Despite the near-universal confidence that conservative evangelicals have in it, complementarianism is not a firm and clear-headed articulation of the Bible’s teaching on sexuality as accepted throughout the history of the church. It is a limp-wristed defensive effort to preserve some traditional exceptions to androgyny on the basis of piecemeal exegetical arguments, while jettisoning the embarrassing telos that supports them.
Here we canvass the circumstances and ideologies that fueled the culture wars, and keep them burning.
Contrary to hypocritical modern sensibilities, God’s penalty for certain sins is not brutish or draconian, but gracious and loving. By confusing softness and niceness with grace and love, we have produced a society in which mothers freely murder their children, and men shamelessly commit indecent acts with other men.
You can tell a lot about a leader by the people he surrounds himself with. In modern evangelicalism, there are three kinds of false teachers on biblical sexuality who can be known by their followers.
If Martin Luther were alive today, he would not be preaching sola fide. He would be preaching the father-rule of God, the creation order of Adam and then Eve, and the culturally-despised theology of sexuality which flows from these.
Feminism, egalitarianism, and even complementarianism are all simply new versions of androgynism—a doctrine at the heart of pagan religions, which images their denial of the creator/creature distinction.
Although the Bible does not specifically comment on women preaching in every setting, this is not because God is indifferent on the matter. Rather, it is because the shapes and patterns of Scripture and creation so strongly draw women away from this role, that no specific command should be necessary.
Because manhood is caught, not just taught, becoming a mature man requires a father. Hence, many young men today are “clueless bastards”—and even more so when they won’t take advantage of God’s provision of fatherhood through the church.
The evangelical hermeneutic that rejects any sexual doctrine which can’t be prooftexted in as many words is a kind of modern Pharisaicalism. It demands the letter of the Law, and so denies its spirit. It is driven by our modern Gnosticism: in downplaying the importance of embodied existence, we become unable to see the larger “shape” of theology beneath the Bible’s commands, and so we reduce sexual doctrine to the explicit propositions of Scripture.
Although servant leadership could be a biblical doctrine describing leadership as the service that men render, in reality it is a term used to convince men that servitude is in fact what leadership is.
Feminism hates the power hierarchy that God has built into creation. But we cannot restore that hierarchy by hating it ourselves—and we do hate it.
Marriage is the norm that God established for men and women from the beginning, so to normalize singleness is to normalize the abnormal. There is no “gift” of singleness; there is only the gift of celibacy or the curse of singleness. The counsel in 1 Corinthians 7 is given explicitly as special advice to suspend the normal way of life because of persecution—not as general instructions for the entire church age.
Comedy is a powerful tool of acculturation—and it is effective even if you know what it is doing. If you are conditioned to treat our culture’s wrecking of good things as amusing, how will you take it seriously, or remain sober-minded about the work of repair?
What you wear, the mannerisms you employ, the way you hold yourself—these are a form of expression. What does your bearing say about you?
To restore men’s confidence in what it means to be men, we need to work beyond individual performance and judgment. We must re-establish the kind of tacit cues that other cultures have taken for granted as shaping masculine (and feminine) expression.
Preteen boys and girls are getting the strong message of feminism, whether their parents are secular or Christian. This message calcifies the boys, and brassifies the girls. Both need the antidote of biblical instruction.
From the beginning, God established children as the natural fruit of marriage. Barrenness is a curse—so why would believers voluntarily bring it upon themselves?