Not All Comps

Recently, I have been puzzled by some of the responses to my posts on Complementariansim.  Some feel I have not presented complementarian belief in an accurate light.  Other’s have insisted that there are good, godly complementarian persons they know who do not believe “like that”.  I have been told, “I used to be complementarian, I wasn’t like that though.” However the responses are worded, they can all be summed up with three words: “Not All Complementarians (Comps)!”

These responses raise an important question:

Is “Not All Comps!” an appropriately Christ-like response to the teachings of Complementarian leaders?

To answer this question, we must recognize the issue is not how a single person acts but how an entire culture exists which seeks to denigrate an entire gender and silence those who expose its abuses.

There may very well be very godly and kind complementarian persons.  But there are also a great deal more who spew hate and vitriol and make mysogynist claims when their views are challenged.

Consider:

Doug Wilson has verbally attacked and attempted to blackmail people like Natalie Greenfield for speaking up about rape and abuse in his church.  Doug Wilson and his church have even sided with her male abuser in legal proceedings.  Doug and his leadership have openly called Natalie a liar and blamed her and her family for her abuse.  In fact, when someone tried to argue on Doug’s blog that rape victims are not responsible for being raped, Doug Wilson directly stated that this is false.  Of course a rape victim – even a 14 year old girl – bears some responsibility.image

If you consider nothing else.  If you read no other post.  If you hear no other voice.  Listen to Natalie, her voice must be heard, her story must be told.

How Complementarianism Played into my Sexual Abuse Under my Former Pastor Doug Wilson – Natalie Greenfield

Keep in mind, Wilson also questions the legitimacy of marital rape. He says rape statistics are inflated by “feminists” to oppress men.  He calls women who disagree with him “lumberjack dykes”.  And despite all these things, The Gospel Coalition (TGC) and its members have allowed him to write for their blogs and peddled his books.

“Not All Comps!”

Recently, Denny Burk openly stated that 1 Timothy 2:15 means that God created women to perpetuate his salvific purposes through childbearing and homemaking.  He insists women must have separate roles from men because this is god-ordained in Scripture.  Of course they are equal in worth, but they just weren’t created to have equal authority or leadership with men.

“Not All Comps!”

Steve Farrar has also argued that the man must work and make money, he must be the breadwinner and his wife must be the housekeeper.  The man is the absolute head of the home, and he must not abdicate his authority or take on a “feminine” role in the house.*

“Not All Comps!”

Mark Driscoll has even gone so far as to argue stay at home dads are worse than unbelievers.

“Not All Comps!”

I would argue this isn’t the first time this logic has been used.  During the Jim Crow era many people insisted that persons of color were equal in value, but needed to be separate for other reasons.  They weren’t as educated.  They carried diseases.  The list went on.  So they created the concept of separate but equal, a concept we now consider racist and hate-filled.

Yet complementarians use this same logic.  Mark Driscoll states women are more easily deceived.+  John Piper says a woman’s role is to uphold the authority of men and to make them feel secure in this authority . No woman should ever be in direct authority over a man, that isn’t what she was created to do.

The Danver’s Statement, the official document defining complementarity penned by the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW), states that women may be equally gifted, but they are not equally called.  Thus, for a woman to use her gifts in man’s domain is “sin”.  The woman are equal in image, but separate in authority and calling.

“Not All Comps!”

James Dobson tells abused women, whose husbands threaten their lives and repeatedly punch them in the face that divorce is not an option.  He insists their job is to preserve the marriage and redeem their husband.

“Not All Comps!”

Chuck Swindoll pines for the days when men needed to be muscular and athletic and women wore makeup and looked good in bikinis.

wpid-wp-1447782895479.jpg

As quoted in Farrar, Anchor Man, p. 162.

Not All Comps!”

C.J. Mahaney has openly blamed women for the lust of men.  He has told them their bodies are responsible for the sins of their “brothers in Christ”.  Not to mention, Mahaney has been caught up in scandal for not reporting sexual abuses in his church.  Yet he is still supported by prominent complementarian leaders and remains a pastor at Sovereign Grace Ministries.

“Not All Comps!”

Josh Duggar molested children and faced no consequences because Bill Gothard teaches that immodesty of the girls/women in the home causes molestation to happen.  Bill Gothard himself molested over 30 women while teaching them he was beyond question.  He shamed them, told them that what had happened to their bodies didn’t matter.  That bitterness or anger at their abusers would keep them from God.

“Not All Comps!”

Mark Driscoll lost his entire ministry, caused the closing of over a dozen churches because he believed men were God’s chosen ones.  He openly mocked women in his sermons and books.  He told the women under his care to witness to their husbands by submitting fully and in all manners in sex.  He told them if they didn’t give their husband a blow job, they weren’t serving God or obeying Scripture.  He posted mysogynist comments on blogs and destroyed the lives and ministries of anyone who questioned him.  He allowed his beliefs to lead to pride and denigration.

“Not All Comps!”

My own church, which has women pastors, defended a sermon in which guest speaker Bishop Walter Harvey claimed the role of a woman to her husband is submissive helper and incubator.  Harvey also stated the way to a happy marriage is for women to meet their husband’s need for “Sex, Sex, Sex”.

Not only did they defend him, they welcomed him back with open arms to speak at a missions conference on reconciliation.  During this conference, he claimed that he disagreed with the theological position of some Pentecostals on female attire because “Some women need makeup”.

“Not All Comps!”

Why does this keep happening?  How can people hear the horror stories, see the damage, and still defend these men?

The answer is fear.  Fear of losing their grounding, fear of admitting complicity.  Most importantly, fear that questioning the status quo will bring a quick descent into post-modernity and relativism.  Fear that to question these teachings is to question the Gospel itself.

This occurs because men like John Piper and Kevin DeYoung argue that complementarianism is the clear teaching of Scripture, necessary to fully understand the Gospel.  Complementarity, they claim, is a necessary protective strategy for ensuring the safety of the Gospel message.  Like Timothy Keller, these men argue that Inerrancy is simply saying Scripture is true and has a clear meaning.  Of course, they insist complementarianism is the clear teaching of Scripture and anyone who rejects this clear teaching is rejecting Scripture itself.  When you question the inerrant teachings they put forth you cannot truly have a moral compass or come to God salvifically.  After all, Jesus taught Inerrancy!

Complementarianism is built into the Foundation Documents of the TGC, claimed as the clear teaching of Scripture.  Many of the members of the TGC were also members of the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy (ICBI).  Many of the members of ICBI are also members at CBMW as well and personally signed the Danver’s statement.

It is no coincidence, then, that the three statements defining Inerrancy penned by the ICBI are distinctly complementarian.  They were designed to be.

Nowhere is this more obvious than in ICBI’s “The Statement on Biblical Application”.  Here the claim is made that biblical truth commands the husband and wife are to be full partners.  Yet, they assert that the man must be the servant-leader and the wife must be the fully submissive helper in the home.  The very Doctrine of Inerrancy to which complementarians appeal was designed to stack the deck in their favor.  It was written as a tool of intimidation and fear to prevent people from questioning the teachings of complementarianism.

It is no wonder the TGC doesn’t question these men – they don’t represent an exception.  These types of abuses are part and parcel of complementarianism.  To expose these men is to expose the abuse and discrimination inherent to the system.  To question these men is to question whether their “clear teaching of Scripture” are actually carefully developed systems for preserving power and privilege built on the backs of others, of women and men who have been denied the basic tools of biblical literacy.

So I am left to wonder:

At what point does defense of an idea become complicity in the abuses inherent to that ideology?

At what point does allowing the voices of the afflicted to be silenced to preserve our own comfort and privilege become an active participation in silencing them?

As Christians, we are not called to defend the ideas of men.  Paul confronts the Corinthian church because they had become disciples of men instead of disciples of Christ (1 Cor 1:10-17).  They allowed certain persons to have primacy and privilege over others (1 Cor 8, 11:17-22) .

In the midst of these accusations, Paul calls them to his Gospel, the Gospel of the crucified Christ (1 Cor 2:2).  This is the same Gospel he used in Philippians 2 to insist that followers of Jesus must emulate his kenosis in our treatment of others.

We must remember Jesus, in his death as the humble, emptied, crucified God exposes the plight of those oppressed, defies the power which denigrates, and opposes systems of discrimination and separation (1 Cor 1:18-31; Gal 3).  The crucified cross of God calls us to take up his cause to uplift the oppressed and love all persons above ourselves (Phil 2:1-12; Luke 9:21-27; Matt 20:20-28, 25:31-46).

Thus, when confronted by the hurt of others at the hands of abusive or discriminatory ideologies our response should not be to insert our own narrative by declaring “Not All Comps”. Instead, like the God who became human, we must immerse ourselves in the narrative of their suffering (Isa 52:13-53:12).

In this way, we are called to practice a cruciform solidarity with the abused.  This solidarity will seek to participate in and understand the suffering they face. It will be willing to offer apology for the times we have been complicit in their sufferings.  It will ensure it shares their words and empower their voices to expose the injustices they face.  And it will be humble enough to silence ourselves that their voices might be heard.

 

*Steve Farrar, Anchor Man (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2000) pp. 61-64, 102-104.

+Mark Driscoll, Church Leadership: Explaining the Roles of Jesus, Elders, Deacons, and Members at Mars Hill, Mars Hill Theology Series (Seattle, WA: Mars Hill Church, 2004).

 

If you like it, please share it! Grace and Peace!

 

**Cover image from http://media.salemwebnetwork.com/cms/CW/Couples/singles/25850-abused-woman-crying-1200.400w.tn.jpg**

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42 thoughts on “Not All Comps

  1. Are there any prominent evangelical public figures who are not complementarian? Can you name any? I know there are a few in the scholarly realm where you find evangelical scholars in both camps. Almost every evangelical pastor of public note I can think of in the last 50 years would hold to something closer to the comp position than an egal position. Are they all to be thrown under the bus with Driscoll, Wilson and Gothard? In your opinion, must one jettison a comp view in order to be an evangelical? In order to be biblically-faithful? In order to be a Christian? Where would you draw the line?

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    1. I’ll take these as separate questions and answer them 1 by 1.

      (1) Yes, there are many prominent egalitarian leaders in evangelicalism. If you go to this link, you can check out CBE’s statement “Men, Women, and Biblical Equality”. There is a signature list there.

      http://www.cbeinternational.org/content/statement-men-women-and-biblical-equality

      Also, any of the leaders typically labeled ” progressive ” and, as you said, an overwhelming number of academic leaders.

      That being said, I want to be clear why I am using the word egalitarian. I don’t actually consider myself “egal” as, quite often, these labels end up being labels of protest. That is, they end up being more about what they are against than what they are for – namely pursuing the cross of the crucified God, Jesus.

      So, when I say egalitarian, I use it for common vocab – note I don’t use it in my writing. Many of the scholars who support things like mutual submission and women in ministry would not necessarily claim the tag, but would share a very similar hermeneutic.

      Here is a short list:

      Eugene Cho
      Bill Hybels
      Scot McKnight (Anglican, but runs in evangelical circles)
      Carolyn Custis James
      David Fitch
      Geoff Holsclaw
      N.T. Wright
      Ben Corey
      J.R. Daniel Kirk
      Joel B. Green

      Those who don’t believe complementarianism are a larger group than most realize. But, because the Doctrine of Inerrancy was designed to defend complementarian belief, it is easy to silence many of these people and make them seem like a small minority of “Bible Haters”.

      (2) I didn’t throw anyone under the bus. I wrote this post just as much to egalitarians and to complementarians. In fact, I have heard ” Not All Comps” and other don’t rock the boat type comments equally from both sides. My entire premise is built on the two questions I asked:

      When does defense become complicity when a system has been show to be abusive?

      And

      When does ignoring the stories of abuse become active participation in silencing the voices of victims.

      If you are up on the most recent sex abuse issues, Google Fellowship Bible Church and research the cover up that took place there. It is a pattern dating back to the beginning of complementarianism with CJ Mahaney’s cover-ups in the late 80’s/early 90’s.

      Also, read the rest of my work on Complementarianism (when you have the time). I have written 10 posts amounting to over 150 pages of analysis.

      (3) I have drawn a line between biblically faithful and Christ-likeness in my two latest posts to explain my position.

      To summarize, it is entirely possible to make a biblically coherent argument – say Doug Wilson’s defense of Southern Slavery – without representing a careful contextual reading, considering the full spectrum of analysis that had been on the passage, and seeking to discern how to move forward in Christ-like fashion.

      One can make the Bible say whatever they want if their only goal is to be “right” or “on the right side of Scripture”. However, it becomes decidedly harder when we are willing to model Christ Crucified (per Phil 2) and seek to set aside power and privilege for the sake of the denigrated other.

      The point of Scripture is not to arrive at propositional axioms, but to seek God through the appropriative work of the Spirit pointing us to the crucified Christ and calling us to imitation of him.

      (4) Paul clearly states in 1 Cor 12 that noone can call Jesus Lord except by the work of the Spirit. Further Jesus says in the Gospels that we are not to consider persons our enemies who are doing good work in his name.

      With that in mind, I am not setting up a system to judge who has faith in Christ and who doesn’t. Instead, seeking to follow the example of Paul, I am dismantling empty theologies built on preservation of privilege and power and seeking to call my fellow Christians on all sides of these issues to the center of our faith, our ethic, our identity – “Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Cor 2:2)

      (5) As such, I’m not drawing lines, I’m trying to erase the one’s others draw to keep people out.

      Does all of that help? Feel free to ask follow ups if you need to 🙂

      Peace to you!

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      1. I’ll take these as separate questions and answer them 1 by 1.

        (1) Yes, there are many prominent egalitarian leaders in evangelicalism. If you go to this link, you can check out CBE’s statement “Men, Women, and Biblical Equality”. There is a signature list there.

        Thank you for interacting on these issues. I am not persuaded that the CBE statement, with all its names, does very much to undermine the idea implied in my first reply that the vast majority of recognized evangelical leaders hold to a comp position. That said, I respect the work and have benefitted from the work of many of the scholars listed on the CBE site and I have benefitted from other scholars who hold to a comp position.<<<

        That being said, I want to be clear why I am using the word egalitarian. I don’t actually consider myself “egal” as, quite often, these labels end up being labels of protest. That is, they end up being more about what they are against than what they are for – namely pursuing the cross of the crucified God, Jesus.

        So, when I say egalitarian, I use it for common vocab – note I don’t use it in my writing.

        Agree with what you have written here for both sides of this discussion.<<<

        Those who don’t believe complementarianism are a larger group than most realize. But, because the Doctrine of Inerrancy was designed to defend complementarian belief, it is easy to silence many of these people and make them seem like a small minority of “Bible Haters”.

        I find it hard to agree with your statement that ‘the Doctrine of Inerrancy’ was designed to defend complementarian belief, since the inerrancy issue arose out of the modernist controversy of the 1920’s and re-emerged in the 1970’s “Battle for the Bible”, both before the stronger emphasis on complementarianism which began in the 1980’s. I don’t think comp was created by belief in inerrancy, I believe a basic comp view of marriage and church leadership was just the way most pastors and church members read the Bible through the years in evangelicalism. It could be argued that complementarians use inerrancy as a support for their views but I believe it is inaccurate to say that inerrancy was designed to defend complementarianism. Seems to me inerrancy arose as a response to modernism rather than an effort to support comp (again a case of something which arose to be against something rather than for something).<<<

        (2) I didn’t throw anyone under the bus. I wrote this post just as much to egalitarians and to complementarians. In fact, I have heard ” Not All Comps” and other don’t rock the boat type comments equally from both sides. My entire premise is built on the two questions I asked:

        When does defense become complicity when a system has been show to be abusive?

        The “under the bus” part comes in here. There is a lumping together of all complementarians here which I find unfair and which I think was a key element of the Meyer article as well. The key issue is whether the “complementarian system” has been shown to be abusive. I think this is an extremely difficult question to answer for many reasons. First, our biases tend to cause us to either see a systemic link or ignore it. Second, abuse always arises from both within the heart of the abuser and in the midst of a number of cultural factors. Third, because there is no single “complementarian system.” There is a general idea that one who holds to some sort of roles and leadership in the church and home is complementarian but the spectrum of belief and behavior beyond this among complementarians is quite broad. For all complementarians to be complicit in abuse it would have to be demonstrated that complementarian belief at its most basic level would have to be shown to foster abuse. I am aware of no such study and in my experience many complementarian couples and many complementarian churches are lovers of Jesus who honor each other and live in love, not abuse.

        I see your criticisms regarding complementarianism to be much like those who criticize charismatics. Take the worst examples of charismatic teaching and hold them up as the standard and it is easy to say “all charismatics are wacky, money-grubbing televangelists.” One could easily draw a straight line from hyper-charismatic teaching to all sorts of abuse and false teaching. But we all know believers who hold to ongoing sign gifts but do not ascribe to “charismania.” What are we to do with them? Should we charge them with complicity because some twist their beliefs? Should we charge them with complicity because they don’t speak out enough for our tastes about abuses of their beliefs? If you do charge these well-meaning followers of Jesus with complicity are you not drawing new lines to replace the ones you want to erase?<<<

        And

        When does ignoring the stories of abuse become active participation in silencing the voices of victims.

        If you are up on the most recent sex abuse issues, Google Fellowship Bible Church and research the cover up that took place there. It is a pattern dating back to the beginning of complementarianism with CJ Mahaney’s cover-ups in the late 80’s/early 90’s.

        If the majority of evangelical churches hold to some version of comp (and most do as shown by the overwhelming male leadership in churches at the very least) then it follows that most abuse in evangelicalism is going to happen in comp churches. This does not prove comp belief is the problem. There are a variety of factors which foster abuse and every situation is different. And abuse of course is not limited to evangelical churches and is actually quite awful outside the church where all sorts of views of relationships are involved.<<<

        Also, read the rest of my work on Complementarianism (when you have the time). I have written 10 posts amounting to over 150 pages of analysis.

        I wonder if we are making more of comp than the Bible does on both sides? Maybe my lengthy replies are fostering this obsession too. I just don’t think it is a magic bullet that will undo abuse in the church. And given the relative weight it gets scripturally, it seems in some ways to be a waste of time to spend too much effort on this when weightier things in Scripture (like the golden rule) should capture our attention. Of course, I understand that if you believe comp systemically causes abuse then you would view it as an act of love for God and neighbor to stand against it.<<<

        (3) I have drawn a line between biblically faithful and Christ-likeness in my two latest posts to explain my position.

        To summarize, it is entirely possible to make a biblically coherent argument – say Doug Wilson’s defense of Southern Slavery – without representing a careful contextual reading, considering the full spectrum of analysis that had been on the passage, and seeking to discern how to move forward in Christ-like fashion.

        I agree with this but feel at the same time that you are in some way questioning those in the comp camp, that they have not done the exegetical work. It is as if you are saying if only they’d studied these things out like you they’d agree with you so obviously they haven’t considered the full spectrum of analysis and they may even have problems living in a Christ-like fashion if they disagree with the egal position. I believe this assumes that comp people are not really thinking this through and this again may be a case at times of just accepting a party line but that is far from the case often.<<<

        One can make the Bible say whatever they want if their only goal is to be “right” or “on the right side of Scripture”. However, it becomes decidedly harder when we are willing to model Christ Crucified (per Phil 2) and seek to set aside power and privilege for the sake of the denigrated other.

        Quite agree with your first statement here and I would add that most of us consistently look in Scripture for things which affirm our views and tone down things which go against our views. Which is what I believe you have done in your second sentence. The Suffering Servant is also the King of Kings. There is such a thing as leadership in the Bible and in Christ it is not a “lording over for my benefit” leadership but an exercise of God-given authority for His glory and the benefit of others. Jesus was exalted by serving. So for us, the last shall be first. That we should not jockey to sit at Jesus right or left is a given. That such positions exist is also a given.<<<

        The point of Scripture is not to arrive at propositional axioms, but to seek God through the appropriative work of the Spirit pointing us to the crucified Christ and calling us to imitation of him.

        Absolutely agree with you and I hope that you would believe that many who hold to a comp position would agree with this.<<<

        (4) Paul clearly states in 1 Cor 12 that noone can call Jesus Lord except by the work of the Spirit. Further Jesus says in the Gospels that we are not to consider persons our enemies who are doing good work in his name.

        Amen.<<<

        With that in mind, I am not setting up a system to judge who has faith in Christ and who doesn’t. Instead, seeking to follow the example of Paul, I am dismantling empty theologies built on preservation of privilege and power and seeking to call my fellow Christians on all sides of these issues to the center of our faith, our ethic, our identity – “Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Cor 2:2)

        Anyone who holds comp or egal at the center instead of Jesus is misguided at best. But to call comp an empty theology built on preservation of privilege is uncharitable and renders most of evangelicalism through the decades as “empty.” What if many comp are not seeking to “preserve privilege” but are actually building their theology on what they believe the Bible says? Of course they may be wrong, so may you. But it is a world of difference in saying someone has built their theology on preserving privilege and power and saying someone has built their theology based on what they believe Scripture is teaching. I simply don’t believe the first nefarious motivation is present with most believers who hold the comp position. I have seen God work in marvelous ways through evangelicalism as well, and hate to see many godly people who happen also to hold the comp position ascribed motivations they don’t deserve.<<<

        (5) As such, I’m not drawing lines, I’m trying to erase the one’s others draw to keep people out.

        This is good. But consider whether you are making enemies of those who are doing good work in His name who also happen to hold the comp position, thus erasing one line in order to draw another.<<<

        Does all of that help? Feel free to ask follow ups if you need to 🙂

        Peace to you!

        I’m sorry this is so long. I know that is not the most helpful format online. I appreciate your response and hope you will receive my response as an attempt to address what I see as problem areas in what you have written without any personal malice. From what I can tell in limited exposure, you are a brother in Christ with a love for the Lord and are someone who wants to see Him honored and justice done. I would hope if we met personally that we could worship together and fellowship together even if we disagreed in some significant ways. Grace and peace.<<<

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        1. For some reason, my initial response to this deleted before I could send it. Instead, WordPress posted an identical response to my last. I apologize for the technical difficulties.

          That being said. I think we can agree to disagree. I would only clarify, because I don’t want a misunderstanding here, that my goal is to provide a larger discussion based on a case study.

          My goal isn’t to say “you’re guilty” or make enemies. I am only seeking to inspire questions about what happens when the leaders of a movement seem to have gone off the rails. Is there a real problem in saying “but he gets the Gospel right” (or any other defensive response) if he ties his views directly into the Gospel? I want this to be a question we wrestle with with all our leaders. I don’t support Tony Jones b/cof these things.

          I would offer one more clarification then be done. I didn’t say Inerrancy itself originated with the ICBI. It originated in the late 19th century as a response to Enlightenment critique of Scripture. However, the Doctrine of Inerrancy was officially codified by the ICBI in the three Chicago Statements. The writers of those carefully constructed their documents to defend complementarian interests. The coopted a discussion and made it a nonnegotiable for “true Christianity”. That is why I call it a system of privilege and power.

          Also given the proximity between the dissolution of ICBI and the formation of CBMW, combined with the number of repeat names on the signature pages,I findit difficult to see this as coincidence.

          In closing, I want to focus on what we agree on – Jesus Christ crucified. That is central for me, I believe it is for you as well. I absolutely consider you a brother in Christ. It would be my honor if one day we found ourselves faceto face to share a meal as friends orto participate in worship of our God and Savior together.

          Thank you for your engagement. Peace to you and I hope you have a Merry Christmas.

          Nate

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          1. Thank you for this reply.
            When you say >>>My goal isn’t to say “you’re guilty” or make enemies. I am only seeking to inspire questions about what happens when the leaders of a movement seem to have gone off the rails. Is there a real problem in saying “but he gets the Gospel right” (or any other defensive response) if he ties his views directly into the Gospel?<<< you make a distinction here which I did not catch in your original post and your initial reply to my comments. You focus here on leaders who have gone off the rails rather than the supposed systemic problems with comp. I think this is a fair way of approaching things as it prevents broad brushing whole groups of people because of the actions of some leaders. It is another issue to consider whether a large number of “off the rails” leaders in the same movement (e.g. IFB or TGC) poisons the whole movement but I think it is more helpful to look at it from the perspective you outline above than the big picture perspective. And as I said before, to tie this issue to the gospel is a mistake and to use it as a test of orthodoxy is a mistake, no matter on which side of the fence you land. Issues of character (e.g., Mahoney, Driscoll, etc.) should be considered on a case-by-case basis and I think each believer has responsibility to consider this. I am not against exposing the misdeeds and sins of such men, but I am against obsession with their every move and endless haranguing over their past, present and future (I am not accusing you of this, by the way). Just doesn’t seem productive. Exposure without obsession seems the best path to me.

            I will take some time to consider further the connections you made of the Chicago Statement to CBMW and comp teaching in general. I acknowledge there may be connections I had not considered and will try to take the time to search it out. Merry Christmas to you as well.

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          2. As I see it, if someone says that you have to believe their opinion on gender (or any other peripheral) to get the Gospel of the cross, be a Christian, then I see a problem.

            It can also sometimes functions as a gloss for turning a blind eye.

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          3. This is a huge problem in many circles. How we regard other Christians outside our theological affinities is a massive part of our discipleship. It is difficult to navigate justice and love. Definitely don’t want to perpetuate abuse but man I am ready for a safe place to stand together with people who love Jesus but don’t think like me about everything.

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  2. Good stuff! I’ll contribute my own quote from a pastor who normally is clear-thinking and does an outstanding job of expository preaching–seriously! But he’s barely a comp, and far from an egalitarian. He said, a couple of years ago during a Mother’s Day message, and said it twice, that women were to be submissive AND subservient! Yes, subservient! That is an incredibly strong word, right? As soon as the service was over I almost ran out to the car before I burst into tears. My husband approached him the next Sunday in a very pleasant, casual, and non-confrontational way, and asked him about the ‘subservient’ part. He replied that it was ‘in the Bible’. I’m ready to be outta there but, unfortunately, I know of no other fellowship. I’m also ready to relocate. I have 2 realtors who say they are praying….not sure if it is to find a good fellowship, or to sell a house! LOL

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    1. Thanks for reminding us it’s not just the big wigs Barb. I can’t tell you what you should do, but I will certainly pray that you will be given discernment on how to move forward and that you find safe fellowship. Let me know how things turn out 🙂

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    2. I am sorry so that word was used to women on Mother’s Day (of all days, right). Please remember that we are ALL called to be servants. Both men and women. Christ commanded that NO ONE have authority, and we all be ‘the least’. I suggest that your pastor call on the men of the congregation to be servants and Subservient also (hopefully on Father’s Day, lol). Remind him Ephesians 5:21. You are correct in trying to find a good fellowship. Even the church I attend, which claims to be the most progressive and the most egalitarian, divides Bible study groups by gender. My husband and I always attend both and always ‘mix it up’. Sometimes we go to the ‘ladies class’ and sometimes we go to the ‘men’s class’. We have found that the more we do this, the more other members start to do it also. Classes should NEVER be divided by gender, only by subject matter. And ALL should be welcome in all classes. It doesn’t matter what is being studied, we are all one in Christ.
      I pray that you find peace and good fellowship.

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    1. Dee, as long as I get author credit and a link back to my site (I don’t figure that is a problem) I’m perfectly fine with that.

      Also, let’s be honest yours are big shoes to fill 🙂

      Thanks

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  3. I’m new to your blog, but loved how you threw each of those pieces of the “Comp” puzzle together to make your point. How much more evidence do people need (somewhat rhetorical question)?

    I thought you might like to read an article of mine on a similar subject. I recognized a lot of names in your post! It addresses the theology behind complentarianism, especially the part about alleged male headship and authority.

    https://llawrenceauthor.wordpress.com/2015/10/15/husbands-who-think-they-are-god/

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    1. Thanks for sharing that post, Loura. It was an excellent work, really bit home. I added you to my “blogs I follow” list.

      I am curious how you would feel about my posts Head of Man and A Cruciform Submission. Would love your thoughts/comments.

      Thanks for following 🙂

      Like

      1. Thank you for saying it so well. The biggest Christian need today is not to feed the hungry or send somebody else on a missionary trip. The biggest and most ignored need today is to free Christian women from complementarianism, and to allow her the freedom in Christ that all Christians should have.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Another excellent post, Nate! The deceptive teachings are so obvious that it makes me wonder if it’s intentional or are the comps truly deceived themselves. Does the quest for power and control really reduce the scriptures to a male and female legal rulebook?

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    1. I think the unwillingness to surrender privilege – even if it is a subconscious one – tends to greatly influence our hermeneutic. I try to read a variety of perspectives and traditions with an open mind because I recognize my own privilege and seek to not only be aware of it, but inspired to not make it an idol, the lens through which I interpret God.

      Thanks for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

Thanks for taking the time to read and engage. I look forward to your feedback, I welcome any criticism. However, as my goal here is mutualy respectful, beneficial conversation, I only ask that we keep civility in mind with our words. Grace and Peace.

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