"If a complementarian man finds himself being taught by, or under the authority of a woman, I think he should endure it for a season."
Our post entitled History of Complementarianism – Part 1 has been so inundated with comments that it has difficult to keep up; however, I have persevered and have read through the 800+ comments (at the time of this writing). One of the great strengths of this blog is our readership, which is quite an eclectic group. We love it when they share their thoughts and ideas through commentary. Several years ago Dee and I had dinner with one of our loyal readers who was traveling through our state, and I'll never forget what he said. He explained how he really appreciated our blog posts, but what he enjoyed even more was reading through all the comments.
Without a doubt, TWW has the smartest commenters on the planet!
Knowing that many of our followers do not have time to read through so many comments under one post, I decided to pull out some that seemed to stay on topic and publish them in a stand alone post. Hopefully, these comments will keep this important conversation going regarding complementarianism.
In the meantime, I am working on Part 2 of the History of Complementarianism and plan to post it on Friday. I have not included any of my comments below, but I did express my commitment to focus even more on the complementarian crowd. There are so many of our brothers and sisters in Christ who don't have a clue about what is REALLY going on, and I intend to inform them to the best of my ability.
Here are some interesting comments in no particular order.
Maybe someone has previously posted and another has answered this question, but why all of the SECRET meetings to come up with definitions and form a group? To me, it seems they were trying to ignite a movement of power and not to simply come together and pray. When you start holding sessions, classes, workshops, conferences, write books and Bible studies on a movement, it then becomes a parachurch in my mind.
@ waking up:
This struck me too. But then, complementarianism is a caste system, where those with special anointing, knowledge, privilege, get to define the rules. In the end (I believe) it is not even about men and women, but about power and money… and how to keep it in the hands of a few. The men and women issue just happens to be the tool they used to build their empire.
I might be marginally cynical this morning.
"Considering comp is mainly practiced by middle class American families, exactly how difficult is it for the man to lead? All that amounts to is the husband gets to control the TV remote and what shows they watch in a lot of those marriages."
I think a man who is not a good man would make it all about control. I think a man who is a good man will be weighed down with the responsibility of “being Jesus” to his wife. That is one reason this ideology is so toxic to men as well as women. As women, I think we gloss over the damage done to men. A guy who disagrees with Female Subordination is considered less than a real man in these circles. Or less than a real believer since he is considered rebellious against God every bit as much as a woman who gets uppity.
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
"Just look at the emotional maturity of men of HONOR in REAL Complementarian societies like the Taliban and Daesh."
Power corrupts. It is not good for men to have too much power over women.
"The 59 “One Anothers” of the New Testament* "
It is amazing that with so much guidance on how we should relate to each other that CBWM thought it necessary to build an organization around a few narrowly interpreted passages. Perhaps they saw a market for selling books and hosting conferences?
"I’m Catholic. I have to be optimistic."
Christiane, the SBC looks a little different for those of us who see it from the inside.
When we hear preachers preach on Eph. 5. …. when we hear men repeatly say that women should not be allowed to teach men …… when women are not allowed to speak in business meetings ….. when women have to go to their little segregated “women’s classes” if we expect to be allowed to comment or ask questions in SS class discussions ….. when some men rant about how wrong it is for a woman to teach adolescent boys or be the church treasurer (just because a man won’t step up and assume his God ordained responsibility) ….. when church deacons repeatedly make jokes about women drivers …….. when SS teachers in the adult married classes go on “Jezebel” rants in class …..
There’s more. And yes, it’s happening now, on a regular basis.
Domestic violence is clearly where complementarians are most vulnerable. It is a huge issue (and crisis) in marriages today and they have no response that doesn’t impinge upon their doctrine of male headship.
On the lack of a common statement on abuse, I think it gets into the definition of spouse abuse. As an egal, I think that male supremacy ideas facilitate abuse. So I think the hangup was in the definition of what constitutes abuse.
"Wondering exactly how many on the current “Council” of CMBW do/don’t adhere to the Nicene Council (and related confirmations), as demonstrated through the recent critical dialogues about Trinitarianism, ESS, etc."
I am beginning to suspect that nothing good comes from these groups when they meet at hotel conference rooms, and draft statements about *pressing issues*. So far they’ve come up with the Council on Biblical Manhood Womanhood/Danver’s Statement with all of its abuses and not found in Scripture.
Then there’s that Chicago group that invented the *inerrancy of Scripture*, which they mean *literal*. Scripture is much more complex than that.
They are always inventing something disastrous to solve the complexities of life. Couldn’t they just meet and pray?
As Grudem's own work on the meaning of kephale states, he used the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (TLG) project at the University of California-Irvine to look up the word in its database. There were 12,000 examples; but he felt it was too large of a sample and 'too much work' so he limited the results to just 3,226. He also used teaching assistants and their staff to check the material for him, he didn't actually look them all up himself on the computer. I find his explanation that it would be 'enough' unconvincing. When you want to prove something beyond the shadow of a doubt, you don't do half-measures and let other people do the work for you. You put in the time so that when a person stops you on the street and asks you to explain to them what source number 2,173 was and why kephale had to mean authority in that instance, you don't have to refer them to your teaching assistant to answer them for you. Somebody else had to be the one who input into the computer database what the source was, tell the computer what each word was, what it's meaning was and Grudem would have no idea if that work was double-checked by the various lexicons. Then his assertion that if anybody wants to challenge it, they should do their own work and check up all 12,000 (or more) sources just goes to show that he's shifting the burden of proof. It all sounds to me like it's little more than: "I told the computer to tell me so that I could tell you it's so." Looking at his results, it's odd that in the secular uses, kephale means "authority" in 2% of the instances (a total of 49/3226), yet somehow in Scripture, he identifies it to mean "authority" in 16% of the instances even though the word "kephale" appears far less frequently in Scripture – 75 according to Strongs. 2% of 75 is 1.5; if the use of the word was consistent, kephale cannot mean "authority" unless there was more frequent use of the word to mean "authority" and it wasn't so extremely rare to mean that – and that's just outright assuming the 16% he says it means "authority" really do mean "authority" odds are not all of them do.
….The ancient world was a loud, noisy, patriarchy and the author of Genesis was steeped in patriarchal tradition – it’s natural for any human author to read back into something old an explanation for why things are the way they are – and that’s what happened when the narrative of Genesis 2 is broken by: “And that’s why marriage…” The idea of perfect Christ-like headship in the Garden of Eden before the fall really isn’t stated as such, that’s why the ten reasons (actually eleven) are such an odd bit of logic to read. The problem is that they’re so firmly ingrained in Complementarian circles that nobody really listens when you point out the absurdity of the idea. Like if Adam had perfect headship and Eve had perfect submission, how sin still happened on his watch and how he didn’t recognize the serpent as one he had not named or thought it odd that it could talk or forbid his wife from speaking to it.
"it’s very apparent to me that CBMW, TGC, etc. folks all have their ‘Wayne Grudem’ card which they hold up whenever challenged on these kinds of things. They don’t even say much of anything, just hold up the Wayne Grudem card (or so to speak). As if that’s enough to dismiss any challenge."
Yes, a lot of roads lead back to this one man, Wayne Grudem. In writing his philosophy into a (so-called) systematic theology, he has legitimized all manner of error. If you are going to a church and you hear Grudem being referred to as an authority, beware.
The agenda of the new reformation is getting more sinister. Complementarity and New Calvinism have merged into one movement. Both are designed to control others into submission to a legal system framed in “grace”. Recovering Biblical manhood and womanhood has tag-teamed with recovering the ‘real’ gospel to create a tremendous challenge to mainline Christianity. To date, it has not been confronted except in the blogosphere. Thank you, TWW, for another excellent article.
Naturally, CBMW spokesheads will say they denounce domestic violence, but the reality is, their gender theology is utilized by preachers and abusive husbands to keep women stuck in abusive marriages.
These women don’t receive practical help from complementarians, but are told to “submit more.”
Concerning domestic violence especially, the majority of complementarians remind me of this comment by Jesus:
“‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”
Complementarians all talk but don’t do anything to help women. Their doctrine and biblical interpretation harms women in abusive marriage, it doesn’t help them.
Some complementarians, such as Piper or Patterson, coach women to stay in bad marriages and get physically beaten by their abusive husbands.
So no, they don’t truly oppose domestic violence. If they did, they wouldn’t be giving women useless advice about submitting more and trying to convince them that divorce isn’t an option.
Control: The Reason The Gospel Coalition and CBMW Cannot Actually Condemn Spousal Abuse
“On October 10, 1994, we received a letter from them saying that their board had considered it, and they would not join with us in the joint statement opposing abuse. I was shocked and disappointed when the letter came. I wondered then if their highest goal in this issue was to be faithful to Scripture above all and stop the horrors of abuse, or was to promote the egalitarian agenda. We ended up publishing the statement ourselves in CBMW NEWS (later renamed The Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood).”
Unbelievable. How stupid do they think their readers are? This, (and other aspects of their history as discussed today) are filled with shameless martyrdom: “Oh, we tried to do the Lord’s work, but the evil heathen staff at CT tried to shut us down,” and, “Can’t you see how we tried to stop the abuse of poor, weaker vessels but those nasty wasty egalitarians refused to help us because they don’t care about women like we care about women.”
Yikes. And don’t get me started on Kassian and that whole trial business (and she still has the nerve to play the “I as a complementarian woman are superior to egalitarian women because I am making my Heavenly Father proud with my submissive and respectful behavior.)
Who is this Mary Kassian? Why is she famous?!!
Until reading this blog, I’d never heard her name before. And so I looked Kassian up online. Let me state my disbelief: On her Amazon profile, I see a woman who looks more Harley Davidson than housewife. She has a short horrifically processed haircut, heavy makeup, and is wearing a leather jacket. In her YouTube videos, her clothing is ummm…loud(?) and accessorized with piles of costume jewelry. She seems like an absolute pro when it comes to public speaking–very comfortable leading others–and could mirror any professor of Feminist Studies. How is this the face of Complementarian doctrine???
I wish I could propose a better female figure, but unfortunately, where I’m from, women aren’t allowed to go to seminary. Is Kassian aware that the very doctrine she espouses is, in some parts of the nation, the very reason she wouldn’t have her job?
I’m sorry, maybe I sound awful, but I do not understand how a woman who looks and speaks like this:
…has, is some corner of the universe, managed to become a voice for my gender. She seems like the very thing she preaches against. Until I see evidence otherwise, I’m pretty sure the only woman benefiting from Complementarianism is Kassian.
"What is left of the SBC is not much–the whole organization is on life-support. I have been a Southern Baptist member for 42 years and a pastor for approximately 10 years and I see no one in leadership that can save the SBC."
Mot, as a 60+ year Southern Baptist, who has been active in various lay ministries for the past 40 years, I sadly agree with your observation. Denominational leaders have turned inward, debating theo-politics and vying for position rather than preaching the Gospel. A once-great denomination has lost its outward focus to go into the world to fulfill the Great Commission. It doesn’t take a highly educated man of the cloth to know that when Calvin gets more air time than Jesus, you are done as a city on the hill! The best we can hope for at this point, is for a remnant to rise from the ashes and pick up the Banner of the Cross to go into the world once again with Jesus on their lips and the power of the Cross as their energy. I personally put more faith and hope in local SBC churches here and there to accomplish this mission, rather than national SBC entities. It will take men of God to get us out of this mess; I don’t see many of those in national leadership these days, but there are still some in SBC pulpits across the land. May God put a fire in their bones for the days ahead!
I haven’t had a chance to read all the comments but the article itself is very interesting.
Based on the reading on this blog, the common thread with complementarianism, church contracts, focus on laws and patriarchy can be summed up in one word:
I think I’ve said this before but it appears that rather than embrace the positive strides we (as a society) have made in the last couple of centuries, the reformed movement seems to fear them.
Nothing happens in a vacuum, everything is connected in some way. The bible is as much a product of history as it is divine word.
For what it’s worth, it is really only in the last 20 years or so that women (in my province anyway) have not had to put their careers on hold. I worked as a nursing assistant for many years in the late eighties/early nineties. In our hospital (it was a mental health facility) the majority of nurses were women yet the administrators and supervisors were mostly men. This is because women often had to put their careers on hold (or leave them or go to work part time) to raise the family. Now with maternity leave available (at least here), women (and men too can access this as paternity leave) can take up to a year away from work that is subsidized by employment insurance (government fund that employers, employees & government contribute to). This was a great boon to us when our kids came along & my wife went back to work without any sacrifice to benefits or status. For a long time my wife worked evenings & I took the day shift and as a result I was very involved in child rearing. There are lots of “Dad” moments that I will cherish forever.
However this opening of doors for women (& other marginalized groups) has in many ways changed our society. There is more discussion and in some cases hard conversations are coming to the forefront.
Christianity is no longer the dominant voice in Western culture. I’m not sure that this is a bad thing, unchallenged religion (or political belief for that matter) never leads to a happy ending, as both history and the stories shared here can attest.
But this opening of doors, messy liberal democracy – imperfect as it is, also provides Christianity and by extension Christians with a safe base to discuss, challenge and engage the society as well. Most of us here do not need to worry about Inquisitors or secret police knocking at our door because of our discussions. However the so-called Calvinists here just want to put up barbed wire and keep their “sheep” in their pens. Complementarianism is just one tool they use to control the thinking of both men and women.
I’m not a fan of comp thinking, I firmly believe that men and women are equal in every way (yes I know men can’t have children). The bible is a product of its time. A “non-comp” example would be how warfare is conducted. In the Old Testament it was perfectly acceptable to exterminate & enslave your enemies. Christians would no longer consider this an appropriate response to the treatment of enemies . Well…most Christians would anyway.
"Thankfully, there are many more young women who are studying theology seriously, and I think that will be the ultimate cause of Female Subordination’s demise."
Agreed. And that may very well be the driver behind the increased emphasis on “the beauty of complementarity” in the New Calvinist movement. If they can prevent spiritually mature women from exercising their Biblical mandate to teach younger women of faith the truth about this issue, they can still influence them to buy the lie about gender roles. But sooner or later, reformed “girls” (as Chandler loves to call his female followers) will wake up and get the heck out of the movement (with or without their husbands/boyfriends in tow).
"I guess you could argue that the women’s signing of such as page is voluntary, but if the whole concept is voluntary, why have women sign agreements about it???"
I had a professor who is a founder and extremely active in CBMW say he made his daughters sign contracts that they would submit to him until marriage and that he would pick their husbands.
I think only the women are saying it’s voluntary.
Of course, the Calvinistas seem very big on contracts in general. They want everyone to sign a contract to submit to their leadership. I bet they’d enforce them on men just as much as women if those men were refusing to accept Calvinista leadership.
I had a professor who is a founder and extremely active in CBMW say he made his daughters sign contracts that they would submit to him until marriage and that he would pick their husbands.
I hope when they turned 18 they skipped town fast as their legs could carry them.
It was actually a good bit worse than that. His oldest daughter was in her 20s when he said this, and he was saying as if reinforcing that this was the process they were currently going through.
Furthermore, he said he had to choose her husband for her because he had to make sure he was a “good Christian”. He defined “good Christian” as “someone from a well-known Christian family”. This is someone who taught pastors, and his idea of being a Christian had nothing to do with Christ.
Apparently, people who professed Christ from non-Christian families like me, or those who weren’t “famous” in the little evangelical world, did not qualify as “good Christians”.
A girl stood up and started quoting verses about how to get saved, and basically obliterated him theology-wise. I was so incensed that I could barely see who she was, and I wish I had thanked her.
Finally, we were greatly encouraged by this comment from Victorious.
I found this list of scriptural behaviors on the web that make absolutely no mention of gender, ethnicity, age, or status. I wonder what foundation (other than one word….head) Piper and other comps have built their entire movement on.
The 59 “One Anothers” of the New Testament*
1. “…Be at peace with each other.” (Mark 9:50)
2. “…Wash one another’s feet.” (John 13:14)
3. “…Love one another…” (John 13:34)
4. “…Love one another…” (John 13:34)
5. “…Love one another…” (John 13:35)
6. “…Love one another…” (John 15:12)
7. “…Love one another” (John 15:17)
8. “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love…” (Romans 12:10)
9. “…Honor one another above yourselves. (Romans 12:10)
10. “Live in harmony with one another…” (Romans 12:16)
11. “…Love one another…” (Romans 13:8)
12. “…Stop passing judgment on one another.” (Romans 14:13)
13. “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you…” (Romans 15:7)
14. “…Instruct one another.” (Romans 15:14)
15. “Greet one another with a holy kiss…” (Romans 16:16)
16. “…When you come together to eat, wait for each other.” (I Cor. 11:33)
17. “…Have equal concern for each other.” (I Corinthians 12:25)
18. “…Greet one another with a holy kiss.” (I Corinthians 16:20)
19. “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” (II Corinthians 13:12)
20. “…Serve one another in love.” (Galatians 5:13)
21. “If you keep on biting and devouring each other…you will be destroyed by each other.” (Galatians 5:15)
22. “Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” (Galatians 5:26)
23. “Carry each other’s burdens…” (Galatians 6:2)
24. “…Be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:2)
25. “Be kind and compassionate to one another…” (Ephesians 4:32)
26. “…Forgiving each other…” (Ephesians 4:32)
27. “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.” (Ephesians 5:19)
28. “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21)
29. “…In humility consider others better than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3)
30. “Do not lie to each other…” (Colossians 3:9)
31. “Bear with each other…” (Colossians 3:13)
32. “…Forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.” (Colossians 3:13)
33. “Teach…[one another]” (Colossians 3:16)
34. “…Admonish one another (Colossians 3:16)
35. “…Make your love increase and overflow for each other.” (I Thessalonians 3:12)
36. “…Love each other.” (I Thessalonians 4:9)
37. “…Encourage each other…”(I Thessalonians 4:18)
38. “…Encourage each other…” I Thessalonians 5:11)
39. “…Build each other up…” (I Thessalonians 5:11)
40. “Encourage one another daily…” Hebrews 3:13)
41. “…Spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:24)
42. “…Encourage one another.” (Hebrews 10:25)
43. “…Do not slander one another.” (James 4:11)
44. “Don’t grumble against each other…” (James 5:9)
45. “Confess your sins to each other…” (James 5:16)
46. “…Pray for each other.” (James 5:16)
47. “…Love one another deeply, from the heart.” (I Peter 3:8)
48. “…Live in harmony with one another…” (I Peter 3:8)
49. “…Love each other deeply…” (I Peter 4:8)
50. “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” (I Peter 4:9)
51. “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others…” (I Peter 4:10)
52. “…Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another…”(I Peter 5:5)
53. “Greet one another with a kiss of love.” (I Peter 5:14)
54. “…Love one another.” (I John 3:11)
55. “…Love one another.” (I John 3:23)
56. “…Love one another.” (I John 4:7)
57. “…Love one another.” (I John 4:11)
58. “…Love one another.” (I John 4:12)
59. “…Love one another.” (II John 5)If we agree these behaviors are not gender-specific, we will have to agree that they result in a relationship of mutuality in the body of Christ at large without exception regardless of one’s status, age, gender, ethnicity, or marital status.