the weblog of Alan Knox

It’s a man’s world?

Posted by on Apr 27, 2011 in blog links | 30 comments

It’s a man’s world?

Arthur from “The Voice of One Crying Out in Suburbia” has started a new series on the topic of Biblical Patriarchy. His first post is called “Biblical Patriarchy: Introduction,” and his second post is called “Biblical Patriarchy: Defining the Issue.”

To be honest, I’m not sure where I stand on the issue of patriarchy. It was certainly a cultural issue, but was it more?

I know that I’m not satisfied with either of the modern explanations of complementarianism or egalitarianism. Why does everything have to be about authority?

Anyway, I thought my readers might be interested in following along with Arthur’s series like I am. If so, enjoy!

So, what are your views of patriarchy – the good, the bad, and the ugly?


30 Comments

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  1. 4-27-2011

    Those who carry the God-granted authority to do His will in regard to a particular matter never have to point that fact out. They do, not talk about if it’s right to do, who’s going to decide what to do, and when and who’s to do it, who should we report back to afterwards for evaluation and approval, ad nauseum. They go do it, right hand offering a good gift, left hand not knowing; and then return to the ready-to-act posture (on their knees). I weary of the sad old refrains that leave heartache and misery and powerlessness in their wake. “It shall not be so [as with the Gentiles lording it over one another] among you,” the One said. I take that as Gospel. As a well-researched, finely articulated piece on the issue, I like my friend Jon Zens’ words: http://www.jonzens.com/?page=shop/flypage&wt=1.00&product_id=288&CLSN_2419=1297539938241953d523e655901e3328

  2. 4-27-2011

    I help women who are victims of partriarchy. The flaw is in the illusion of power over those who are chattel. So one winds up with the abuses touted on ABC’s 20/20 regarding IBF: http://abc.go.com/watch/2020/SH559026/VD55121488/2020-48-victims-forced-confession Or the abuse & death of little children because as chattel they must be forced into submission — don’t get me started on the links for this. Or child trafficking or abortion as a cover up for incest, the all too frequent product of patriarchy. For more details on what the process of will-robbing abuse looks like within partriarchy, Jon Zens’ new book is invaluable: No Will of My Own http://www.amazon.com/No-Will-Own-Patriarchy-Personhood/dp/0982744633/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1303923177&sr=8-2

  3. 4-27-2011

    I find a biblical defense of patriarchy about as appropriate as a biblical defense of polygamy.

  4. 4-27-2011

    I think the term Biblical Patriarchy is an oxymoron and is without the support of a single verse of scripture properly interpreted in context.

  5. 4-27-2011

    Georgia Ana, Sarah, and Hutch,

    Thanks for the comments. I’m waiting to read Arthur’s posts. It doesn’t seem like he’s talking about authority, but I’d like to see where he goes with this.

    -Alan

  6. 4-27-2011

    It all starts in Genesis with a mistranslation of ezer kenegdo and then mistranslating a descriptive statement and twisting it into a prescriptive command. I do like the position that it’s a secondary issue, but my experience is that folks like Doug Phillips, Voddie Baucham and Grudem making it much more with the first two making it an issue of fellowship and even a gospel implication.

  7. 4-27-2011

    Interesting responses already…

  8. 4-27-2011

    Thanks for the head’s up on the other blog. It’s a hot topic for sure. This was some of my response there:

    God really did give us roles to play. It’s not a question of equality, intelligence, or who God likes best. But we sometimes confuse ourselves because of our fallen nature, and the havoc we wreak on one another. Our sinful desires for power and esteem cause all the confusion.

    It’s natural (and I feel safest)when a man leads life, a strong man with a good head on his shoulders…but here’s the catch: he must be producing fruits of the Spirit. Otherwise his nature, and the strength behind it, will hurt the rest of us. (A woman cannot fulfill her role either, without living by the life of the Holy Spirit.)

  9. 4-27-2011

    Hutch,

    “making it an issue of fellowship and even a gospel implication”

    I would agree, especially with Doug Phillips but I wonder. Do you think that anyone on the other side of the issue does the same thing?

  10. 4-27-2011

    Hi Arthur-

    I would have to assume that there are some on the other side of the issue who would divide over it, I think it would be naive not think that is a possibility.

    Regarding folks who think its a gospel or salvific issue on both sides of the fence, I would have to say they do not properly understand the gospel and may want to examine if they have embraced and teach the gospel of Christ or perhaps another gospel.

    Now regarding fellowship: When we say we do not divide over it, what does that mean? Does it mean that a person, couple or family who disagrees with you on this issue and teaches and practices something different than you would be welcome to be a part of the gathering you meet with? -or- does it simply mean you would accept them as a brother and sister but not share life/community with them?

    What do you think are the consequences of someone understanding the scriptures differently on this issue and practicing something different from your understanding of the scriptures on this issue? If they are in Christ, what are the consequences in their life as you see it?

    Wayne Grudem has written volumes indicating that he thinks its the most critical issue facing the church in America and that the very gospel is at stake. I’m not making this up, its easy to verify.

  11. 4-27-2011

    Hutch,

    “Regarding folks who think its a gospel or salvific issue on both sides of the fence, I would have to say they do not properly understand the gospel and may want to examine if they have embraced and teach the gospel of Christ or perhaps another gospel.”

    I would agree.

    “Does it mean that a person, couple or family who disagrees with you on this issue and teaches and practices something different than you would be welcome to be a part of the gathering you meet with? -or- does it simply mean you would accept them as a brother and sister but not share life/community with them?”

    The former. If you find yourself in Indiana, please come look us up, we would love to fellowship with you. I am pretty willing to bet that I am in the minority on my position in the group we gather with. I would turn that question around. Among those who you gather with, would you likewise welcome someone who holds to a patriarchal position? My wife chooses to cover her head, would her choice in that matter be respected?

  12. 4-27-2011

    Sarah

    “I find a biblical defense of patriarchy about as appropriate as a biblical defense of polygamy”

    I would encourage you to visit my posts and interact with what I wrote rather than dismissing the entire topic without even interacting with it.

  13. 4-27-2011

    Arthur-

    You asked: Among those who you gather with, would you likewise welcome someone who holds to a patriarchal position?

    Yes. Those who we meet with run the whole spectrum on the issue. Since we are all self-feeders and come to the gathering to share from the overflow of our time spent in the written word and with the Living Word during the week with no set agenda or selected pre-planned teacher it works out well. My observation is that the folks who lean more toward Patriarchy would prefer that the women not share. The women who hold to a Patriarchy interpretation of the New Covenant scriptures do not share and are respected in that decision. We have had people leave over the issue, not because there practice was expected to change but that they could not abide the practice of others. So, they decided to divide over the issue.

    You asked: My wife chooses to cover her head, would her choice in that matter be respected?

    Absolutely.

    Just so you know when it comes to interacting with people personally, I do not go around questioning peoples practice on secondary issues. I only show them my understanding from the scriptures under two circumstances: 1) They ask me and truly want to respectfully dialogue. 2) They try to impose their understanding on me, my wife or another brother and sister that I’m in relationship with.

    And of course sometimes people post things on blogs and facebook and ask for interaction.

    :)

  14. 4-27-2011

    Alan,

    I think I will wait to read what Arthur has to say before commenting on what he is talking about. I’ll be surprised any fears are justified. Who knows? I might be surprised :)

    The word “patriarchy”, as it has been used by quite a few, maybe even most, carries a huge amount of garbage. It’s use, as I have mostly heard it, causes concerns for me because it is often used to justify a power trip by the user, and, in my opinion, reveals an ignorance of the fact that we live under a New Covenant.

  15. 4-27-2011

    “For purposes of this brief blog series I will use patriarchy, male headship and complementarianism as synonymous although I will tend to use patriarchy more often if for no other reason than it annoys people.”

    Well, that should really help convince the gainsayers. I’ll be honest, I just about quit reading right there. To a lot of folks, that’s the equivalent of me asking you “who’s your under-shepherd”? Instead of using the culture’s words, just use the biblical ones. I suspect “Patriarch” isn’t going to come up much in your scriptures.

    Arthur, I know you are knowledgeable enough about the high-profile players in the “Patriarchal movement” – and that there are plenty of hurt people out there. In their defense, it took a post and a half to get to the first scriptures – and as you admit, they don’t support all of your claims. What kind of comments did you expect?

  16. 4-27-2011

    While I’m still waiting to read Arthur’s posts before jumping on any bandwagon (and I probably still won’t jump, knowing me), I did appreciate the conversation between Arthur and Hutch very much.

    Thank you, guys.

    -Alan

  17. 4-28-2011

    Eric, the ongoing posts are delving into the text. This is a big and complex topic and each post is already longer than I would like. The post on Old Testament support went out this morning and was very long, the one on New Testament support is going out probably tomorrow and is not even half done and longer than usual. I am confident you will find plenty of Biblical references even if you don’t agree with my interpretation.

    When it comes to men like Voddie Baucham and Wayne Grudem as well as the main contributors to the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, I find their contributions to this topic to be invaluable as well as much of what they write on other topics. I would reject any notion that they are teaching anything abusive. I am not as keen on men like Doug Phillips and the Vision Forum folks or R.C. Sproul Jr. but I also don;t think we should base our position on contemporary spokespeople for a position.

    There are certainly people that have been hurt by perversions of the doctrine of male headship/patriarchy but there people who are abused in all corners of the church. There are people hurt by charismatic churches, people hurt by Reformed churches, people hurt by simple/house churches. I am hoping that we can look at this issue and discuss it based on its own merits rather than using anecdoal evidence or sweeping generalizations.

  18. 4-28-2011

    Hutch

    Thanks for your amswer and interaction. I likewise don’t interrogate people on secondary issues (although I will admit I have in the past to keep them Arminians out!). If someone is a follower of Christ, that is sufficient basis for us to be in fellowship. I have been in assmeblies where many women covered their heads and people who visited didn’t come back for that reason. Where we gather now that we have moved, we have a wide range of opinions on the topic and we feel free to function as led by our understanding of Scripture. My intent in this series of posts, as I stated and you noted, is not to find an reason to divide, it is to discuss an important topic, provide a somewhat contrary viewpoint and provide a platform for discussion. I sincerely do hope that our families have a chance to fellowship and break bread together some time and that we can cherish our unity in Christ.

  19. 4-28-2011

    “I also don;t think we should base our position on contemporary spokespeople for a position.”

    Agreed. Does that include you? ;o)

  20. 4-28-2011

    Thanks Arthur I feel the same. I also think it’s an important issue, probably As much as you do. I used to be in lock-step with Complimentarianism/Patriarchy until I took a hard look at it’s hermeneutic. As I see it the so called Egalitarian camp has a very diverse group of people who arrive at their position in a variety of ways. Some believe that some of the writers of scripture inserted their personal opinions and biases into the scripture. I reject that. Some believe that the issue changed under the New Covenant with the change of the covenant-I do not fully buy that, but certainly recognize that both men and women’s access to a
    Nd relationship in Christ changed dramatically unerring the new and better covenant in Christ blood. After all my hermeneutic is heavily new covenant and Christocentric. Some people believe some of Pauls writings were only for the culture he addressed-I reject that. I believe that all of scripture is authoritative and innerant in the original languages when the words used are accurately defined as intended and when interpreted in the context as intended. Example: what Paul wrote about head coverings for women is authoritative, yet my wife never has and never will cover her head as a religious obligation with anything other than her hair. And we are convinced that she is acting in accordance with Pauls instructions. She does wear hats from time to time to keep the sun off her face.

    So again where we disagree in the interpretation of the scriptures, what do you think the consequences will be for those whose scholarship leads to a different conclusion from yours?

  21. 4-28-2011

    Eric, I am pretty sure no one considers me a spokesperson for anything. I simply ask people to read what I have written and interact with it, or at least consider it.

  22. 4-28-2011

    Hutch

    I would also describe my hermeneutic as heavily based in the New Covenant and that is entirely consistent with my patriarchal position.

    As far as those who come to a different conclusion. I hold to an eternal security position and a sovereign election position. That means that someone who is “wrong” about a secondary issue is not going to lose their salvation based on that, so on this issue (like infant baptism or dispensationalism or non-resistance or the institutional church or any of the other myriad positions I take a dogmatic stand on) I would fully expect many people who I disagree with to spend eternity with Christ. Heaven will be full of people who were wrong about lots of stuff!

    I do think there are current life blessings and consequences for the positions we hold.

  23. 4-28-2011

    Exactly. Since we both have come to a different conclusion in good faith with the goal of being obedient to God and his written word, but default we both understand the other to be wrong. I am in full agreement with what you said about life consequences and people being in the eternal state who are wrong about this issue. :) Funny that.

    If I was wrong on my position, what kinds of negative life consequences Should I expect? All I have observed and experienced has been positive a closer mor vital relationship with Christ, my wife and the Body of Christ.

  24. 4-28-2011

    Again, thanks for this discussion. I think this is very beneficial.

    Arthur,

    I didn’t mean to pull the discussion away from your site. But, thanks for taking part here!

    -Alan

  25. 4-28-2011

    Yeah, seriously Alan. I have like two comments on my actual post, you have 24 on a post linking to my post. What is up with that?

  26. 4-28-2011

    Arthur,

    Maybe people are waiting to read your series.

    -Alan

  27. 4-29-2011

    Hutch

    I can’t speak to your relationship with your wife but I have no doubt that it is a praiseworthy marriage. What I have observed in the church is that as we blur or abandon the functions and callings that God has given men and women, women end up taking on more and more responsibilities that are abdicated by their husbands and that impedes their own calling as wives and mothers. I have found in my own relationship with my wife that embracing our differences and functioning as I believe the Bible calls us to has likewise brought my wife and I closer together and closer to Christ.

    Of course we would both agree that the standard is not “what works for me?” or “how this has benefitted my marriage?” but “What has God said?”.

  28. 4-29-2011

    Arthur,

    I’ve got a question. Let’s say that you and your wife must make a decision. You choose option A, but she prefers option B. Must she submit to your decision, or must your love for her cause you to change your decision?

    -Alan

  29. 5-2-2011

    Hi Arthur, I did visit your site and read all that you had posted at the time. My comment here wasn’t meant to be dismissive, but rather, observational. One can, in fact, make a very strong argument for polygamy using scripture. And yet most Christians in North America find that absurd (in parts of Africa, not so much). I think patriarchy is highly cultural (much like polygamy), and unreflective of the nature and character of Jesus. But, even there, we may have divergent understandings of the nature of Jesus, which is quite alright. I fellowship with patriarchal believers in our simple church, and this difference has no bearing on our relationship or my love for them (and I think the same is true of them toward my husband and I). My husband is a passionate egalitarian for the reason Esther mentioned above: our sinful desire for power and esteem causes problems. Hierarchies cause problems, whether women are trying to be at the top of them or men are – either is problematic.

    I will try to comment on your posts, but I can’t make any promises as I’ve currently got a nursing newborn, and don’t know how many blogs I can add to the list of those I engage. I will read though, and when I read your intro, I did think to myself “you’ve got to hand it ti him fir being willing to discuss his principles and open himself up for critical feedback.” I respect that. :)

  30. 5-2-2011

    Arthur-

    You asked: Of course we would both agree that the standard is not what works for me? or how this has benefitted my marriage? but What has God said?

    Yes, what God has said in His written word and through Christ the Living Word and obedience to that is the standard as I have stated in my comments on this thread:

    Like this:

    I think the term Biblical Patriarchy is an oxymoron and is without the support of a single verse of scripture properly interpreted in context.

    And this:

    Exactly. Since we both have come to a different conclusion in good faith with the goal of being obedient to God and his written word, by default we both understand the other to be wrong.

    If I havev not been clear, I am confident that I have arrived at my position from a faithful interpretation of the scriptures.

    BTW: I don’t think this would result from being disobedient to Christ:

    All I have observed and experienced has been positive a closer more vital relationship with Christ, my wife and the Body of Christ.