors or elders. That is whether one is married or not. And these guys intend to keep it that way, forever and ever, Hallelujah!


  117. Beakerj
    I once googled “*Christian* domestic discipline”. At first I thought it was a joke. Not so lucky….
    Well, gotta go spank da widdle woman now-she was bad and ate bon-bonz 2day while I wuz swettin’ at da brow…..(last statement a ioke)

  118. I just googled it again…why? Why did I give into that urge? Did I need to read the medical opinion on how safe washng your wife’s mouth out with soap was? Curse you google!

  119. Chris –

    I actually agree with you in the sense that it’s language which applies with at least equal force to Driscoll himself.

    I did ask for that, I suppose… 🙂

    Eagle – add to your list, what if a man’s skillset simply doesn’t correlate with jobs paying enough to live on? Pastor of a small church would be one example, but by no means the only one.

  120. Beakerj
    I gave in also– they assure us it’s safe and consensual, and that “He is not a dictator. She is not a doormat.” I feel reassured, now.

  121. Dave AA – what a load of crap…I left a comment in a comments section where a woman talked of how her husband ‘insisted’ on spanking her when she had period pain & didn’t want to…consent is not a word they have defined properly. We need to get the Patriarchy to English dictionary out again.

  122. Yeesh.. Domestic Discipline gives me the heebie-jeebies. I’m going to resist the urge to google it, but I will share an older link that I have come across before in my interwebs travels…


    Lewis Wells of Commandments of Men dug into it a little bit a couple of years ago. There is some freaky deaky stuff out there masquerading as “Christian”.

  123. WTH –

    I guess that puts working, married, males at the top of the food chain . . . hmm, seems they’re making a place for themselves at the head of the table. Very charitable of them indeed.

  124. Beakerj
    They practice “non-consensual consent” if I remember aright. Which makes loads of nonsensical sense. The non-doormat agrees in advance, once for all time, to cheerfully submit to whatever *discipline* the non-dictator lovingly determines may be required in the future. Especially if the non-doormat commits any of the 4D’s offences (disrepect, disobedience, dishonesty, or dangerous). OK– too much info….

  125. Apologies if you’ve heard this one. Urban-myth-cum-good-story.

    Preacher of one persuasion or another announces a seminar for men entitled: How to get your wife to treat you like a King.

    The evening arrives, and the auditorium is packed. But the sermon is unexpectedly short:
    Treat her like a Queen.

  126. Bridget I have joked in the past that in a place like MH unmarried men are close to the bottom of the social status order unless they’re potential leaders or community group leaders or on the rise within the organization. One friend of mine was not entirely joking when he said he noticed that community group leaders who were single guys generally either already had girlfriends or very soon got girlfriends. He tried to become a CG leader but was considered too contentious to qualify. I suggested that he had better things to aspire to than being a community group leader where all anyone gets to do is talk about the sermon points Driscoll mentioned one or two weeks before.

    So if you’re a single guy you may be in a scene where you’re hearing that you’re the selfish person because you’re not married and need to grow up. As soon as you bring the ring, say the magic words and wave the magic wand, however, you’re endowed with the wisdom and authority to pontificate about every form of human interaction as long as you avoid discussing parenting too much.

    Of course they’re not all like that, not even most of them. It is a propensity I noticed more just in the people who were interested in climbing the status/ministry ladder. The people who just found the church a nice place to be where they had friends or family and who weren’t interested in plugging into the matrix of leadership haven’t been like that. The folks in the leadership scene that weren’t into that mentality are not currently in the leadership scene if you understand my meaning.

  127. @ Bridget:

    “I believe ‘domestic discipline’ is already around.”

    I meant promoted beyond the fringes of the margins of the extreme. : ) Seriously, though? I can see it eventually being proposed as an idea by the uber-patriarchal types. Never in any of their public seminars, of course, only in materials that have to be purchased.

    @ Beaker:

    I’m pretty sure “consent” is not a word that appears in patriarchy’s dictionary. “Colonize” and “conquer” do, however, if we’re just sticking to the Cs. ; )

  128. I’m also not even going to touch what a psychiatrist would have to say about manly man Mark Driscoll promoting Christian dominatrices.

  129. Oh and don’t forget that the expert, Voddie, was teaching that God gave men daughters so they could get the attention they crave from young women. — Anon1

    Like Lot did?
    (re “Incest is Best”)

  130. I once googled ‘domestic discipline’. *eyes water* — BeakerJ

    We talking “50 Shades of Grey” country?

  131. Yeah HUG kind of…there’s an undertone of ‘women are just bigger children’ i.e. sub-adult by nature about it, that you don’t see in 50 Shades & I’d know that as I read all 3 & reviewed them on Amazon.
    But I had to laugh about that comment re MD & dominatrices…well we all know that sex trumps scripture right? That is his usual hermeneutic.

  132. @Tina Fri Oct 05, 2012 at 12:04 PM said:

    “This is EXACTLY my frustration with the Bible and with Christianity at times. Everyone believes they are right and can “prove” it by Scripture”.

    Tina – YES !Now can I do a very loud YES! in HTML? Anyhow… YES !!!

  133. Of course, Strachan ignores the fact that until the Industrial Revolution, the vast majority of men and women worked at home or out of their homes.

    If they both came in from the fields and she started dinner while he sat mending harness, was he not working at home? Was she not working to provide?

    What if they both owned a store and lived in an apartment above it, and both of them minded the store at times and at other times sat in the apartment above and did the books?

    This imposition of white 1950s culture as the biblical norm to which we are all striving is really quite astonishing.

  134. @ Nick – I bet you’re into Blackadder too. The deranged Queenie is quite superb.

    re: kilts & the gender gurus – I think they’d get a shock at what some of the men wear in the Pacific. They never seem to consider what other cultures wear (or even how other cultures think – it’s a very shallow, Western mindset)

    Anyhow, I go to colonise and conquer the hill (or is that hillock?) that masquerades as a mountain. It reminded me of that old Hugh Grant film, “The Englishman who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain”.

  135. Charis:

    It is so neat to read your experience with a large family.

    I applaud any person who does their best as they believe God is leading them.

    The only problem that I have is the judgmentalism that often exists regarding these issues.

    It’s impossible for us not to make judgments about situations. We all have beliefs and preferences regarding child rearing, the number of children, career choices etc.

    The trick is not trying to make our own beliefs in these areas or our own preferences mandatory for others or to claim that our way is God’s way etc.

    It is almost impossible for humans to do this, really. If we don’t do it with regard to one issue, it will be another issue.

    No one should look down on your for the way you have chosen to live your life, just as you should not look down on others.

    In my church I will have to say that we have a problem with home school and large families trying to promote their way as God’s way. To my knowledge, we don’t have any public school or small families trying to promote their way as God’s way. I am sure it is different in every place.

    Some of the young women in our church have come to the staff hurt because the homeschool mothers have made them feel badly for homeschooling their children.

    And some of the more career involved mothers have been hurt by the comments of some who say or imply they should not have a career etc.

    I read an article that was linked in this blog where John Piper wrote in the Christian Post about cremation. I like Piper generally and think he has said a lot of good things over the years.

    His article on cremation literally said that it doesn’t matter whether you cremate or not. There is no biblical directive.

    But then he went on to say he would never counsel toward cremation because it did not fit the biblical pattern.

    These statements are actually contradictory. Plus, what he has done is elevate preference (which he admits has not biblical support) to biblical status by saying it follows a biblical pattern.

    The net result – he creates an unwritten rule about something he admits the Bible doesn’t address.

    The Bible really doesn’t tell us how many children to have, whether to work outside the home and if so, how much, how much education to get etc.

    But we often create unwritten rules about these issues that can become more important and defining to us than the Gospel. And we end up trying to force them on others.

    Again, we are all like this. We just need to find our issue. It’s easy to spot where others do it.

    Take care, and congrats again on having such a large and fun family!

  136. It’s only a set of unwritten rules because it’s not in the member contracts. It’s written down and blogged about and preached about at length but that’s not in the member contract … it’s more like oral tradition. 😉

  137. Re kilts, apparently Alexander the Great’s men were annoyed in the later part of his short career when he started enforcing the Persian custom of trousers, as opposed to skirts! Though frankly I’d thought trousers would have been more utilitarian for Macedonian troops (a) in cold mountains and (b) on horseback.

    Re the issue of “consent” and “discipline” in the sexual context, if both parties are actually enjoying roleplaying I don’t see what’s wrong with it within marriage. I do think it crosses the boundary into abuse if one, particularly the supposedly submissive party, isn’t happy with it.

    Re young men in ministry, I concur. I have noticed something similar going on here in Reform strongholds in the UK and Australia, where young men get snapped up (obviously with their consent) to start working in churches and then train for the Christian ministry (in the pastor/preacher sense of that term). I can’t say I’m happy with it myself as I think it would do some of them at least some good to work in a different area and gain some life experience if they’re coming straight from university or college. Unfortunately 9-5 jobs are so thin on the ground these days that it seems one almost has to choose either a vocational calling that requires a lot of extra commitment or else go straight into ministry. I was told that one minister who ran one of these training schemes thought it best to get young people into ministry before the world had a chance to get its hooks into them. I can see his logic, but I think it’s flawed. Whether you’re living in a vicarage or an ordinary house, the world can still get its hooks into you, and you still have to live in the world. I would invite comment on this subject from m’learned Australian colleagues!

    Re jackanapes… does that mean there is such a thing (to echo an earlier poster) as jackanapes rock?

  138. @ Kolya:

    “Re the issue of ‘consent’ and ‘discipline’ in the sexual context, if both parties are actually enjoying roleplaying I don’t see what’s wrong with it within marriage. I do think it crosses the boundary into abuse if one, particularly the supposedly submissive party, isn’t happy with it.”

    That’s the problem, though. Domestic discipline proponents theologically justify it in such a way that it really doesn’t matter what the wife thinks of the “discipline.” Children routinely object to being spanked, but we spank them anyway, “for their own good”; and so it is with wives. So the way DD is framed doesn’t really allow for consent at all. Notice the fact that there has already been a story upthread in which the husband insisted on “disciplining” the wife over her objections (she was suffering menstrual cramps at the time).

    So yes, if a couple agrees to this sort of behavior in private, that’s fine. But when they construct a theology around it that eliminates consent altogether, we have to start asking some different questions.

    (The really funny part is that DD proponents swear up and down that DD isn’t sexual. Personally I think it’s denial. In the kind of church environment that produces DD, there is no WAY that a parishioner would be allowed to NOT develop hangups about their spanking fetish, so…DD theology to the rescue!)

  139. Hester – the xtian nymphos site was indeed promoted by MD, and parts of it made my hair stand on end (a few years ago, when I read large parts of what was posted at the time). One of the bloggers was extremely graphic – to the point of being exhibitionistic – re. her descriptions of what she and her husband did. (Not talking about mechanics here, either – it was the way she wrote about things. Porn city, imo, and not softcore, either.) I got very, very creeped out.

    Haitch, you wrote

    They never seem to consider what other cultures wear (or even how other cultures think – it’s a very shallow, Western mindset)

    Applause applause!!!!w00t!!!

    Seriously, this is one of the best observations I’ve read here in some time, and that’s saying something.

    Go, you!!!

  140. @ Haitch again – though the prospect of seeing these guys parading around in lava-lavas strikes fear into my heart. 😉 (not entirely j/k, though – I don’t want to see that.)

    Trad. Chinese clothing would, however, be a good option – face and hands uncovered, but that’s it.

  141. A quick bit of HTML using the appropriate character codes as well. Hope this works! (I’m not sure about strikethrough…


  142. Ah the sweet sureness of youth! I look at Strachan’s pic and remember how cocksure I was about what’s what when I was his age. How the book of Ecclesiastes has come alive to me in these my latter days!

  143. Can we stop with the domestic discipline, please. I had a flash of S&M in denim prairie dresses and keds.

    Because we all know that underlying the entire patriarhcy movement is really all about SEX.

  144. RE: Dee on Fri Oct 05, 2012 at 08:13 & 08:18 AM,

    Bruce Ware has acknowledged that patriarchal doctrine is losing the war of ideas in Christendom. Here’s a contradiction for you: For one like myself who remains skeptical of the evolutionary model; I fully support natural selection in the evolution of Christianity as a belief system. Patriarchy as a dominant force in the Church will go the way of rum, sodomy, and the lash in the British navy. Extinction.

  145. @ Kolya,
    As far as I remember, down here in Sydney there is an expectation (if not requirement) to have worked for at least a year between university and going to bible college, but I think they’ve loosened the requirement a little in recent years. Don’t quote me with certainty on that, though.

    I second Haitch’s comments about clothing and culture. In my part of Sydney there are significant Islander communities, and there’s a Samoan church down the road from my own church. I see people coming and going from that church most weeks when I’m on my way to and from church, and the people are wearing a mix of traditional and western clothes. My guess with those who are so concerned about strict gender and dressing roles, is that they’ve had little if any exposure to other cultures and are speaking out of complete ignorance.

  146. Okay, I have just read his entire article, and I must say, my husband and I are literally sputtering. Literally.

    I try to be respectful, but his article is just plain silly. He puts a lot of emphasis on husbands not shirking their duties at home, but then goes on to be extremely vague about what, exactly, husbands do with their kids other than that word, “lead,” which seems to mean “be in the seat of power.” He says that modern men are encouraged to unplug from their family while complementarians are encouraged to plug in, but immediately follows that up by saying that he sometimes helps a little with the kids, when he can. HUH? My dad was not the sole provider of our family, but I can tell you that he was WAYYYYY more plugged in than how Strachan describes himself, and I benefitted from it.

    Goshdarnit, I am seriously on the verge of creating a Hitler Rant video about this guy!

  147. By the way, ladies and germs, did you notice that he cites a study which “proves” that modern gender roles are making womem more unhappy than they were in 1970….even though that very study, THE PART HE QUOTED, said that this growing unhappiness is IRRESPECTIVE of marital status, whether you have kids, how much money you earn, or even what country you live in? So how can it possibly be tied to how you and your husband live out gender roles??????

  148. sad observer, yes, I noticed that about the study he quoted. I also noted that, when he quotes Maureen Dowd, he misses the fact that the biggest issue is that, while women have taken on the working outside the home sphere, there hasn’t (as an overall) been as big an increase in men taking part in domestic duties (generalisations of course miss the specific cases where there is a more even split). The exact same statistics Strachan tries to use to ‘prove’ that women shouldn’t work because it makes them unhappy, can be used to point out that men aren’t participating fully. Again, the ‘man fails’ aren’t the guys who do the chores and stay home with the kids – they’re the men who refuse to do work around the house because it’s ‘women’s work’. And given how Strachan writes about how he’s so great he sometimes helps do the dishes (anyone else get the feeling he thinks he deserves some sort of reward or parade in his honour for that?) it’s incredibly clear that Strachan is clueless about how the world works outside his bubble.

  149. Pam,

    Exactly! What’s really funny to me is that he even types out, with his own hands, the fact that men still “resist” women’s work, but implicitly suggests it’s because they aren’t hard-wired for it, rather than accepting the rather obvious idea that maybe that is what contributes to women’s unhappiness.

    Also, has he ever studied how women being forced out of the workplace when the WWII vets came home led to a wave of female unhappiness?

  150. I have said this before on TWW, but I have seen evidence that some in the “Christian” patriarchy crowd already promote DD.

    About 2 years ago, I was reading a blog (I did not know the blog owner is a supporter of patriarchy) and mentioned in a comment that I am single and live alone. The blog owner started a new post with my comment and advice on how to find a husband. One of the commenters, nicknamed Mrs. Pilgrim, told me to ask on eHarmony for a relationship based on “taken in hand principles.” I asked her what taken in hand principles was and got a link to a DD website. Nobody on that blog disagreed or objected to what she said.

    She – and perhaps the rest – simply assumed that a marriage like that is right…

  151. @ Pam:

    “My guess with those who are so concerned about strict gender and dressing roles, is that they’ve had little if any exposure to other cultures and are speaking out of complete ignorance.”

    Well, seeing as Vision Forum actively promotes the works of R. M. Ballantyne, in which converted Polynesians are portrayed dressing in English clothes because they are “civilized” (i.e., Christian) men now, as opposed to their cannibalistic heathen neighbors still wearing traditional garb – yeah. (Because we all know “Christian” = English?) I’ve also heard Indian conversion narratives from the settlement period in New England in which native men were “convicted” of their “sin” of having long hair, based on 1 Cor. 11:14 (though to be fair, I didn’t hear that promoted at a Christian event – it was during a presentation at a tribal museum).

  152. @Nick
    The derivation of buroo isn’t actually anything to do with being on the beer. It’s Glesca for bureau from the Labour Bureau which was where you got your relief back in the twenties. It’s likely many people nowadays don’t know where it originated. Although I’ve lived in Australia for many years I was born in Royston and my faither was frae the Shaws and my mither was frae Brigton.

  153. Eagle,

    Love the use of the Patriarchy Exegetical Misapplication Process (TM), “PEMP”, in your post at 5:33 am today. Excellent application of their process of creating “Gospelly Sounding Male Dominance Extremist Irrelevancy”.

  154. Strachan’s vision is terrible. So many comps miss out the passages where it says elders should “manage their households well”. If that means staying at home, I guess pretty much every elder at my church is disqualified.

  155. Cranston, Nick and all

    I love these discussions. one day, I am going to set off on a Wartburg Tour to vist all of the countries and states in which our readers reside.

  156. Retha

    Those words (applause) have given me an idea of a post. The readers could let us know why men should not be pastors and elders based on Scriptural analysis using the Driscoll/Strachan method.

  157. Sad Observer (Oct 5 6:01),
    The son I mentioned who is a SAHD was a MD listener who was also offended by his anti-SAHD video. Unfortunately not offended enough to write MD off completely (as I wish he would).

    Anonymous (Oct 5 12:19)
    Thank you for your gentle reply. I was a QF homeschooler but burned out around age 42 when my 8th child was born and gradually transitioned to public schooling. I am now homeschooling my 7th grader only, because he was bullied at school (by A TEACHER leading the way 🙁 ). He’s getting a good rest and relief from the stress at school and the opportunity to explore many areas of interest to him. (here is his blog 🙂 http://eaglz.wordpress.com/).

    When I homeschooled many children, I often felt inadequate. I can do really well with their math and science, but I am not artistic nor musical. The reason I homeschooled had a lot to do with fear that my children would become spiritually lost if I handed them over to a public school. My oldest daughter went to PS first grade (due to a near death appendix abcess which interrupted my HS plan). She was rebuked and publicly humiliated for not believing in Santa Clause; and I objected to the month long teaching of witches and ghosts and children dressed up in school as Freddy Krueger at Halloween.

    Nowadays I am quite firm about opting my children out of things which I consider destructive and antagonistic to my faith. I’m sure the PS thinks I am a pest…. But they also want to keep me happy since my children make them look good- National Merit Scholars and such.

    The youngest boy in 5th grade has the “bully teacher” this year and mentioned that the “bully teacher” said he isn’t allowed to make fun of the kids anymore (boo hoo!) Next year the 7th grader will go back for 8th grade. He loves band and (like I said) I’m not musical.

    With only two children, I predict Owen Strachan’s wife will need something besides child care and housework to occupy her time eventually…

    Anyway, I’m not those people at your church. Had my own journey and learned a lot of things the long hard painful way. Went back to school to get an RN at age 50 (d/t evangelical, seminary graduate, christian college professor husband being a porn addict, having affairs, and looked like the marriage would end and he would eventually get caught drunk driving and lose job). So nowadays, I public school, homeschool, AND work part time and I’m not interested in throwing stones at anyone.

    Love, Charis

  158. The readers could let us know why men should not be pastors and elders based on Scriptural analysis using the Driscoll/Strachan method.

    Dee – the following is not strictly within the above rubric, but I think falls within the spirit of the rules.

    Biblianists who forbid women from leading often get round the clear instruction in 1 Cor that women must be silent in church, because it’s disgraceful for a woman to speak in church, by appeal to the special case exemption. And it’s an interesting one: women, reveling a little to much in their new-found freedom in Christ, had abused that freedom and become disruptive in the meetings. Thus, to correct this specific case of extreme abuse by some women, all the women had to be quiet in the meetings in Corinth. So “women” just refers to ungodly feminist women.

    Wind forward a little over 1900 years.

    Since the de-regulation of the stock markets under the leaderships of Reagan (Wall Street) and Thatcher (City of London), speculative trading became increasingly aggressive and gung-ho, and this was a major contributing factor in the recent global economic chaos. Interestingly, a group of researchers tested the saliva (just keep reading) of traders on the stock market floor during “bear markets” and “bull markets”. In a bear market – i.e., a market where prices, profits, and bonuses are falling – traders behaved with much greater fear and inhibition, and showed elevated levels of a hormone called cortisol which is released to keep the brain supplied with blood sugar in times of stress. Whereas in a bull market – the opposite – traders behaved with aggression and showed elevated levels of…

    …you guessed it…

    …testosterone. Not to mention that said traders were more or less all male. So male financial traders, abusing their freedom, caused chaos.

    I look forward to somebody, somewhere, calling for men to be silent on the trading floor, because it’s disgraceful for men to speak in a stock exchange.

  159. Charis

    Thank you for the insight into how you managed schooling in your family. I am sorry for the bullying of your son. More and more people are speaking out about this and I have considered doing a post on it. I have seen many Christian bullies whose parents subtly egged them on in order to promote their position in the pecking order.

  160. Nick

    I had heard of the first part of your argument, not the second. I found that fascinating.Wow!

  161. Dee – thank you for your kind words. I suppose I just get a bit frustrated with what looks, to me, like a oft-present double standard in the patriarchal culture. We’re right, because we believe exactly what the bible teaches. Oh, except the bits that we’ve decided don’t mean what they say.

    At least Owen Strachan’s article half addresses one question I’ve had for a while. Namely, if women and men are so equal in value; and there’s a whole load of high-profile, high-status, high-salaried jobs in the church that are forbidden to any woman regardless of her gifting, circumstances and sense of calling; then what are the cool and sexy jobs that are forbidden to any man regardless of his gifting, circumstances and sense of calling? (I did say “half addresses”.)

    As for the first part of the argument (getting round the “women must be silent” thing in 1 Cor). You know the story of Naaman the Syrian general in 2 Kings 5? As in, from now on I’ll only sacrifice to YHWH; only my job involves leading the king into the temple of Rimmon, and I can’t see how to not do that; may YHWH forgive me on that one? Somewhere, there must be a church that says something like that. As in, We know what 1 Corinthians says, and we believe we need to follow all of it scrupulously, without picking and choosing. We just can’t see how to apply the bit about women being silent in the culture we live in, without bringing the gospel into disrepute. We’re so uneasy about the fact that no-one will take our message seriously, that we allow women to speak. We accept there’s an inconsistency there; may the Lord extend grace to us on that one. I might not technically agree with them, but I could at least respect their honesty.

  162. “then what are the cool and sexy jobs that are forbidden to any man regardless of his gifting, circumstances and sense of calling?”

    That’s a good question. Complementarians would probably only be able to say “mother” and “wife”.

  163. I have seen many Christian bullies whose parents subtly egged them on in order to promote their position in the pecking order.-Dee

    Thankfully, I have not seen a lot of this among my children’s friends. The Christian bullies I have encountered were in pulpits and at Sunday school podiums teaching. My children are friends with some of their children and believe me, their children know its wrong and aren’t going to perpetuate the error.

    This is why I am fairly sure teachers like MD will have a day of reckoning eventually. If the wife doesn’t stand up and say “ENOUGH!” the children will.

  164. @Charis: The leader of the International Churches of Christ, Kip McKean, had that exact thing happen to him. None of his three children claim to be Christians. (I was part of their precursor movement, the Crossroads Movement, and am familiar with some of the goings-on in the ICOC.)

  165. I read a lot of complaints about the level of exegesis used by Strachan and company, especially given their level of education and position. My guess is that since their initial seminary training, all education has been on church growth or church management or some such. I have sat through an entire sermon that the only thing I could think was ‘You have got to be kidding, right?’, but I heard a lot of praise for the sermon – you would think a Doctor of Divinity could do better.

  166. bobson

    I would tend to agree with but SBTS is the hotbed for complementarianism and patriarchy. That is the emphasis. They drill it in during the course work and even give course credit for attending seminars on such issues. Strachan is just a ditto head.

  167. It is so sad that in a Seminary setting like at Boyce the professors and students are only parroting what is allowed to be said. I would argue all day long these students are not getting an education, they are getting indoctrinated.

    On the other side these professors have figured out what are the only safe things to be said because they know they will lose their jobs if they say anything outside of the ‘allowed parameters.”

    The fear that must exist at a place like this must be incredible!

  168. mot – there may not be fear there as such. When I was “Drinking the Kool-Aid” (TM) at a leader-centred church, there was a sense of excitement at learning about the vision of the church, and teaching underpinning it. We were at the centre of God’s purposes in our generation, you see. Which is the problem with theological centres proliferating as fast as church movements. Eventually, they no longer provide a real education in the pursuit of God; they just confer degrees in groupthink. As someone (I forget whom) pointed out somewhere on this blog recently, a lot of theology is really theologian-ology; i.e., not the study of God but the study of schools of thought about God.

    There’s something very important about differing theology. To paraphrase Jesus: If we only love those who love us, big deal! Even people who share platforms with people who once read a book questioning the Virgin Birth do that. By extension: if we can only get along with people whose theology causes us no discomfort, big deal; the Judean People’s Front (see “The Life of Brian”) and every Militant Socialist Trotskyite Worker’s Revolutionary Liberation Party (I made that one up) can manage that. It’s when we’re able to love one another despite differences in theology, and are slow to cry “heretic!” or take theological offence, that we prove we’ve become built up in love rather than puffed up by knowledge.

  169. My point is that theology as the study of God is impossible, because we have very little that is verifiable that we know directly about God. What we have is the Bible and what a lot of people have said about it (much that it does not say about itself!) So all of the knowledge that we have in any written form is, at best, second hand, subject to interpretation, translation, etc., societal differences and differences in understanding.

    If you look at the curriculum at a typical seminary, what is presented is the analysis of various people who have taught, thought, and written about God, including, in some seminaries, the pet ideas of the faculty. Some are not academic in the sense of teaching students how to do their own analysis and thinking, but doctrinaire, as in indoctrinating the students in the beliefs of the faculty and senior administration. So we get tapes played from the pulpit from whatever that preacher ingested from his indoctrination.

    Much of the curriculum is reading and reacting to the writings of previous generations of teachers and thinkers, and relatively little parsing of the text in any systematic way, looking at the earliest Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic texts that are available and how to understand them in the terms of the culture and society of the day.

    So almost all seminarians encounter Augustine, Calvin, Armenius, perhaps Luther, and then the 19th and 20th century writers, and more time is spent reading and discussing them than reading and parsing the New Testament!!!

    Hence, my statement that theology is not the study of God, but the study of mankind’s thinking about God, and that only limitedly. Hence you get schools of thought that fight over the proper way to think about God and his relationship to humankind. And like all such academic disputes, you do not get much on the A issues, or even the B issues, but the R, S, T, U, V and W issues.

    Example: Early English translators, following Latin translations, used “hell” for “sheol”, which is closer in meaning to “grave”. So we spend a lot of time on the nature of hell and what happens to those who have not heard or cannot decide for Christ, and less how to live as Christ taught (cf. Matthew 25).
    There is more focus on proof-texts out of the Pauline corpus (not all written by Paul, btw) and less on trying to live as Jesus taught, because it is culturally uncomfortable in modern, wealthy America. Keeping your pulpit while preaching Matthew 25 is not easy, so the preachers and seminary professors get into gender roles, and other claptrap, rather than teaching and preaching real meat.

  170. Who says theology has to be the study of “God” as though one deity in particular were in mind? Followers of Calvin and Arminius (as opposed to Armenians, who are a whole separate group) often talk as though they worship completely different gods in some of the older polemics.

  171. Thanks for the clarification. I figured it was what you intended but that perhaps autocorrect struck again. Just wanted to make sure.

    Another wrinkle in discussing biblical texts is that there are really important ideas accepted within NT documents that developed in the intertestamental period and are not really attested in the canonized OT texts. I would suggest, for instance, the immorality of the soul is one of them even if just on the basis of the Sadducees denying the resurrection and having a tighter canon (the Pentateuch) than the Pharisees held to. As N. T. Wright and others have been pointing out Jewish thought leading up to early Christianity was more varied than some have supposed.

  172. My heart breaks for the children of complementarianism who may lose a mother temporarily or permanently to accident or disease and have no one no nurture, cook, and clean for them because Dad’s too good for THAT work!

    I agree that it is ideal for each child to have two active, involved parents (along with a community of supportive adult relatives, friends, etc). But Strachan’s “ideal” paradigm really only works for him: white, modern, American, affluent, healthy, married, privileged male. None of those things are evil, but we must be careful not to make OUR lives the center of our theology. God is much bigger than that.

  173. Emily, you wrote exactly what I wanted to say. The power and privilege afforded Strachan and the neo-Calvinists has bred in them contempt for anyone not living by their narrow paradigm. This is very disrespectful to fellow believers in other countries and cultures. The neo-Cals preach their paradigm instead of Christ, so they are in fact preaching another gospel (Gal. 1:8) and leading many astray. May God have mercy on them, and open their eyes and hearts to His truth. Salvation is found in NO ONE and NOTHING else but Jesus Christ.

  174. “Ruth, Zipporah, and Rebekah would beg to differ with that assessment.”

    I thought that sounded too familiar… so I went and checked the Her.meneutics blog and yep… that was me. It’s weird to be quoted from one blog to another.