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

Posts tagged ‘complementarian’

Why Biblical Womanhood theology is even worse news for single women than for married women

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.* (more…)

If women are made for relationships and to stay at home, where does that leave me who live alone?

“A man’s world is focused outside the home in work and recreation. A women’s world is strongly focused within the home and on family… Men develop the evidence of their worthiness primarily from their jobs, being respected in business, profession or craft. Women, and especially homemakers, depend primarily on the romantic relationship with their husbands for ego support… the emotional content of a marriage is usually more important to women and why the little tokens of affection are appreciated more by wives, who obtain esteem from these expressions of love and generosity. Women need continual reassurance from their husband that they are loved, needed and valued. … men do not need this kind of reassurance from their wives…

Men do not have as strong a desire and need for stability, security and enduring relationships as women do… Women are usually credited with possessing “mothers intuition” in regard to not just her children but all personal relationships. She may not be able to explain it, but she has a feeling about the situation that the man does not.” – From a piece of bad pop science masquerading as religious teaching on an allegedly Bible-oriented website.

When Daddy is out earning a living and the little ones at school, what then?

When Daddy is out earning a living and the little ones at school, who do Mommy relate to?

This is a statement that often appear in teachings on gender roles: Men find value in work, women in relationships. Men want to be away from home, women want to be at home.

That is really weird. You see, for a newly wed wife with a husband at work her home is the one place where there are no people to relate to most of the time. Even if he works just 8 hours a day, with a 30 minutes lunch break and 30 minutes to get to work and later 30 minutes to get back, the waking hours with him at home are less than the hours alone.

If she is made to stay at home, and all her potential friends do the same, she can relate to nobody except the occasional plumber or delivery guy, who visits her home in the course of working. And she has to cook, clean, and do other kinds of work even though she don’t find value or pride in her work – unlike men, her self esteem is not influenced by how well she does her work, or the respect others give to it. (more…)

Why am I not a complementarian? My shortest answer yet

Complementarianism is (more…)

When soft complementarianism is too hard: Part two

(Continued from part one)

Dave’s first defence (“but complementarians actually envision two sidedness”) is inadequate, as they will certainly be willing to teach submission to a wife whose husband is not present in the class, (or present and not doing his part of the “system”) and tell a woman to do her submit part regardless of what the man does. If the complementarian message was that this is only to be done mutually, and no woman should try it alone, the defence would have had merit.

As for the second part, (more…)

When soft complementarianism is too hard: Part one

Let’s face it: Most complementarians are not bad people. They are our brothers and sisters in Christ. They want Christian husbands to treat their wives well, and Christian wives to treat their husbands well. Much like we egalitarians do, actually.

They want to be faithful to God and the Bible, like us. If they proclaim that men should treat women well and women should treat men well, if many a soft complementarian marriage looks functionally egalitarian, where is the big difference? Isn’t marriage complementarianism and marriage egalitarianism just semantics? (more…)

Is this the worst kind of husband in the world?

In his profile on the Internet dating site, he describes himself as a godly man who wants a godly, feminine, pretty, submissive woman. He is a believer himself, albeit one who struggles with a few things like pornography… (more…)

Why I can never be a complementarian: Part 1

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players – William Shakespeare

I have a nature to be compliant. I will (unless God makes me one) probably never be a boss at work.  When, in a situation, I cannot follow in good conscience, I am still more likely to go my way alone than to lead. And I used to understand texts like Eph 5:22-33 in a way that will sound very right to complementarians. In fact, I can still envision the remote possibility that egalitarians may be wrong on texts like Eph 5.

It sounds like I am complementarian womanhood material, doesn’t it?

But I will never believe the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. I will never proclaim or follow their ideas on gender roles. I will never support them. They are completely, utterly wrong. (more…)

Smoke and mirrors: A review of the Danvers statement (Part 5)

8. In both men and women a heartfelt sense of call to ministry should never be used to set aside Biblical criteria for particular ministries (1 Tim 2:11-15, 3:1-13; Tit 1:5-9). Rather, Biblical teaching should remain the authority for testing our subjective discernment of God’s will.

Since the question is BMaW and not a restriction or two on one gender, we should see if God’s Biblical criteria for ministry include that everybody of a certain gender should be involved in any of these tasks, with nobody of the other gender doing it. With that in mind, we study these texts now:

1 Tim 2:11-15: Part 3 linked to other explanations of this contradictory passage, and part 2 discussed the possible gender roles in verses 12-14. (To recap, the only thing in that text that may be just for one gender is teaching men – or perhaps teaching in general. But not all men are called to teach, so this is not a gender role meant for all men.)

As such, we will look for possible gender roles in verse 11 and verse 15.

:11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.

This woman – singular, the Greek manuscripts from which we translate our Bibles also have it as singular – should learn in silence and subjection. An individual that should do something does not make a gender role. And if it was a gender role, what is then the role of men? To see to it that they do not learn? To learn with noise and argumentation?

God certainly calls everyone to learn of him – male and female. We all should subject ourselves to the truth. We all should reject error, and none of us should be so submissive to leaders that we accept false doctrines from them. 1Thes 5:20-22 says we (male and female) should listen respectfully to religious teaching, test if it is good, accept it if it is, and reject it if it seems not to be.

1Ti 2:15  Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

Is being “saved in childbearing” a gender role? By one common understanding among scholars, it means she shall be saved in the childbirth (of Jesus). Being saved in Christ is not a gender role.

If it means that bearing children will have a significant meaning to women, then it is a gender role we do not need CBMW for. Women were having children long before CBMW penned the Danvers Statement. Men have never usurped the childbearing role. They cannot. While bearing them is a biological gender role,  both mothers and fathers are called to love and raise their children. If CBMW sees a non-biological gender role in here, they did not explain what it is. And it says nothing of the gender role of those women who have no children, of which I am one.

The second part of the sentence – faith and charity and sobriety – is obviously not a gender role.

1Tim 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9 explain the requirements for elders and deacons. First things first: even if those are gender specific, it will only be a gender role – meant for the whole male gender – if God called all Christian men to be elders and deacons. If not, it is not a role for the whole male gender.

Once again, it has no corresponding, complementary female gender role. Submitting to the elders is not a gender role – Male and female church members should submit to elders.

With that in mind, we can study the text and see what evidence exists that these tasks are restricted to men. The gender-specific evidence in these texts comes down to this:

>     “The husband of one wife” (1 Tim 3:2; 3:12; Tit 1:6) is a saying that meant, in the Greek speech of the time, a faithful man or woman. Even some complementarians, like Douglas Moo and Thomas Schreiner, admit that this text does not clearly exclude women.

>      “Even so, must their wives be grave, not slanderers…”(1Ti 3:11) has, in my KJV, a few words in grey to show they were inserted because translators thought they made sense of the text, not because the Greek say that. More literal translations say: “Likewise women should be …” Why suddenly speak of women in the middle of talking of deacon requirements? Probably because female deacons should, as mentioned before of deacons, be grave and not slanderers.

>     “he”, “a man“, etc. In several spots where Paul wrote gender-neutral Greek, our translations inserted “he” to make a coherent English sentence. For example:

“If a man desires the office of bishop, he desires a good work”

… means:

“If anyone desires overseership**, that person desires a good work”.

None of these “he”s and in some translations “a man”s actually denote maleness, if you read Paul in the language he wrote in.

9. With half the world’s population outside the reach of indigenous evangelism; with countless other lost people in those societies that have heard the gospel; with the stresses and miseries of sickness, malnutrition, homelessness, illiteracy, ignorance, aging, addiction, crime, incarceration, neuroses, and loneliness, no man or woman who feels a passion from God to make His grace known in word and deed need ever live without a fulfilling ministry for the glory of Christ and the good of this fallen world (1 Cor 12:7-21).

True, but this is no statement about BMaW. In the same vein, it could be said that with the labourers so few and the need so big, limiting the potential workers in what they may do is detrimental to church health.

Point 9 could also contradict other things in this statement. If, for example, a woman with grown children want to be involved in a fulfilling ministry, but her husband orders her to stay at home 24/7, should she submit to his headship (Danvers statement, points 3-6), or should she get involved in a fulfilling ministry?

If men have the role of leadership, and a spiritually immature man who came to Christ recently nevertheless wants to be involved in a fulfilling ministry, should we make an immature man the leader of some ministry (the Bible speaks against it), or should he take a church task which is not a Biblical manhood gender role?

10. We are convinced that a denial or neglect of these principles will lead to increasingly destructive consequences in our families, our churches, and the culture at large.

They are convinced that denying/ neglecting BMaW will have dire consequences. And some people are convinced that they have been abducted by aliens. I don’t care one whit what CBMW are convinced of – unless they also convince me.
What did the Danvers statement give evidence for?

>    It gives no evidence for all the dire consequences (unraveling marriages, uncertainty and confusion, ambivalence regarding the values of motherhood and vocational homemaking, illicit or perverse sexual relationships, pornography, abuse in the family, threats to Biblical authority, etc.) which, according to their rationale, will follow if people do not live BMaW.

>   As far as roles at church go, these male roles was defended:

1) Teaching,

2) being an elder and perhaps a deacon, depending on how they interpret 1 Tim 3.

These 2 tasks are not for all men: All men are not spiritually mature enough to teach or oversee. Scripture even warns that all should not try to teach, because teachers will be judged more strictly. (James 3:1) In a congregation of 200+ people, all 100+ men cannot teach.

There was one bit of evidence (1 Timothy 2:11-15) given for women not teaching in the church, but none for a gender role that women, but not men, actually do have at church.  (The Bible passages quoted, not the Danvers statement itself, may add a female role of either wearing something on your head to church, or deciding for yourself if you want to do so; and a male role of not covering your literal head.)

>    When it comes to roles in the home, one role is given for married women: They have to submit to their husbands. That does not cover how they should treat any other person, besides the husband. They also defended a husband’s headship of his wife.  (Yes, some people understand the Bible in ways that disagree with said evidence. But the dissenting views are not the topic right now.) Nothing showed the man has a kind of authority over his children that the wife does not, or over any other kind of family member. Nothing showed Biblical home gender roles for singles living alone, young adults living with parents, boarders living in someone else’s home, individuals living in communes or boarding houses, etc.

> In the broader community, no gender roles were defended. It may have been asserted that leading is a general role for all males, but it was not proven from any Bible texts.

These applications are so limited that half of all adults really have no gender role under it. No teenage or child believer (except for a few who married in their late teens) have a Biblical gender role.

Conclusion:

The Danvers statement uses 10 passages in an attempt to prove gender roles.* Of these 10 passages, only 2 (1 Tim 3 and Titus 1:5-9) was always used in a way that can arguably be justified from the texts. The other 8 were used, at least once, to say something that is simply not in there. That is notoriously bad eisegesis!

But even if all the scripture actually supported the confessions they made, there is still no evidence that gender roles are meant for all. The Danvers statement defended Biblical wife-hood and husband-hood in a way I understand, even if I do not agree. But I saw no scriptural defence of Biblical womanhood and manhood.

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Note

* The 10 passages are: Parts of Gen 2:16-24 -5 times; Parts of Gen 3:1-16  – twice; Parts of 1 Cor 11:2-16 -3 times; Eph 5 – twice; Col 3:18-19 – twice; Parts of 1 Tim 2:11-15 -4 times; and 1 Tim 3:1-13; Tit 1:5-9; Tit 2:3-5 and 1 Pet 3:1-7 once each.)

At least 2 of those 10 are also among the most seemingly contradictory passages in the New Testament – 1 Cor 11 and 1 Tim 2. Proof-texting from these is not wise.

The Danvers Statement also use 6 other passages besides these(Gen 1:26-27; Dan 3:10-18; Acts 4:19-20, 5:27-29; 1 Cor 12:7-21; Gal 3:28; 1 Pet 3:1-2), but these six were used to show points like equality, avoiding sin, and having a fulfilling ministry.

** See the first comment for why this change was made.

If Biblical Manhood and womanhood is true, this test will be easy

(more…)

Gospel sex?

I heard a new idea concerning sex last week. It is that God made sex to explain to us what a relationship with Him is about. According to that idea, God is the man, Christians are the woman, and sex is a symbol of our unity with Him.

If that was true, we could study the way females experience sex as an example of how we should think about unity with God. (more…)

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