All of the CBMW’s “Men” (Or Should We Say “Patriarchs”? Part 1

We believe words, whether spoken or written, are of utmost importance in understanding one's heart, particularly when it comes to their spiritual beliefs.  Jesus taught:  "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks."(Luke 6:45 NIV)


As mentioned in yesterday's post, the Danvers Statement which outlines the core beliefs of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) was written by Bible scholars and pastors.  As laywomen, we are wise enough not to get into a theological debate over the Biblical justification for complementarianism.  Instead, we will examine the hearts of some of the leaders involved with CBMW (either directly or indirectly) in an attempt to assess some of their motives.  As we conduct this examination, we believe we will clearly elucidate spoken as well as unspoken intentions of CBMW.


Before we get into the CBMW and its members, we would like to raise a question which we do not think has been answered by those who use the word,”feminism.” They all state they are fighting feminism because they believe it is the cause of many problems such as divorce and out of wedlock babies. However, they do not define what they mean by this term. Does feminism mean equal pay for equal jobs; or might it mean an angry lesbian pastor? As we sift through a lot of pontificating by the men at CBMW, we would like you all to consider what exactly they mean when they use it. The answer might surprise you. Also, think about what you mean because you might define it differently. Any good debate must begin with a definition of terms . Unfortunately, this is not done on the CBMW site. There may be a reason for this. We will deal with this more extensively in coming posts.


We explained yesterday that the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood is currently housed on the campus of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS).  Although CBMW crosses denominational lines, we believe members of the faculty at SBTS play an important part in carrying out CBMW's mission, whether they hold a position in the organization or not.


Starting at the top of the chain of command at SBTS, we have already provided glimpses into the heart of Dr. Al Mohler, who is a proud Five-Point Calvinist.  We believe his exact words, as we have shared this week, succinctly demonstrate his heart condition, particularly his attitude regarding Mother's Day and Christians who are single.  Dr. Mohler is the head of one of the largest seminaries in the world, and we will let his words speak for themselves.


Russell Moore, dean of the School of Theology and vice president for academic administration at SBTS, is indirectly associated with CBMW as evidenced by the recent promotion of his new book Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families & Churches on the CBMW blog on May 4-6, 2009(


CBMW provides a resource on its website which summarizes a paper Moore presented at the 2005 Evangelical Theological Society meeting.  Here are the link and title:


Are Egalitarians Winning the Evangelical Gender Debate? (December 31, 2007)


We found the following excerpt from Moore's paper (featured on the CBMW website) to be very informational.


"It is noteworthy that the vitality in evangelical complementarianism right now is among those who are willing to speak directly to the implications and meaning of male headship-and who aren't embarrassed to use terms such as "male headship." This vitality is found in specific ecclesial communities-among sectors within the Southern Baptist Convention, the Presbyterian Church in America, the charismatic Calvinists of C.J. Mahaney's "sovereign grace" network . . . These groups are talking about male leadership in strikingly counter-cultural and very specific ways, addressing issues such as childrearing, courtship, contraception and family planning-not always with uniformity but always with directness…"   


A Baptist Press article with the headline "Many evangelicals unwittingly live as feminists", Moore says. quotes Russell Moore as follows:


“Evangelicals maintain headship in the sphere of ideas, but practical decisions are made in most evangelical homes through a process of negotiation, mutual submission, and consensus,” Moore said. “That’s what our forefathers would have called feminism — and our foremothers, too.”


To further understand the mind of Russell Moore, here are some enlightening comments he made in a IX Marks interview entitled "Feminism in Your Church and Home" with Russell Moore, Randy Stinson, and C.J. Mahaney".  It was recorded on May 1, 2007, and can be found at the following link: 


Here are the questions that are addressed in this interview conducted by Mark Dever:


"What does Randy Stinson say feminism is?  Why does Russ Moore say most members of our churches are in “same sex” marriages?  Why does Mark Dever think pastors should pay attention?  Why does C.J. Mahaney think Mark needs to make a bigger deal of complementarianism vs. egalitarianism than he does?" 


David and Tim Bayly, Presbyterian pastors who have their own blog, quoted Moore verbatim at this link:


Russell Moore: "I hate the term 'complementarian'…

"Here's an interesting statement by Southern Baptist Seminary's Russell Moore unburdening himself about the nomenclature of the sex battles; and more particularly, expressing his extreme dislike for the word 'complementarian' and preference for 'patriarchy.' He's exactly right.


Tune in at 29:45, and you will hear this:

Russell Moore: Gender identity and complementarianism … I hate … the word 'complementarian', I prefer the word 'patriarchy'…


Again at 37:00 ff….

Mark Dever: So then, why is it you don't like the word complementarianism?

Russell Moore: Because complementarianism doesn't say much more than the fact that you have different roles. Everyone agrees that we have different roles, it just a question of on what basis you have different roles? So an egalitarian would say, "Yeah, I'm a complementarian too, it's on the basis of gifts." I think we need to say instead, "No you have headship that's the key issue. It's patriarchy, it's a headship that reflects the headship, the fatherhood of God, and this is what it looks like, you then have to define what headship looks like…

Mark Dever: So, Randy (Stinson of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood), are you rewriting the CBMW materials to take out the term complementarianism?
Best thing they could do, but don't hold your breath…"


In the IX Marks interview, Russell Moore makes the shocking statement that most Christians are feminists and live in ’same-sex’ marriages.  The reason?  Most men do not exercise Biblical headship for their wives.


Dr. Bruce Ware, professor of Christian Theology and associate dean of the School of Theology at SBTS, is a Council Member of CBMW.  Dr. Ware has recently become the President of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS).  If you are not familiar with ETS, here's a brief description from Wikipedia:  "The Evangelical Theological Society is a professional society of Biblical scholars, educators, pastors, and students with the stated purpose of serving Jesus and his church by advancing evangelical scholarship."  


What concerns us about the ETS is the direction of a Ware presidency.  After all, Dr. Ware believes in the eternal subordination of the son (Jesus Christ) to God the Father.  To read his justification of this theological belief, go to these links:

Bruce Ware has recently written a new book, Big Truths for Young Hearts: Systematic Theology for Little Ones, which has recently been promoted on the CBMW blog in a three-part series, (April 24, April 27, and May 11, 2009).  Dr. Ware obviously believes it is important to teach the little ones his peculiar brand of theology including the eternal subordination of the Son to the Father so they can be properly indoctrinated while they are young.  It's worth noting that Dr. Ware's son-in-law, Owen Strachan, is a regular contributor to the CBMW gender blog.  We have found some degree of nepotism with CBMW.  


We have given you a lot of information today. However, due to the nature of the changes these men are proposing in the area of gender, we must follow their arguments to their logical conclusion. They are proposing to go far beyond even complementarianism. They truly believe that Christian men should be “patriarchs.” We leave you with that thought and will pick up on this theme on Monday when we look carefully at the words of the President (or should we say, head patriarch?) of CBMW, Randy Stinson.



In the meantime, it’s Friday and we want to leave you on an upbeat note. Have you ever gone to your pastor and tried to argue a different viewpoint, only to have it turn out less than positive? Do you wonder what you were arguing about in the first place? Have a good laugh at this classic skit from Monty Python. (video to follow soon-sorry)


All of the CBMW’s “Men” (Or Should We Say “Patriarchs”? Part 1 — 3 Comments

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    An article from last Sunday’s Washington Post article pointed out, “Pro-life feminism is the future.” Women are not beginning reject feminism altogether, just the wrong breed of it.

    I also have begun to take issue of the quick “bashing” of all things feminism–and even all things 1960’s, which takes place in the Evangelical community:

    Much of the “feminism” of the 1960/70’s hardly reflects the intent of the original feminism as started in the 19th Century. Many of the original feminists would have abhorred the thought of aborting the unborn or seeing women objectified on the pages of Cosmo. What too many Evangelicals fail to honestly discuss however, are the abuses and antibiblical excesses of patriarchy, which birthed the need for the original feminist movements in the first place!

    The church has been guilty of perpetuating racism and slavery throughout history, though it’s also led the way of progress as well. (Let’s not forget many of the lead slave abolitionists were Christian *women!*) It’s about time we address sexism. This paranoid, reflexive cultural reaction against all things 1960’s misses the point: Martin Luther King Jr. marched at a time when most churches would never have let him set foot inside their buildings. The sixties had its merits too. Where would we be without the civil rights movement?!

    I would argue that in terms of feminism, the 60’s and 70’s set us women back. Abortion “rights” and the obsession with sexual “liberation” only created new ways for women to be demoralized and degraded in our society. So if anything the 1970s just led to more reasons why we need feminism more than ever today, to undo the damage. Women have a lot to fight for. Everything from equal pay, to more representation in government, more resources for pregnant women in need, and more respect in our churches.

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    You make some important points in this comment. If you would not mind, I would like to make you comment the subject of a post in the near future. You need to read the blog called Girl Talk. There is much silliness that masquerades for “godly” on this site.

    SGM has perpetrated some ideas about women not even being allowed to make any comments whatsoever when it comes to the pastor or his performance. Women are to remain silent. In some churches, women must not say a word. They may whisper something to their husbands and he will decide if that statement will be allowed and he, of course, will speak it.

    I agree that abortion and sexual liberation have hurt women as well as men. So much pain-fatherless children, poverty, etc. are direct results. So, some churches have backlashed in the other direction. Sometimes the church seems like a lumbering giant, lurching right and left as the society presses. Instead, it should be the giant that is able to keep a straight path in the midst of chaos.

    Ergun Caner is example of current leadership. He presents as a pompous, lying jerk who has made jokes at the expense of women, Hispanics and African Americans. Yet, he is considered a “true brother and those of us who raise the warning are “minions” of Satan. What a way to turn the Bible on its head.

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    “If you would not mind, I would like to make you comment the subject of a post in the near future”

    Hi dee, I look forward to reading a future post you write on the subject and see where other people’s hearts and minds are on the subject as well. I used to think I was alone in my concerns and frustrations!