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

Posts tagged ‘leadership’

Intelligent submission, good leadership, and the problems with hierarchy – some ramblings.

My previous post got me thinking: Leadership is good. Submission is good. So where does the problem with gender hierarchy come in?

“Loving, humble leadership.” “Joyful, intelligent submission.”

It sounds good, does it not? And I agree: There is something good to it.

But everything has a context.

Melissa told her little daughter, Cherise: “You should trust what the doctor say. He knows what is good for your health.”

One day, little Cherise had to go to the doctor She complained of a pain in her side, not far from her tummy.  The doctor said: “We have to take your appendix out.” Little Cherise did not scream or complain at the thought. She submitted to the superior knowledge of the doctor.

Little Cherise grew up. Decades later, she had back problems. She went to another doctor. All the advice he gave seemed to make it worse. He recommended an operation, which she got. After that, her back was even worse. If someone tells her now that she should still trust the doctor, he will be wrong.

This is where complementarianism fails, as I see it.

I believe in humble leadership. Humble leadership say: “I know I am not always right, I know you do not always have to follow me. But in this topic, I know something, and I will share it with you. Follow if you are convinced.”

But complementarian leadership, at its humblest, could only say: “I know I am not always right, but you always have to follow me. Whether you or I know more, follow me.”

Loving leadership say: “I will lead where I can see obstacles my followers cannot, and where I can see opportunities my followers cannot.”

But complementarian leadership, at its most loving, could only say: “I must lead even when my followers see obstacles I cannot, and where they can see opportunities I cannot. Even when they know more, they should not act except when I allow it.” The moment someone say his wife/ the woman in the church could lead where they know more, he is not practicing complementarian leadership any more.

Humble submission say: “You know more, so I submit” or “this is a need to you and only a want to me, so I yield.” “I don’t have to get my way all the time.” (This blogger, you may not believe it, is rather submissive in real life. But I do not want to be so at the cost of wisdom or caring about others.)

Complementarian submission could sometimes say the above. But the wife also has to submit when it means saying: “You know less, but I submit” or “this is a need of me/ our children , but I yield, even if our needs go unmet.” “You can get your way all the time.” It takes a very mature man to not get increasingly self-centered if he can get his way all the time.

Intelligent submission say: “I can see you have studied this, so let us do it your way.” “Your plan sounds more sensible than mine, so we will follow yours.” And then, intelligent submission stop submitting the moment submission seems unwise for reaching the goal. The definition of intelligent submission, as I see it, is to submit only when submission is working towards a good goal. It is not intelligent to give in to, say, a husband who abuses your children, or even to a man who demands his missing socks right now, even though he is going nowhere and you are busy.

Gender hierarchist submission say: “You are male, so let us do it your way.” “Even when your plan do not sound more sensible than mine, we will follow yours.” And gender hierarchy submission keep on submitting when submission seems unwise.

The difference, as I see it, between good and bad leadership and submission, is that good leadership is followed because it has a useful purpose and knows or does what you cannot know/do yourself. Bad leadership is when leadership is to be followed whether it is wise or unwise, productive or counterproductive, good or bad for you. I absolutely believe in the first kind. The second is folly, madness and bondage to follow.

And the difference between complementarian marriage submission and almost all other forms of bad leadership, is that you could usually close your front door and be rid of your employer or your president. With this particular teaching, you cannot close even your bedroom door to it.

Do “men should lead, women should follow” keep men out of church?

“It’s the feel of a great, majestic God who is by His redeeming work in Christ inclining men to humble Christ-exalting initiatives and inclining women to come alongside those men with joyful support, intelligent helpfulness, and fruitful partnership in the work.” – John Piper

Okay, to recap: Men, so say Piper, should not merely lead in a way someone else may have led before, but come up with “humble Christ-exalting initiatives.” The man who comes up with this “Christ-exalting initiative” can have no “joyful support” or “intelligent helpfulness” from another man, but only from women.

And since there is, in his view, such a clear difference between the helping people (leaders have male genitals, helpers do not.) and the lead person, nobody could ever start by following and get groomed for leadership. And no male leader could ever (more…)

John Piper, you make no logical sense on gender roles – Part 1

John Piper said (bold mine):

So when God created man and woman he made us the way we are — with the differences of manhood and womanhood — so that we would be suited for these complementary roles (and for the other expressions of complementarity outside marriage). In this drama man was meant to play the role of Christ, and the woman was meant to play the role of his bride the church.

And we have stressed for five weeks now that these differences are not the result of sin. … Before sin ever entered the world God ordained and fitted Adam to be a loving, caring, strong leader for his wife Eve. And before sin entered the world God ordained and fitted Eve to be a partner who supports and honors that leadership and helps carry it through…

Firstly, a question: Is Piper teaching that God wanted humans to sin, so he made one of the two to exemplify a repentant sinner?

Then, an observation:

Piper says in a world without sin, without man or woman, a man was made to exemplify the redeemer from sin, and a woman to exemplify the sinners who get redeemed. God did not make man play the role of the Redeemer because of sin, nor did women have to play the role of the redeemed because of sin. Even if nobody ever sinned, it would still have been right to let the man play the role of the Redeemer from sin, and the woman of the redeemed.


You could as well tell me the TV was invented in order to show a documentary of the negative effects too much TV has; because the inventor wanted to keep people from watching too much TV.

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