Whether you are a Christian or not, this quote is worrisome:
“Daughters are Daddy’s girls in the objective sense, and this particular daughter rejoices in that truth. I am owned by my father…As strange as it may sound, in the peculiar relationship of the father and daughter, God, as it were, takes a back seat. God has created a hierarchy such that the daughter is directly answerable to her father, and her father then answers to God.” – Sarah Faith Schlissel (Bold mine) (1)
This is not Christianity. This is heresy. This is man-worship. There is one mediator between God and man – Jesus. Jesus and Paul actually blame their listeners for following in the ways of their fathers. (Luk 11:48; 1 Pe 1:18)
If you are an unbeliever, the “God takes a back seat” part may not bother you, but you may still find “Daughters are Daddy’s girls in the objective sense …” chilling. This is not the only patriarchal quote that may cause the world to blaspheme the gospel. Look, for example, at these two:
But, as I have declared on numerous occasions, there is no such thing as equality(between men and women) in any … spiritual sense.– Patriarchal blogger Vox Day. (2)
“If my wife wants to stay up half an hour later than the bed time I chose for her, her bottom has to worry about my punishment” – from a “domestic discipline” website recommended by one patriarchal woman to another woman, to learn about “Christian” marriage.(3; 4)
Patriarchy supporters teach that men are master of the home and the priest of the household, by the mere fact of maleness. God should not be at the centre for wives and daughters, but the husband/ father should. Women are not spiritually capable of entering God’s kingdom by the same way men can – they need a man to make their decisions.
These teachings also lead to some fatherless (many people grow up in single-parent homes nowadays) single women scourging the Internet for some “spiritual leadership”, from men they never met. Some of them even have fathers, but the father sensibly disagrees that he has to make decisions for his adult daughter. It is ridiculous – and dangerous – to accept the advice of strange men. These women should read the scriptures for themselves. Our gender does not make us unable to follow God wisely.
There are a few verses which would be used again and again to defend the “patriarch”‘s notions. For example, “the husband is the head of the wife as Christ also is the head of the church” (head in that context is not an idiom for leadership) is a popular one.
Patriarchy is wrong, as:
Obedience to man can never be more important than obedience to God. Even the name of their philosophy – patriarchy – speak of man-centeredness.
Nothing in the creation order or creation purpose suggest male leadership. Eve was made as a helpmeet for him. Helpmeet for him is a combination of two Hebrew words, “Ezer Kenegdo.” Ezer, “help,” is mostly used to refer to God coming to help a man in trouble. It is NEVER used in Scripture to denote a subordinate helping a superior. In fact, some commenters claim ezer should be translated “strength”, not “helper”.
Kenegdo (meet for him) simply means, “facing,” “as if facing him,” or “standing opposite to him,” which suggest a face to face relationship (not one of them above or below the other).
The idiom “he is the head” does not mean, in the language it is written in, what it means to us. (5) Male headship, if “head” does not mean “ruler” or “leader”, is not a reason to believe that men are to lead and women are to follow men instead of God, or men as mediators/ covering between them and God.
Nothing in the New or Old Testament tells men that they should rule the household. However, one verse mentions that Paul wants widows to remarry and rule households.
Following in the way of your father can actually keep you away from God. A part of spiritual maturity is to learn that God and your father are two different characters, and you should not apply your father’s negative qualities – his absence or domineering nature – to God.
Nothing in the New or Old Testament tells men that they should lead women. (More on that in my next post, and if you want to debate this point, please do it there.)
There is one mediator – Jesus Christ. Your husband or father cannot stand before God on your behalf. “Spiritual covering” by the husband is not what 1 Co. 11 is about.
The Holy Spirit leads the believer. Nothing in the Bible suggests that the spirit leads only male believers.
Submission in the Bible is two-sided. All believers are asked to submit to one another. (Eph 5:21; 1 Pe 5:5) It has limits – the disciples taught submission to the government but also broke laws when the government told them not to preach, and Jesus submitted to his parents but also disappeared to the temple for three days and did not apologize. Most submission verses to wives are allegedly in the passive voice (“ wives are subject”) not in the active (“ wives must submit”), unlike the orders to husbands. The recommended example for how wives are to submit – Sarah submitted to her husband as many times as he to her, by what is recorded. She called him “My Lord”, he called her “princess” (the meaning of Sarah).
Several Bible verses mention women in important positions in the church. The congregation in Rome is asked to assist Phebe (Phebe is not the assistant in male work, but the other way round – Rom 16:1-2), Priscilla taught Apollos, there are female prophets in the last days, etc. Junia may have been a female apostle. (Rom 16:7, some translations wrongly translate it as a male name.)
Character requirements are set for leadership in the New Testament. Nothing in the New Testament say that you can lead simply because you are a Levite/ male/ from a prominent family, or whatever. That would probably apply to leadership in the marriage too.
Spiritually mature men who actually can lead in such a way that their family want to follow are wonderful and deserve to be honoured. On the other hand, a man who tries to micromanage even his wife’s bedtime, and beat her into submission when she does not agree with him, cannot use the excuse that God called him to lead. Sarah Faith Schlissel should learn to give God his proper place (even if her daddy says otherwise!) if she wants to be a Christian. Believers should not quench the work of the spirit in half of all Christians, or take positions of authority that God has not given them.
Quite frankly, God does not want the back seat…
Other notes/ references:
- Daddy is steering, God is in the back seat, but she does not mention where the daughter is. In the other front seat? Hog-tied and stuffed into the boot?
- Among others in his blog entry, “civilization requires patriarchy” 25 January 2011
- I don’t want to link to the source, lest this cause others to stumble. When looking up what others said of that “husbands-should-punish-wives” website, the recommendations were mostly from BDSM blogs. Prior to looking up this kind of thing, I did not even know what BDSM stood for…
- Husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. (Eph 5:28) Have you ever heard of a man who lashes himself with a belt when he does not get around to doing what he previously intended? They should love as Christ loved the church. (Eph 5:25) Christ once took out a whip, but that was aimed at those who preyed on His people.
- One of the most complete Greek lexicons (covering Homeric, classic, and Koine Greek) is the work by Liddell, Scott, Jones, and McKenzie. It is based on examination of thousands of Greek writings from the period of Homer (about 1000 B.C.) to about A.D. 600, which, of course, includes New Testament times. Significantly, for our purposes here, it does not include “final authority,” ”superior rank,” or anything similar to meanings of kephale. Apparently ordinary readers of Greek literature would not think of such meanings when they read “head.” “– From “The Head of the Epistles” by Berkeley and Alvera Mickelsen, professors at Bethel Theological Seminary.