Alistair Roberts has rightly observed that power which cannot assert itself, or directly challenge a contesting power, is merely second hand.
This is the difference between being empowered and being powerful. With the former, the power isn’t really yours: you’re just managing it for another party.
This is why we say that patriarchy is built into reality (perhaps our most hated observation among red pill Christians). Feminism has empowered women, but it has not made them powerful. Power comes from God, and is mediated to men. Hence we speak to men, not to women, about the changes that God’s law demands of us as a congregation, as a society.
It’s not that women don’t need to hear, believe, and submit; it’s that they don’t have the power mediated to them by God to make these changes by themselves.
But there’s another reason we speak to men, rather than women, and this has to do with the very hierarchy of power itself.
The existence of this hierarchy is why it is wrong for women to act like one of the bros, or to speak brazenly to men. It is why feminism itself is abominable to God (his words, not ours; cf. Dt 22:5). Its aim from the beginning has been to equalize the power differential that God built into creation, flattening out sexual distinctions into complete androgyny:
- First-wave feminism demanded that women have equal power in ruling society;
- Second-wave feminism demanded that women have equal power in the family and in commerce;
- Third-wave feminism demanded that women have equal power in every respect;
- Fourth-wave feminism demanded that women have power over men in every respect.
Feminism is therefore a fundamentally pagan enterprise. It presumes to reorder and redesign the creation pattern that God instituted, placing women over men—which is ultimately to place the creation over the creator. As we’ve warned, brazen women are bad news.
But this works both ways. The original “brazen one” appears in Genesis 3:3, and is a masculine character.
If it is wrong for a woman to subvert the power structure built into creation, it is equally wrong for a man to do so. We’re not talking about men placing themselves under women. That’s obvious. The kind of subversion that we see happening among those who claim to uphold patriarchy goes the other way: a random man on the internet presumes to rebuke a woman he has no natural authority over.
If you want women to respect God’s hierarchy, you have to respect it yourself. Exercising power requires you to be in the right place on the hierarchy. God delegates his power to husbands and fathers; not to anyone who wants it.
To presume to exercise fatherly power over a woman who is not your wife or daughter is to presume to reorder and redesign the creation pattern that God instituted, just as much as it is when a woman usurps authority over a man.
The same is true of presuming to exercise fatherly power over a man who is old enough to be your father.
This is possibly the most serious problem with the internet: by abstracting human relationships out from their natural, incarnational forms, it flattens and removes all those features so essential to these relationships as God instituted them. It turns into an e-gnosticism.
This is endemic in the Christian manosphere. We are only starting to realize the breadth of the problem, let alone figure out how to recover from it ourselves. We are a haughty generation who hate any authority that doesn’t rubberstamp us as captains of our souls.
We profess to long for a return to the God-given authority structure of creation, forgetting that if the internet were conformed to that authority structure, virtually none of us would be permitted to teach or exercise authority in the way we want, but would work quietly, submitted to our elders.
Are we against the gift of teaching being used and recognized? God forbid.
Are we against building up the next generation of fathers? God forbid.
Are we against the free and open exchange of ideas? God forbid.
Are we against iron sharpening iron? God forbid.
Are we against men struggling together? God forbid!
We are against the presumption that being right in our own eyes, and being determined to articulate it, is a justification for doing so—even if we are right! We are against replacing gravitas with ego; confusing character and knowledge; presuming to be grown up without growing up.
The godless overturning of natural hierarchy—within or without the congregation—is due to the idolatry of self-identity. This is obvious in feminism; but the standard responses to it are, at bottom, simply demands that women stop this idolatry so men can get their turn.
Returning to God will require repentance from everyone.
We are for restoring the right order, for using the power structures, that God created—on all sides, and in every place. Knowing what that should look like for a massively connected world—let alone how to achieve it—is extremely challenging. But we are certain that we must try.