Because Christianity is bigger than Biblical manhood or Biblical womanhood (Blog of Retha Faurie)

Biblical™ Womanhood theology, if consistently applied, is worse news for widowed women, divorced women, not-married(-yet) women, and girls of all ages, than it is for married women.

The Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood does not officially say women should live with male relatives, not go to college, not work outside the home, and not be independent. But they are – I will motivate my accusation just now – on a road that logically leads towards these views. I will quote some Biblical™ Patriarchy supporters, which openly expresses the logical conclusion of the CBMW view:

1) “And does it really make economic sense to invest tens of thousands of dollars for a woman to get an advanced education (often having to go into debt to finance that education) that she will NOT use if she accepts that her highest calling is to be a wife and mother?” – Brian Abshire, quoted from now-deleted material at the Vision Forum ministries website.

2) Kevin Swanson and Dave Buehner believe parents should not raise daughters who are going to compete with men in the marketplace,” but should train their daughters to be “a woman who will be a helpmeet to a man so he can compete in the marketplace.” They speak out against female independence.*

3) Unfortunately, some girls have been told by their fathers, who in turn have been told by their corrupt culture, that it’s a sign of maturity for a girl to stop looking for her father’s instruction and start relying chiefly on her own judgment. … The proverbs that extol the glory of our parents’ instruction never indicate that it’s just for little children and that girls with “good heads on their shoulders” don’t need it. Now, when a girl marries, her father’s authority is transferred to her husband, and she is no longer obligated to obey her father. – Anna and Elizabeth Botkin

(What happens if the father is dead/ abusive/ has a world view by which he does not want the adult daughters in the home? Why does A&E Botkin ignore that the Proverbs talk equally of obeying mothers and fathers – why do they speak only of the father’s authority? And the Proverbs does not indicate that married men and women are exempt from obeying parents, nor does it tell daughters to be more obedient/ obedient for more years/ obedient in any different way than sons.)

A commenter in a Facebook group I am a part of testifies to the following conversation with someone who believes in economically marginalizing women:

I once asked a comp[lementarian] who said all women who worked outside the home were sinners what working women should do. He replied “quit the job and go home and submit themselves to their husbands if married, and to their fathers if not.” I asked, “What about women who are single and have no father, or their father doesn’t want them back home?” “Submit to the closest male relative,” he said. – By a Facebook commenter who prefers to remain anonymous

Any sensible person can guess how the result of this would be, for many women, living in poverty and ignorance, and leaving many of their gifts undeveloped. Not all women have fathers, and not all fathers want their adult daughters in the home. Some fathers are abusive. When women are desperate and do not have the means to cope without men, prostitution has traditionally been where many of them ended up.

I posit that a church which truly believes in complementarianism simply cannot give a long-term solution concerning the position of unmarried, divorced, or widowed women. They can offer them only one solution: Marriage. And where the church has a shortage of men, or if no man is willing to marry, say, a 69-year old widow or a mother of 5 whose husband abandoned her, the “gospel gender roles” churches have to keep these women needy. If you know of complementarians who want women to be able to cope without a husband (as they officially will claim to), then these complementarians never thought through the gospel-related claims of CBMW and their ilk. 

How do I motivate this terrible accusation?

Premise 1:
The Biblical™ Manhood and Womanhood crowd calls theirs a “gospel vision”, a “picture of the gospel”, or “
the gospel … confronting culture. In this gospel picture, men portray Christ and women the church.

despairPremise 2:
The gospel is a message of Jesus saving the lost and broken. Central to the gospel message is that one party was lost – and the other party is a Savior. (We place ourselves under the leadership of Jesus firstly because He saved us.)

If marriages should portray the gospel, then women should be saved from an unpleasant fate by marriage. If marriage symbolizes life with Jesus, single womanhood symbolizes being lost. A single woman who is educated, who lives her life fully and for Jesus, who is happy and independent and live without fear is a terrifying thing in such a worldview. Such a woman, to a gospel marriage mindset, is like an atheist who blatantly states that he is happy and fulfilled in his godless state, and he finds religion and the ru
les it imposes a drag.

If women are not lost without men, complementarianism cannot be a gospel message to them.

Daisy, a regular commenter on, often say complementarians ignore single women. I will go further: Complementarians want more than for single women to get lost, in the sense of disappearing. Complementarians need single women to get lost, in the sense of being desperate because of a dire situation. Otherwise, they won’t have a gospel-like salvation message.

Complementarians not only need for single women to be desperate, but they also need girls to be lost too. This way, the kindness from a complementarian man exceeds anything that the woman experienced in her life. Parents, under a marriage-as-the-gospel world view, should not treat their daughters very well. The poorer the average single woman is, the more unloved and unappreciated, and the more unsafe when going out into the world, the better for preaching marriage as a “salvation” picture.

I am not surprised that Owen Strachan of CBMW found no inherently complementarian good news for single women when he tries to mention the hope the church can offer them:

All around us are women abused by men… The church offers women called to marriage the hope of a husband who will be a self-sacrificing head… – Owen Strachan

The only hope he has for abused women is marriage. What about the woman who won’t marry, or won’t marry again? What good news (gospel means “good news”) does Strachan and his ilk have for her?

Nothing. If marriage is the gospel, she is lost.



Speaking out against female independence, and using the helpmeet text: Explaining male-female relationships based on “It is not good for a man to be alone. I will make a help meet for him” would actually, if honest, lead to speaking out against male independence, to keeping boys in the home of their mothers until marriage, to not educating boys in such a way that they think they can cope without a woman, to tolerance of polyandry because really, the poor guys cannot cope alone and with a shortage of good women to marry they need to share one.

** If you want to think deeper over the passage where advice to men and women was compared to Jesus and the church, and how to see a gospel picture in it that does not make single women in the modern church losers, read here:


Comments on: "Why Biblical Womanhood theology is even worse news for single women than for married women" (8)

  1. This is why I’m starting to believe this concept of “biblical” woman/manhood is more of a social construct made up by evangelicals. Whether they’d like to admit it or not, the concept of what it means to be male or female in the service of God HAS changed throughout the centuries, and will continue to do so.

    Bottom line, making any issue a priority over the gospel is futile.


  2. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

    Aside to whatever movements and ideologies these groups embrace,,,they need to see take a deep look why abuse and divorce is prominent in our society. (especially in churches)

    The focus needs to shift to marriage prevention. It’s obvious that partners that don’t love each other are getting married. Infatuation, Attraction and Intimacy can create a powerful emotional rush that camouflages love.
    (forgetting to see if they embrace the same interests, goals and wants without colliding but instead find compromise)

    Until movements can except they are missing the mark in relationship counseling and instill couples to embrace a mutual emotional connection that includes a mutual surrendering of mind and body to each other, we’ll be blaming certain movement ideologies after its too late to do anything.

    Most men and women (even within churches) in my view don’t even know the concept of “Emotional Connection” and that is the catalyst for sin and abuse,


    • I agree with you so much – the church need to take a look at the prevalence of abuse, and even those with a “wife, submit” view need to teach more mutuality, because Ephesians 5, even if understood their way, is not all there is to the Bible.


  3. Where is the author of this blog located,,,Athens, Greece? I notice a about an 11 hour time difference.


  4. No wonder conservative fundamentalist Christianity has so little influence in the world and so many children of fundamentalist parents turn their back on Christianity. This extreme form of complimentarianism looks so much like a giant cult to me, so very unlike the NT.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. There are some very notably and prominent believing women in the NT and in some cases there seems to be no mention of a husband. Lydia? Phoebe? Mary Magdalene? Mary continued to be prominent after Joseph mysteriously disappeared from the NT story.


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