What’s Wrong with the “Biblical Patriarchy” movement?

While I’m at it, Rachel Miller has another great post on her blog (an older one), again dealing with a reactionary stance gaining traction among Christians as a result of feminism and cultural decay. Here she shows that what passes among some conservative Christians as a defense of biblical gender roles is just as influenced by cultural trends (in this case older, more traditionalist ones) as is egalitarianism. What I particularly like is her demonstration that authoritarianism is not Christian headship, and that the suggestion that women are intellectually or mentally inferior (and so need to be directed) is contrary to the equality that men and women hold in Christ. As Miller illustrates her point,

The question was raised by a young husband and father: should a husband tell his wife how to vote? I was floored by the question, not so much by the topic itself, but by the underlying assumptions. A wife is assumed to need direction in how to vote. She’s assumed to be rebellious in her choices. She’s assumed to have inferior abilities. Her husband is assumed to have an authority that includes directing her even in this matter.

My thought was that if a wife is voting for a morally bad candidate and can’t be trusted to make a wise and godly choice, there are much bigger problems in the marriage than whether or not her husband has the right to dictate her voting choices.

According to my understanding of Complementarianism, a husband and wife will discuss and make decisions together. A husband will appreciate the insight his wife can give him, and a wife will appreciate the insight her husband can give her. This is the Biblical picture of help-meets.

A wife is called to submit to her husband as the church is to Christ, but it is equally important to emphasize that a husband is called to serve and lay down his life for his wife as did Christ for the church. The gentiles lord it over one another, but the Christian model of leadership is service. You should go and read Miller’s whole post.

About Matthew J. Tuininga

Matthew J. Tuininga is the Assistant Professor of Moral Theology at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Posted on July 30, 2012, in Marriage, women and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on What’s Wrong with the “Biblical Patriarchy” movement?.

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