The young woman pictured above is Madison, otherwise known as @thereservedwife. I came across a video she did on Tik Tok and it was awesome! She talked about how she just loves to do all the cooking and cleaning in her home. She also talked about how feminists by the hundreds come on her videos telling her how she is “wasting her life” and “setting women back decades”. And I love how at the end of the video she tells her feminist detractors that she was engaged at 18, married at 19, pregnant at 20 and gave birth to her first child at 21. And then to really stick it to her feminist detractors, she adds that she is pregnant with her second child and barefoot in the kitchen.
I also looked up another video where she talked about her background a bit and she mentioned that she did not go to college, had no plans to go to college, because it would have saddled her future husband with debt and would have been a waste of time because she would not be using it as a stay-at-home mom.
In many ways this woman sounds just like my 19 year old daughter who just graduated from high school. I showed her Madison’s video and she was very encouraged and blessed by it as she has been by so many other young Christian SAHMs who are now taking a stand for God in this way.
SAHMs like Madison are a grave threat to feminism. Why? Not just because she is a SAHM, but because she is SAHM by conviction. She was not forced to be a SAHM, she chose the life and actually promotes the lifestyle to other women. Not only is she an SAHM, but she also believes patriarchy is good thing.
Feminists can easily dismiss men teaching about the need for women to return to their traditional place in the home as a “self-serving” exercise. But they cannot dismiss the myriads of young women who are now choosing the SAHM lifestyle and those who have very happy and fulfilling lives as a result. And that is why godly women like Madison who are Bible believing SAHMs and support patriarchy are such a threat to our post feminist culture.
Below is an excerpt from a comment that I recently received from a woman calling herself Elyse.
“I work full time, have two young kids so I totally get the “I’m so tired” shtick. But hear me out. I’ve recently decided to conscientiously submit to my husband better in all of life and that includes sexually. I let him know that I’m ready to submit to him in all ways including the bed and that my body is his. Surprisingly, this has had an amazing impact on our marriage as a whole…”
To read the rest of her story as well as my take on it and my challenge to Christian wives see my full article on BiblicalSexology.com.
In Hebrew and Greek, the original languages of the Bible, there is no word for husband. Instead, the Bible uses two words to refer to husbands and these words can refer to men that are not husbands as well.
In the Hebrew of the Old Testament husbands are often referred to as “ish” which means “a male human being” and the New Testament also uses the Greek equivalent word for male which is “aner” to refer to husbands. In other words, one of the ways to refer to a woman’s husband in ancient times was simply to refer to him as “her man”.
The second word which the Bible uses to refer to a woman’s husband is very offensive to modern ears. The Hebrew word “baal” is used 15 times in the Old Testament to refer to a woman’s husband. The Hebrew word “baal” means “master/owner”. There is also an adverb use of “baal” which means “owned”. The word is used to refer to masters, home owners, a pagan deity and to husbands.
The following passage from the book of Exodus illustrates the use of baal where it is not a referring to a woman’s husband.
“7 If a man shall deliver unto his neighbour money or stuff to keep, and it be stolen out of the man’s house; if the thief be found, let him pay double.8 If the thief be not found, then the master [BAAL] of the house shall be brought unto the judges, to see whether he have put his hand unto his neighbour’s goods.
9 For all manner of trespass, whether it be for ox, for ass, for sheep, for raiment, or for any manner of lost thing which another challengeth to be his, the cause of both parties shall come before the judges; and whom the judges shall condemn, he shall pay double unto his neighbour.
10 If a man deliver unto his neighbour an ass, or an ox, or a sheep, or any beast, to keep; and it die, or be hurt, or driven away, no man seeing it:11 Then shall an oath of the Lord be between them both, that he hath not put his hand unto his neighbour’s goods; and the owner [BAAL] of it shall accept thereof, and he shall not make it good.
12 And if it be stolen from him, he shall make restitution unto the owner [BAAL] thereof.”
Exodus 22:7-12 (KJV)
Notice in the passage above that baal is translated as “master” in verse 8, then as “owner” in verses 11 and 12. The reason for this that baal in the context of a house meant the head of household or literally the master of the house. But in the context of goods being held or exchanged, baal referred to the owner of the goods.
Now let’s look at the following passage refers to a husband’s mastery and ownership over his wife:
“If a man be found lying with a woman married [BAAL used as verb] to an husband [BAAL used as noun], then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.
Deuteronomy 22:22 (KJV)
The phrase “a woman married to an husband” is most literally translated from the Hebrew as “a woman owned by an owner”.
In the Proverbs 31 regarding the virtuous wife, the Bible refers to her husband not as her “ish” (her man), but rather as her “baal” (her master):
“10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband [BAAL – master] doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil…
23 Her husband [BAAL – master] is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land…
28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband [BAAL – master] also, and he praiseth her.“
Some Christians, unwilling to accept the Biblical teaching that a husband is the master and owner of his wife, have tried to claim that since “ish”(meaning man) is used more often than “baal” to refer to a woman’s husband that this is how God wants a wife to see her husband, as her man and not as her master. These Christian’s see a husband’s mastery over his wife as a result of sin and something God only temporarily allowed.
Some have even tried to point to the following Old Testament passage to say God’s preference is for women to see their husbands as their “man” and not “master”:
“And it shall be at that day, saith the Lord, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali.”
Hosea 2:16 (KJV)
In the passage above God was not giving up his mastery over his wife, Israel. But rather he saying he wanted her to see him as BOTH her man and her master. Ishi was the tender and affectionate way that women sometimes referred to their husbands. In essence, God wanted his wife Israel to say to him “You are not just my master, but you are my man”.
The passage below from the New Testament, settles once and for all whether or not a husband’s mastery over his wife was a result of sin or his design from the beginning of creation:
“For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord [Greek KURIOS – “master”]: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.”
1 Peter 3:5-6 (KJV)
The fact that the Apostle Peter commands women, Christian women, to follow the examples of Old Testament women like Sarah who called their husband’s “lord” (master) confirms for us that a husband’s mastery over his wife was God’s design from the very beginning of creation.
How Masters of Wives Became Husbands
Many centuries after the New Testament was finished, English, like other languages came up with a new word to refer specifically to the master and owner of a wife. Originally husband meant “master of the house”. So the early English translations of the Bible translated “baal” as “husband” instead of master as they believed it helped refer to a specific kind of master, the master of a wife.
In no way was the translation of a master of a wife as “husband” meant to weaken a man’s authority over his wife. English common law, following Biblical law, recognized a husband’s full ownership over his wife and children. When it came to his wife, a man could override any of his wife’s decisions and had complete control over her life, again in keeping with Biblical law (see Numbers 30, Ephesians 5:22-24:).
American Society Rejects the Mastery of Husband Over His Wife
The term “master” in our American society is seen as a very negative term and evokes images of slave masters acting cruelly toward their slaves. But in the Bible, the term master was not automatically associated with slavery or cruelty. It recognizes that there were just slave masters and cruel slave masters.
The Bible also recognizes a concept that we as 21st century Americans cannot understand. That to be owned and master by someone does not automatically make you a slave. In other words, while a husband is his wife’s master, meaning that he does own her and control her life, that does not make her his slave.
The Bible shows that husbands as masters of their wives have far greater responsibilities toward their wives than masters of slaves. In Ephesians 5:25-29, the Bible commands that husbands are to be willing to give their lives to protect their wives, they are to lead, teach, provide for and care for their wives as Christ does his church.
The Bible is clear that God wants Christian women to recognize their husband’s as more than their “life partners” or “friends” and even more than their leaders. God wants wives to recognize their husband’s as their earthly masters who have full control over their lives.
Full acceptance of the Biblical teaching of a husband’s mastery over his wife requires both a Christian husband and a Christian wife to reject the belief in the full autonomy of women. This modern belief that women have the same rights and freedom as men is enshrined in our American laws. But these laws giving women the same rights and freedom as men are null and void in the eyes of God and we as Christian husbands and wives must consider these laws null and void as well if we are to have marriages that are faithful to God’s design.
It will require great courage for Christian men to reclaim their birthright and responsibility of mastery over their wives in this post feminist era. And it will require great humility on the part of Christian women to fully embrace their husband’s mastery over them.
Let us pray for a courageous generation of Christian men and a humble generation of Christian women to return our society back to God’s design for marriage.
I recently had a woman named Monica write me about 10 rules for sex that her husband gave her at the beginning their marriage. These rules are very good applications of what the Bible says about submission and sex in marriage. I asked how many years Monica and her husband have been married in a followup email and she responded that they have been married for 13 years. So ladies listen up. These rules have made for both a holy and happy marriage for Monica and her husband and they will for you as well if you follow them.
“Is it wrong for me to motivate my wife into having good sex with me using money? Am I treating my wife like a prostitute by doing this?” This was part of an email I received from a Christian husband going by the name of Luke.
But before I answer this question from a Biblical perspective, I want to show more of his email to add more context to this story.
I was hoping you could tell me if I am properly applying the principles, you teach based on the Bible on how to handle sexual refusal from your wife. My wife told me I was treating her like a prostitute because I decided to start crediting her spending account based on how often she has sex with me and I also give her bonuses for doing extra things like giving me oral sex and wearing lingerie.
Let me give you a little background to my story before I started rewarding my wife for good sex. My wife and I have been married for over 25 years and we have three wonderful children who as of this last year have all left the nest. We have attended the same Baptist church for over 30 years (that is where my wife and I met). I work in a high paying profession and this allowed my wife to care for our children and our home for all these years which I still thank the Lord for each day…”
To hear the rest of Luke’s story and see my answer to his question from a Biblical perspective click here to go to full article over on my blog dedicated exclusively to discussing the Biblical view of sex – BiblicalSexology.com.
“We are to live under a different system, where neither husband nor wife exerts power over the other. Our God was not a “servant leader” but an actual servant. The difference is huge.
Imagine a king who chooses to live among his subjects. He works with them, eats with them, and shares conversation with them. But he can’t be one of them, because he has power they don’t. He can change his life—or theirs—on a whim, and they can’t. He and his subjects can appear the same, but they can’t be the same as long as this power differential exists. The only way he can change this is to give up the crown. That’s what Jesus did. And that is what Paul calls husbands to do in Ephesians 5.”
This is what the Devil does. He takes some bit of truth and then twists it into a lie to fit his purposes. Is it true that Christ said leaders should serve those under their leadership? Absolutely. But he did not teach or do the things that Egalitarians say he did in the statement above.
To expose this heresy that Egalitarians teach we will look at what Christ actually said and what he actually did in comparison to their assertions.
Christ’s Teaching and Example of Servant Leadership
In Mark 10:42-45 Christ made the following statement:
“But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
This is probably the greatest statement Christ gave on serving. But to fully understand Christ’s Words in Mark 10:42-45 we must contrast them with another statement he made to the Jewish leaders in Matthew 26:63-64:
“But Jesus held his peace, And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”
The Jewish leaders knew exactly what Jesus was alluding to when he said he would come on “the clouds of heaven”. This was a reference to what the prophet Daniel said in Daniel 7:13-14:
“I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”
In Jesus’s first coming, he did not yet come to establish his earthly kingdom, but instead he came to be the suffering servant. He came to do for us that which we could not do for ourselves. He came to pay for our sins and to purchase his church, his bride, with his blood (Acts 20:28).
But one day he will return to establish his earthly kingdom. And in that kingdom, he will compel all nations to serve him. And if they do not, they will be punished with drought and plagues as Zechariah 14:16-19 shows.
Christ Was Not Just a Servant, He Was a Servant Leader
The egalitarian assertion that Christ, “Our God was not a “servant leader” but an actual servant” is demonstrably false.
Jesus did NOT lay aside his crown or kingship, he was still king of heaven but he had not yet established his earthly kingdom as he stated in John 18:36:
“Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.“
When Christ drove the money lenders from the temple, that was an exercise of his authority and power in John 2:15-16:
"And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise."
Only a leader can issue commands to others, and that is what Christ did with his Apostles in Mark 6:7-8:
“And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits; And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse”
Christ “commanded” his twelve disciples and only a leader can do that. He gave them power over unclean spirits and once again only a person with power can give power.
Christ spoke as “one having authority” as the people saw in Matthew 7:28-29:
“And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.”
He gave a great commission in which he first asserted his power then gave the following commands to his Apostles in Matthew 28:18-20:
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
No, my egalitarian friends – our God, Jesus Christ, was not just a servant, he was indeed the ultimate servant leader!
Christ Was Correcting Earthly Authority, Not Abolishing It
Christ made the following decree through his Apostle Paul in Romans 13:1-7:
“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.”
And in Hebrews 13:7 Christ made the following statement through the writer of Hebrews regarding obedience to church authorities:
“Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.”
In 1 Peter 3:1-2 & 5-6 Christ tells wives through his Apostle Peter:
“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear…For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.”
And in Ephesians 6:1 Christ tells children through his Apostle Paul:
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.”
So, as we can see from the passages above, Christ was not abolishing human authority or saying it was wrong for human authorities to exercise their power over those under their leadership. But rather, he was showing us how human authorities at all levels should conduct themselves. He was showing us the difference between good and bad leadership. The difference between a selfish leader and a servant leader.
Selfish leaders only think of themselves and not the good of those whom they lead. A Christ-like servant leader thinks of the good his people. He is willing to step in and do any job when his people cannot do it for themselves even to the point of giving his life for his people as Christ did. But as we can see from the fuller picture of Christ’s leadership, a servant leader still compels the obedience and service of those under his authority.
Servant Leaders Compel Their People to Fulfill Their Mission
Christ had a mission, and so does every leader. Civil leaders have the mission of protecting the rights of the people by punishing evil doers and praising those who do well. Church leaders have the mission of spreading the Gospel, discipling believers and disciplining those who bring shame on the church by their public sins.
And husbands have the greatest mission of all earthly authorities. This mission is seen in 1 Corinthians 11:7:
“For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.”
A man’s life mission is to live out the very attributes of the masculine God which we serve and thereby bring God glory. A part of his mission is for him to image God as a father to his children in teaching them, disciplining them and preparing them for the roles which God has given them in this life.
One of the most crucial aspect of a man’s mission is his leadership of his wife. This leadership is to imitate God’s leadership of his people. The requirements of this part of man’s mission are seen in Ephesians 5:25-29:
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church”
Men have the awesome responsibility of washing their wives’ spiritual spots and wrinkles with the Word of God, just as Christ does his church. The purpose of this washing is to help a wife to reach her full potential as a wife, to be the glorious wife God wants her to be.
And what does it mean to be a glorious wife? That is also revealed in this same chapter of Ephesians in verses 22-24 and 33.
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing…Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”
A glorious wife according to these Scriptures is one who submits to her husband as she would to God with the exception of if her husband asks her to do something which violates God’s law (Acts 5:29). A glorious wife submits to her husband in everything, not just things she is comfortable with or feels like doing. And a glorious wife reverences her husband with a deep and profound respect.
It is not a coincidence that there are two things’ men desire most from their women – submission and respect. Because this desire in men directly represents the image of God in man.
Another part of a man’s washing of his wife requires that he also follow Christ’s example with his churches in Revelation 3:19 where said “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” So, a man washes his wife with the Word of God and he rebukes and chastens her all to bring her to the point of being the glorious wife she should be.
In addition to his responsibility to wash, rebuke and discipline his wife he also has the responsibility to nourish (provide for) and cherish (protect) his wife as he would his own body.
All of these acts together constitute a man’s service and his love toward his wife. His leadership of her is his service to her. His teaching her the Word of God and washing her spiritual flaws to make her a better a wife is his service to her. His discipline of her is his service to her. His provision for her material needs and his protection of her to the point that he would be willing to give his life for hers is his service to her.
A Wife’s Service to Her Husband Looks Very Different Than His Service to Her
While it is absolutely Biblically true that a husband and wife ought to serve one another, this does not mean that their service looks the same. In fact, the way they should serve one another looks very different according to the Bible.
God has called wives to serve their husbands by bearing and caring for their children. In 1 Timothy 5:14 the Bible calls on women to “bear children” and in Titus 2:4 the Bible calls on women to love and care for their children.
God has called wives to serve their husbands by managing the domestic affairs of the home. In 1 Timothy 5:14 the Bible calls on women to “guide” the domestic affairs of the home and in Titus 2:5 it tells women to be “keepers at home”.
God has called wives to serve their husbands by freely and willingly offering their bodies to their husbands for their sexual use and satisfaction. In Romans 1:27 the Bible calls sex “the natural use of the woman” and in Proverbs 5:19 it commands men to “satisfy” themselves with their wife’s body.
God has called wives to serve their husbands by bringing them glory. In Proverbs 12:4 the Bible says that a “A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband” and in 1 Corinthians 11:7 we read that “the woman is glory of the man”. A woman brings her husband glory by serving him faithfully in submitting to his leadership, in her mothering of his children, in her keeping of his home and in her satisfying his sexual desires with her body. She brings him glory with both her inward beauty and her outward beauty.
Egalitarianism is nothing less than complete rebellion against God’s establishment of patriarchy, male headship, in all areas of society including the family, the church and civil government. The lack of male leadership in any of these spheres leads to chaos and destruction. God spoke about this in Isaiah 3:12 when he said “As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths”. And this is what we are witnessing today in our equality obsessed western nations.
Jesus Christ never gave up his heavenly kingship when he came to earth. But rather he asserted it many times while he was here in his earthly ministry. He was not just a servant, but truly he was a servant leader.
Christ taught us that a servant leader does not use his leadership only to fulfill his own desires. But rather he works with and helps the people under his leadership to work together to fulfill the mission he has been given or that he has set for himself. He develops the people under his leadership and seeks to help them reach their full potential. He steps in wherever help is needed and sacrifices himself for his people, but he also pushes his people to do what they ought to do and disciplines those under his authority to help them to do what they ought to be doing.
The truth we find in the Bible is that while God has called husbands and wives to serve one another, he has called them to serve one another in very different ways. The husband serves his wife as her head, while she serves him as his helper. He uses his headship to make her the most glorious wife she can be by God’s standards, and she helps him by bringing glory to him in all that she says and does.
Yesterday I went to run an errand on my lunch break and turned on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show as was my normal habit. He has had people filling in for him as he has battled lung cancer over the last year so I did not expect to hear him. But as the show started I heard a woman’s voice and I figured out right away it was his wife and that Rush had passed away.
I never met the man, but I felt like I knew him on a personal level as he had shared his life’s struggles for over 30 years on the radio. I knew he did not have long, but like everyone else, I just wanted to hear him one more time on the radio.
I started listening to Rush right after high school in the early 90s. He really spoke for me and millions of Americans. He said what we all wanted to say and gave conservatives a voice. He was a warrior against the evils of feminism, socialism, globalism and radical environmentalism. He was staunchly pro-life, pro-second amendment and pro-freedom of speech. He loved God and he was a generous man.
He paved the way for talk radio and then eventually conservative TV like Fox News, New Max and One America. And it was not just the media that he changed. He helped change the political landscape ushering in the conservative revolution that started in the 90s.
I have just published a 7 part podcast series on Red Pill to BGRLearning.com. This is based upon my earlier 7 part series I wrote here on Biblicalgenderroles.com. I had a lot of feedback from readers about it and interest in me doing a podcast version of it so here it is!
You can click here to go to BGRLearning.com to subscribe and listen to this series and many other series as well.
Complementarianism is a counterfeit doctrine, an unbiblical compromise between the false doctrine of egalitarianism and the true doctrine of Biblical patriarchy. The sad truth is that in many ways’ complementarianism is more dangerous than egalitarianism, because complementarianism proports to uphold the biblical doctrines of male headship and woman’s submission where egalitarianism unequivocally denies these doctrines.
You have to look very close at the teachings of complementarianism and biblical patriarchy, like two bills, to really see the differences between the two teachings.
Origins of Complementarianism
Complementarianism was started as a reaction to the false teachings of egalitarianism. The term “Complementarian” was coined by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) in 1988.
According to John Piper, who was one of the council’s founding members, complementarianism was born out of an effort to address the error of “the negation of gender differences” by egalitarians.
Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE), an egalitarian organization, lists these egalitarian principles on their website:
“We believe that women and men are equally created in God’s image and given equal authority and stewardship of God’s creation.
Patriarchy (male dominance) is not a biblical ideal but a result of sin.
Patriarchy is an abuse of power, taking from females what God has given them: their dignity, and freedom, their leadership, and often their very lives.
While the Bible reflects patriarchal culture, the Bible does not teach patriarchy in human relationships.
Christ’s redemptive work frees all people from patriarchy, calling women and men to share authority equally in service and leadership.
The unrestricted use of women’s gifts is integral to the work of the Holy Spirit and essential for the advancement of the gospel in the world.
Followers of Christ are to oppose injustice and patriarchal teachings and practices that marginalize and abuse females and males.”
So, as you can clearly see from the list of egalitarian doctrines above, egalitarianism was an all-out assault on the biblical practice and doctrines of patriarchy. Christian egalitarianism was simply a rebranding of feminism for Christian consumption.
While the CBE helped to organize and codify their doctrines in the late 80’s, these doctrines had already been spreading within churches long before that time and this is what prompted the formation of the CBMW.
The CBMW issued the famous “Danvers Statement” in 1987 which included the following key statements below in response to egalitarianism:
“Distinctions in masculine and feminine roles are ordained by God as part of the created order, and should find an echo in every human heart (Gen 2:18, 21-24; 1 Cor 11:7-9; 1 Tim 2:12-14).
Adam’s headship in marriage was established by God before the Fall, and was not a result of sin (Gen 2:16-18, 21-24, 3:1-13; 1 Cor 11:7-9).
The Fall introduced distortions into the relationships between men and women (Gen 3:1-7, 12, 16).
In the home, the husband’s loving, humble headship tends to be replaced by domination or passivity; the wife’s intelligent, willing submission tends to be replaced by usurpation or servility.
In the church, sin inclines men toward a worldly love of power or an abdication of spiritual responsibility, and inclines women to resist limitations on their roles or to neglect the use of their gifts in appropriate ministries.”
So, if you look at the two statements above, it is very easy to see two primary differences between egalitarianism and complementarianism.
Egalitarianism completely denies the biblical concept of gender roles, while complementarianism appears to affirm it.
Egalitarianism completely denies the biblical concept of male headship while complementarianism appears to affirm it.
But while complementarianism proports to be the genuine article when it comes to the biblical view of gender roles, upon closer examination we will find that complementarianism is actually a counterfeit doctrine of biblical gender roles.
The Complementarian Abandonment of Patriarchy
Egalitarianism was not the only reason complementarianism was formed. In an article entitled “God Created Man Male and Female – What Does It Mean to Be Complementarian?”, John Piper explains that complementarianism was designed to take the “middle ground” between what he and other Christian leaders saw as “two kinds of errors” in the churches. The first error which we have already addressed was egalitarianism.
But then there was a second error that complementarianism was designed to address. And that error, from their point of view, was male domination of women in society, the church and the home. They believed the terms “traditional” and “patriarchy” were linked with male domination and “the history of abuses of women personally and systemically”. And it was because of this, that the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood decided that a new term must be coined to replace “traditional” and “patriarchy” in regard to the discussion of gender roles. So, they coined the term “complementarian”.
Complementarians Limit Male Headship to the Home and the Church
If you look closely at the Danvers Statement from the CBMW, you will notice that they only speak of “headship” in the home and “limitations” on women’s roles in the church. In other words, the Danvers Statement only recognizes male headship in the spheres of the home and the church but it does not recognize male headship in society.
“My convictions about the implications of manhood and womanhood for political life are nuanced and rooted in Scripture. They are also complex and controversial. So they don’t fit blogs well. But I’ll try. The gist is this:
I think that the Bible summons men to bear the burden of primary leadership, provision, and protection in the home (Ephesians 5:21–33) and in the church (1 Timothy 2:8–15). Add to this that these texts (and others, like Genesis 1–3) build their case not on the basis of culture (which changes) but on the basis of God’s design in creation (which does not change).
Therefore, I am not able to say that God only speaks to the role of men and women in home and church. If our roles are rooted in the way God created us as male and female, then these differences shape the way we live everywhere and all the time…
These and other teachings in Scripture incline me to believe that manhood and womanhood are not mere social constructs. They are rooted in God’s design for creation. They are meant to shape culture, not merely be shaped by culture…
And I certainly do not think all of my conclusions should be codified in law. It should not be illegal, in this fallen age, for a woman to be President of the United States. Christ does not implement his revealed will in this age with guns and fines. But all human government (rightly) enforces its laws with guns and fines. So law is not the way to deal with this issue. Christians should not crusade in this fallen age to pass laws to forbid women from the Presidency.”
As you can see from the statement above, complementarians while holding strong to the fact that male headship is God’s design for the home and the church, tend to get a lot more wishy-washy about male headship outside the home and the church.
Look at the way Piper couches his language as if he is sorry that it appears that God’s design might prohibit a woman from becoming President or Vice President. But then of course he quickly states that he does not believe God’s design of gender roles should be “codified in law”.
Complementarians Dismiss Patriarchy as a Cultural Rather than Biblical Concept
In the Numbers 30:3-5 we read the following:
Complementarians deny God’s design of the social classes of men, women and children and instead embrace the false humanist social classes of “adult” and “minor” that were invented by John Locke in the 17th century. They believe that once young women reach adulthood, they have the same autonomy as men to determine the course of their lives and that fathers have no right to override the decisions of their daughters once they reach the social class of “adult”.
Complementarians dismiss Numbers chapter 30 and its prescriptions regarding Patriarchal order with fathers being able to override their daughter’s life decisions and husbands being able to override their wife’s life decisions. They see the commands of Numbers 30 as well as other examples of Patriarchal order in the Old Testament as temporary and “cultural” and only specifically apply to the theocracy of Israel.
Complementarians Fail to See the Moral Law of God in the Civil Laws of Israel
Exodus 22:16-17 provides a good example of the blindness of complementarians to the moral law of God found in the civil laws of Israel.
Complementarians deny that the right given to a father in Exodus 22:16-17 to allow or refuse his daughter’s hand in marriage to a man was lasting moral law, but rather they teach that it was temporary civil law which was done away with in the New Covenant.
The reason their interpretation of this passage is flawed is because they fail to see that many civil laws in Israel also contained the moral law of God. In other words, many civil laws of Israel handled the punishment or reparations to be made for violating God’s moral law.
Below is a breakdown of the moral law and then civil reparations to be made for breaking God’s moral law in Exodus 22:16-17:
God’s Moral Law: “And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her”
God’s Civil Reparation for the theocracy of Israel: “he shall surely endow her to be his wife”
God’s Moral Law: “If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him”
God’s Civil Reparation for the theocracy of Israel: “he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins”
So, if we separate the moral law from the civil reparation for breaking that moral law, we can see there are two moral laws presented by God in Exodus 22:16-17.
The first moral law presented is that God does not allow sex outside of the covenant of marriage.
The second moral law we see in Exodus 22:16-17 is that of a father’s right to allow or refuse his daughter’s hand in marriage. When a man and woman have premarital sex, they have both sinned not just against God, but also against the woman’s father. The woman has sinned against her father by giving away that which was not hers to give and the man as well has sinned against her father by taking that which was not his to take.
Complementarians Teach That Male Domination Was A Result of the Fall
Complementarians actually agree with Egalitarians in their belief that male domination was a result of the fall. In his article “Manhood and Womanhood: Conflict and Confusion After the Fall” , John Piper wrote “And when sin has the upper hand in man, he will respond in like manner and with his strength subdue her, or rule over her”. And in another article entitled “Lionhearted and Lamblike: The Christian Husband as Head, Part 1“, Piper stated that a husband’s “headship is not a right to control” and a wife’s submission to her husband should not be “coerced” but that it must only be submission that is “free and willing”.
Complementarians and egalitarians say that the word “shall” in the phrase “he shall rule over thee” is not God’s command for husbands to rule over their wives, but rather God predicting that sin would cause men to dominate their wives.
But the complementarian position fails to take into account God’s command to Cain in Genesis 4:7:
The parallels between Genesis 3:16 and Genesis 4:7 cannot be denied. In both instances God commands that the person should rule over the other person who is trying to control them. In the case of Cain, God personifies his sin nature as a man that is trying to control Cain. But God commands that Cain should rule over that man. And in the same way God says in Genesis 3:16 because of the corruption sin wives would try to control their husbands, but that husbands must rule over their wives.
Complementarianism Teaches a Limited form of Submission for Women
“submission is not slavish or coerced or cowering. That’s not the way Christ wants the church to respond to his leadership and protection and provision. He wants the submission of the church to be free and willing and glad and refining and strengthening”
Piper uses three key words which he says are the opposite of Biblical submission and those are “slavish”, “coerced” and “cowering”. So, let’s look at each one.
Biblically speaking, wives and slaves are both owned by masters (Exodus 20:17, Deuteronomy 22:22, 1 Peter 3:6). Both slaves and wives are told to obey their masters in everything except if they are told to sin (Ephesians 5:24). Wives are told that their bodies are for their husband’s sexual satisfaction and use (Proverbs 5:18-19, Romans 1:27). A wife’s submission to her husband is to be even greater than that of slave to their master because her husband has the right to the sexual use of her body for his satisfaction.
So, if a wife’s submission to her husband as her master is to be greater than that of the typical master/slave relationship what is the difference between a wife and slave? The answer is found in the Biblical requirements for husbands in regard to the treatment of their wives.
A husband is required to love his wife as his own body, and to provide for her needs as he would his own body (Ephesians 5:28-29). He is to be willing to lay down his life to save his wife (Ephesians 5::25). A husband is responsible for the spiritual discipline and teaching of his wife. A husband is required to give his wife sexual access to his body (1 Corinthians 7:3-5). A husband is required to allow his wife to enjoy the fruit of her labors (Proverbs 31:31). None of these things were required of masters toward their slaves.
The Danvers Statement says a woman’s submission is not about “servility” and Piper said in the statement we are examining now that is not “slavish”. And both of those statements are completely wrong. Biblically speaking a wife’s submission to her husband is to surpass “slavish” or “servile” submission because unlike slaves, God has created wives to serve their husbands with their lives (1 Corinthians 11:9).
A Wife’s Submission Can Be in Response to Coercion
Piper’s assertion that a woman’s submission is to not come as a result of coercion from her husband is directly refuted by Christ’s statement to his churches in Revelation 3:19:
While it is true that Christ wants his church to freely submit to him, the fact is that Christ will receive submission from his church based on him using coercive means just as God used coercive means with his wife Israel to compel her submission.
And since we know that a husband is to model his love for his wife off Christ’s love for his church and that the wife is to model her submission toward her husband off the church’s submission to Christ – we can rightly say that complementarianism again is absolutely wrong on this. A wife’s submission can Biblically be coerced from her husband.
A Wife’s Submission is to be Cowering
Piper’s assertion that a wife’s submission does not involve cowering is again directly refuted by the Bible in 1 Peter 3:1-2:
Women should absolutely fear their husbands in both the sense of showing reverence toward them and also fearing discipline if they disobey. Cowering is a Biblical aspect of a woman’s submission to her husband.
No one would argue that there were not abuses committed against women both by individual husbands as well as systematically by various cultures. And even in post-feminist cultures like America today, some men still abuse their wives. But that does not mean we throw out the baby with the bathwater. We can as Bible believing Christians uphold God’s order of patriarchy and at the same time call out the abuses of patriarchy where they occur both at the individual family level as well as the larger cultural systematic level.
In regard to the term “traditional” as it relates to gender roles. We can uphold traditional and cultural values that do not conflict with the Word of God and especially those which match with the Bible and at the same time set aside some traditional values our culture may have that conflict with the Word of God.
Hebrews 9:1-10 shows us that only the civil prescriptions for punishments or reparations for breaking God’s moral law as well as the ceremonial laws are set aside in the New Covenant. But the moral law of God remains. That means we are still under the moral law found in both the Old and New Testaments.
And contrary to what complementarians and egalitarians teach, it is not a sin for a husband to dominate (rule over, control) his wife, but rather it is a sin for him NOT to dominate his wife.
In the complementarian view, a husband may only lead his wife by example or suggestions to her, but he may never lead her by commanding her or seeking to control her through coercive methods. And it is precisely because of the denial that male domination of woman is God’s command, that complementarianism teaches a hollow and weak form of male headship and female submission in the home.
When it comes to the doctrines of the Bible concerning gender roles, there is no “middle ground” and no room for compromise with egalitarianism. Complementarianism is a counterfeit doctrine of male headship and female submission.
Yesterday, on his nationally syndicated radio show, Rush Limbaugh said “I actually think that we’re trending toward secession… There cannot be a peaceful coexistence of two completely different theories of life, theories of government, theories of how we manage our affairs. We can’t be in this dire a conflict without something giving somewhere along the way.”