Patriarchy is Biblical in society, not just the home and church

Open Bible, with textured granite background.

I was raised in mostly conservative Baptist complementarian churches. I even researched my complementarian views in my early 20’s (along with everything else I believed). I questioned many things, read many comparative religion books as well as writings on equal rights and feminism in particular.

I came to the conclusion that the complementarian teaching I had learned was not only Biblical, but logical as well. I believed and saw that science confirms that man and woman, though they are both human, are designed with different purposes in mind. I believed (and still believe) that freedom within the bounds of God’s laws and commands makes for the best society. God’s designed society with order. Headship in marriage and in the church gives society that order.

I believed the best place for a woman was to be in the home, but I did not believe it was wrong for a woman to pursue an education and then a career. I did not believe it was wrong for a woman to be in leadership positions of business, politics or other places of society.

That was almost 20 years ago for me (as of the time of my writing this paper). What I did not realize is that I like most Complementarians had left some big questions unanswered.

  1. How can a woman pursue an education and a career without neglecting her first duty to her husband, her children and her home?
  2. How can a woman be in a position of authority over men, even in society? She can never be her husband’s authority, he is always her authority, Biblically speaking. She can never be her father’s authority either.   So for instance if a woman were to become mayor of the city she and her husband(or father) lived in, or governor of the state, they lived in, or President of the country they lived in – she would in essence be in authority over her husband – how could this be right or acceptable?

Then I came to realize that the complementarian views I had been raised with came about to soften the Bible’s teaching on the headship of man in society as feminism in American took root and these teachings became unpopular.

I realized that the complementarian beliefs that limit male headship to only the home and church were inconsistent with the Scriptures. God did not limit man’s authority over woman to only the church or the home, he meant for it to be present in the home, the church and society at large.

It is clear that God has designed a consistent pattern of authority to be followed in this world:

God the father is the authority of God the Son

God the Son is the authority of man

Man is the authority of woman

This does not change in this world. When God creates a new heaven and new earth, then this authority structure may be altered, but for now it remains.

I will talk on female prophets in another article but I will simply say this for now. A prophet does not always carry the same authority over others, sometimes they do, and sometimes they don’t. Deborah did not want to be in any authority position over men, they asked her to go with them into battle because they lacked the courage God expected of them. She even said to their shame that God would give their enemies into the hands of a woman. Deborah did not sit at the gates of the cities or go into the cities exercising authority over the people, the people simply came to her for advice as she sat under a tree outside the city gates.

Never once do we see Deborah defying her husband or taking authority over him. Never once do we hear Deborah crying for women to have equal rights with their husbands, or to be given more positions of authority in their society.

4 thoughts on “Patriarchy is Biblical in society, not just the home and church

  1. Jesus praised the Queen of Sheba – twice. And the Ehiopian eunuch was an employee of the Queen. Philip never told him that working for a female ruler was such an indignity that he needed to quit his job. In any case, God has not given you any authority over other men’s wives to tell them what role they can or can’t have outside the home.

  2. Nicoletta,

    You are correct that Jesus praised the Queen of Sheba’s faith in the God of Israel. His point was that she, a non-Israelite, had more faith than many of the Israelites. This in no way meant that condoned everything about her culture, or allowing women to rule over men. What evidence do you have that Ethiopia still had a female Queen in Jesus’s day? The Queen of the South he was referring to was the historic Queen of Sheba who came to meet Solomon and learn of Israel’s ways, he was not refering to the current leadership of Ethiopia.

    And even if theoretically, Ethiopia was again ruled by a female queen during Philips time, it would not be a sin for the Ethiopian eunuch to be working for her, anymore than it would be a sin for someone to work in a Hillary Clinton administration if she were to become president, or even when she was Secretary of State. We cannot control what our government and society do, we can only preach the principles and teachings of the word of God.

    We live in a world full of unbelievers and many believers who reject God’s teachings on how he designed men and women, and the roles which he gave to each gender. We are responsible for two things, abide by those teachings ourselves, to proclaim the Word of God to in all areas to other Christians and non-Christians and we then let them decide if they will accept or reject God’s Word.

    You are right I don’t have authority over other men’s wives, but God does. He commands us to preach his Word, and the entire counsel of God in season and out season, when it is popular with the culture, and especially when it is NOT popular with the current culture.

    So you can take passages where Jesus praised the Queen of Sheba’s faith in the God of Israel(not her political role), and then try to ignore all the Scriptures that show God created woman for man, that man is the head of woman, the husband is the head of the wife, and that throughout history God never asked a prophet to anoint a woman as King over Israel, or you can accept God’s teachings on the role of men and women as he designed them to be. The choice is yours.

  3. I think I’ve found a conundrum for you; if your wife or daughter needs a breast exam or Pap smear, do you want a male or female practitioner? If a male, you are letting another man see her nude, if female, you utilizing the services of a college-educated career woman.

  4. No conundrum. There is no sin another man seeing my daughter nude, there is only sin if my daughter has sex with a man without being married to him. There is no sin in using a female doctor either, if there is sin, the sin is on her part. There is no sin in a woman being college-educated, the sin comes in if her college-education usurps her first responsibility to marry, bare children and guide the house. Many stay at home moms take college courses on line and get degrees in the comfort of their own home. After their children are grown and she no longer has such demanding responsibilities in the home she might use that education outside the home in some other interests, as long as she does not neglect her home and her husband.

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