What’s Wrong With Biblical Patriarchy

As a homeschooling family, we come in contact with people from a wide variety of backgrounds and beliefs. One of the groups that is fairly common within the homeschooling community is the modern patriarchy movement, or as they refer to it “Biblical Patriarchy.” Some of the big names in this group include, R.C. Sproul, Jr., Doug Phillips of Vision Forum, and Doug Wilson of Credenda Agenda magazine. R.C. Sproul, Jr. and Doug Phillips have put together a list of tenets to help define Biblical Patriarchy. They define the reason for the movement this way:

We emphasize the importance of biblical patriarchy, not because it is greater than other doctrines, but because it is being actively attacked by unbelievers and professing Christians alike. Egalitarian feminism is a false ideology that has bred false doctrine in the church and seduced many believers. In conscious opposition to feminism, egalitarianism, and the humanistic philosophies of the present time, the church should proclaim the Gospel centered doctrine of biblical patriarchy as an essential element of God’s ordained pattern for human relationships and institutions.

While many, especially within the homeschooling and Reformed communities, would agree that feminism, egalitarianism, and humanism are wrong and should be opposed, Biblical Patriarchy is not the answer. It’s not Biblical. It is a dangerous distortion of the truth. It destroys families and can tear apart churches.

As Dr. Steven Tracy, a professor at Phoenix Seminary, wrote in his article,”1 Corinthians 11:3: A Corrective to Distortions and Abuses of Male Headship:”

Donald Bloesch, a complementarian, astutely observes: In opposing militant feminism, however, we must not make the mistake of enthroning patriarchal values that have often held women and children in bondage and oppression. Similarly, in the context of noting the harmful results of egalitarianism, which he says are anarchy or matriarchy, he issues a sober warning: a very real danger in the patriarchal family is tyranny in which the husband uses his power to hold his wife and children in servile dependence and submission.

Biblical Patriarchy is also not the only option in opposing feminism and egalitarianism. I hold to the position mentioned above called Complementarianism. I believe that men and women are equal before God and that husbands and wives are made to complement each other. I also believe that men are called to be the spiritual leaders of their families and that women are not called to be officers in the Church. I believe that I am to submit to my husband’s leadership and that my husband is to love me sacrificially like Christ demonstrated by dying for the Church. I also believe that my husband and I are both to submit to the leadership of the elders that God has placed over us.

Those who hold to Biblical Patriarchy would probably agree with everything I just outlined. However, this is not what Biblical Patriarchy is about. Instead of sticking to Scripture in defining the roles of men and women in the home, the church, and in society, Biblical Patriarchy starts with Scripture and then branches out into culturally biased opinions. It may seem odd to call it culturally biased, but it is. It owes a lot to the cultural ideals of the Victorian Era, especially the concept of separate spheres.

While it may seem like Biblical Patriarchy and Complementarianism are very similar, or even the same thing, there are very important distinctions between the two. One of the best examples of the differences between Biblical Patriarchy and Complementarianism has to do with women working or holding leadership positions outside the home, in the workforce, or in government.

Dr. Steven Tracy also addressed this in his article:

Male headship does not mean that females are not invested with any authority … . While complementarians by definition believe that God has given the man final domestic and ecclesiastical authority, the woman as the man`s equal is given significant and varied authority (the right or power to do something). … [W]e should note that in Scripture, godly women have authority to proclaim the gospel (Acts 1:8), prophesy (Is 8:3; Acts 2:17-18; 21:8-9), run a household (Prov 31:10-31), manage commercial enterprises (Prov 31:10-31), give men corrective accountability (1 Sam 25:18-38; Luke 18:1-8; Acts 18:26), and serve as co-laborers with men in ministry (Judges 4; Rom 16:1-3, 6; Phil 4:2-3).

In contrast, Vision Forum’s Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy outlines the following tenets:

11. Male leadership in the home carries over into the church: only men are permitted to hold the ruling office in the church. A God-honoring society will likewise prefer male leadership in civil and other spheres as an application of and support for God’s order in the formative institutions of family and church.(1 Tim. 3:5)

And

13. Since the woman was created as a helper to her husband, as the bearer of children, and as a “keeper at home,” the God-ordained and proper sphere of dominion for a wife is the household and that which is connected with the home, although her domestic calling, as a representative of and helper to her husband, may well involve activity in the marketplace and larger community. (Gen. 2:18ff.; Prov. 31:10-31; Tit. 2:4-5)

14. While unmarried women may have more flexibility in applying the principle that women were created for a domestic calling, it is not the ordinary and fitting role of women to work alongside men as their functional equals in public spheres of dominion (industry, commerce, civil government, the military, etc.). The exceptional circumstance (singleness) ought not redefine the ordinary, God-ordained social roles of men and women as created. (Gen. 2:18ff.; Josh. 1:14; Jdg. 4; Acts 16:14)

This is where Biblical Patriarchy goes far and away beyond what Scripture teaches. While wives are to be helpers for their husbands, and men are to be the officers of the church, Scripture does not teach that:

A God-honoring society will likewise prefer male leadership in civil and other spheres as an application of and support for God’s order in the formative institutions of family and church.

It also doesn’t teach that:

[I]t is not the ordinary and fitting role of women to work alongside men as their functional equals in public spheres of dominion (industry, commerce, civil government, the military, etc.).

The discussion of the domestic and public spheres of dominion comes not from Scripture, but from secular culture. The concept of men and women occupying separate spheres goes back to the ancient Greeks and Aristotle, but it gained popularity during the Industrial Revolution and Victorian Era. The idea is that men inhabit the public sphere which includes government, business, etc. and that women inhabit the domestic sphere of child-rearing, housekeeping, and education. A popular Victorian Era poem called “The Angel in the House” exemplified the ideal Victorian woman, and the image of the wife and mother who was pious and submissive came to be referred to as “the angel in the house.”

Unfortunately, this has next to nothing to do with the Bible. Aristotle’s idea, which carried over into the Victorian Era, and into modern Biblical Patriarchy, was that women are by nature inferior to men. Is this the picture of men and women who were created by God together in His image? Is it consistent with the Scriptures that teach that men and women are equal before God? Is this consistent with the description of the virtuous woman from Proverbs 31?

The underlying view of women as inferior plays out in very destructive ways. In Biblical Patriarchy, men are given the tools to dominate and rule over women in abusive and heavy-handed ways. One of the big problems, according to Biblical Patriarchy, is that women are prone to rebellion and need to be directed in submission.

Now, I’ll be the first to say that I struggle with sin like all other daughters of Eve and submitting to my husband’s leadership is a challenge at times. By the same token, my husband struggles with sin like all other sons of Adam and loving me sacrificially is a challenge for him. This is not what Biblical Patriarchy is talking about.

Here is an example from an article by Doug Wilson, “Not Where She Should Be.” Wilson explains that husbands may find that their wives are rebellious in various ways:

Most married Christian men are not in this position, but at the same time we cannot say the problem is extremely rare.

The symptoms can of course vary. He may be distressed over her spending habits, television viewing habits, weight, rejection of his leadership, laziness in cleaning the house, lack of responsiveness to sexual advances, whatever. But however the problem is manifested, what should a husband do?

He goes on to explain what steps a husband should take to ensure submission from his wife. After confessing his own sins, a husband is encouraged to sit his wife down and explain to her that things need to change and that she needs to start doing her duties:

[H]is expectations for change should not be exhaustive, but rather representative. He should want to address the problem in principle, not in toto. The purpose of this discussion is not to present a twenty-year-old list of grievances–love does not keep a record of wrongs–but rather to help her learn to do her duty, and to lead her as she learns what is, for her, a difficult lesson. She can learn on a representative problem. She would be overwhelmed with a requirement that she change everywhere, all at once. If, for example, the problem is one of poor housekeeping, he should require something very simple, i.e. that the dishes be done after every meal before anything else is done.

The first time the dishes are not done, he must sit down with his wife immediately, and gently remind her that this is something which has to be done. At no time may he lose his temper, badger her, call her names, etc. He must constantly remember and confess that she is not the problem, he is. By bringing this gently to her attention, he is not to be primarily pointing to her need to repent; rather, he is exhibiting the fruit of his repentance.

He does this, without rancour and without an accusative spirit, until she complies or rebels. If she complies, he must move up one step, now requiring that another of her duties be done. If she rebels, he must call the elders of the church and ask them for a pastoral visit. When the government of the home has failed to such an extent, and a godly and consistent attempt by the husband to restore the situation has broken down, then the involvement of the elders is fully appropriate.

Where in Scripture does it say that a husband is responsible for enforcing his wife’s submission or that it is appropriate to micro-manage her? This is a prescription for abuse. Notice what is included in the list of things a wife might be rebellious about.

Where in Scripture does a husband have any right to tell his wife how much she should weigh? I don’t want to imagine that conversation. “Honey, I realize that it’s my fault for buying the ice cream, but your current weight isn’t attractive enough to me. You need to lose a good 15 lbs, and if you aren’t willing to submit to my authority on this matter then I’ll need to call the pastor and elders in.” It sounds ridiculous and extreme, but that is the sad reality of many men and women caught in the lies of Biblical Patriarchy.

Another example comes from a discussion I was part of recently. 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.

Biblical Patriarchy is a perversion of the truth. It is not a corrective for feminism, but rather a culturally biased over-reaction. Instead of returning families and Churches to Scripture, it tears them apart. As Complementarians, we should be careful to voice our opposition to both egalitarianism and Biblical Patriarchy. We should not sit by quietly while women are dishonored and mistreated.

Matthew Henry gave a beautiful picture of the Biblical relationship between husbands and wives in his Commentary on Genesis:

[T]he woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved. Matthew Henry Commentary on Genesis 2:22

That is something to remember and to strive for in our relationships.

56 thoughts on “What’s Wrong With Biblical Patriarchy

  1. vivianruthsawyer says:

    It always amazes me that intelligent people attempt to operate in their marriages as you have described. But it’s true, isn’t it? I am so grateful to God that He chose a husband for me who would never dream of telling me how to vote or when to do the dishes. Instead, he does the dishes! We’ll be celebrating our 30th anniversary in July, and every year we enjoy being together more than ever. Thank you for posting this — I’m more thankful to the Lord for my husband than ever!

  2. Josh Bentley says:

    My experience is that men who get too deep into patriarchy have a hard time submitting to anyone about anything. Also, patriarchy tends to infantilize women, as your example from Doug Wilson illustrates so well (Seriously, who doesn’t start by getting his wife’s perspective on why the house is a mess?). Thanks for raising this issue.

  3. Andrew Duggan says:

    Excellent — This is so important. There are so many caught up in this un”Biblical Patriarchy” I’ve been seeing this for 30 plus years in one case after another. The wreckage is considerable. What makes this so very bad is that it feeds right into the kinds of sin men are more naturally drawn to. I like the way you concluded. It is a perversion. It is has also been my experience like what Josh said, that the men who buy into this don’t like submitting to anyone on anything. They use this idea of “Biblical” Patriarchy as justification for their own tyrannical autonomy.

  4. Rachel Miller says:

    Andrew~ Thanks for your comment. I think you make a good point about it feeding into the kinds of sins men are drawn to. I would say, as a woman, feminism does the same for women, in many ways.

  5. Benjamin Wong says:

    1. Good point and nicely written post.

    2. Minor suggestion:
    In Reformed circles, I suspect most will associate “sphere sovereignty” with Abraham Kuyper and the Dutch neo-Calvinists.
    It is obvious that your post has a different idea in mind.
    Maybe you can drop the single reference to “sphere sovereignty”?

    3. Your Blog is very visually pleasing to the eye.
    Nice choice of colors, fonts, and form and relations of the design elements. : – )

    • darrelltoddmaurina says:

      Agreed.

      Unless Rachel Miller’s intent is to criticize the Kuyperian division of authority between the family, the church, and the state, I believe the reference to sphere sovereignty was unfortunate and unhelpful.

      Some Kuyperians are perfectly happy to say that because God has established different standards for leaders in the home, the church and the state, it is entirely permissible for women to be in civil leadership when they are banned from the eldership in the church and headship in the home.

      But having said that, there are a fair number of people in the movements that Rachel Miller is criticizing who do hold to sphere sovereignty as Kuyper would define it. Is Rachel implying that there’s a connection? I’d be open to a discussion on this issue. Kuyper, like all of us, was a child of his times and it’s not as if he was not influenced b a Dutch version of Victorian England and its view of gender relations.

      One final point, for those who criticize “Victorian” views of male-female relations — don’t forget that Victoria was the Queen of England in a day that the monarch was not a figurehead. England had a centuries-long history of female rulers by the time Queen Victoria assumed the throne, and her predecessors such as Queen Elizabeth were not very happy about John Knox’s views on the “monstrous regiment of women.” Victorian England was no panacea, and it might well be described as a model of moralism rather than a model of godliness, but it was not quite as restrictive of women’s roles as some people might like to think.

      Sorry for the late reply, but I just noticed this post in Rachel’s “Top Posts of 2012” item posted recently.

      • darrelltoddmaurina says:

        Thanks for the clarification, Rachel. I believe sphere sovereignty is a helpful doctrine to understand the different roles of governance illustrated and/or commanded by Scripture. I agree with Benjamin Wong that I think the term “sphere” is being used by you in a different way, but I did want to make sure.

        Kuyper had numerous views with which I would disagree, and I won’t defend some of them at all, but I will defend sphere sovereignty for a number of reasons. One of them is that I believe it allows us to explain why the standards for civil office allow women to rule in the state but not in the church or the home. This was an issue in the Netherlands during Kuyper’s day, his political party split over the issue, and the majority came down on the side of women being allowed to vote and hold civil office.

        On the issue of whether women can hold civil office today — let’s just say if South Korea can elect a female president this week who represented their pro-military conservative party, and if mainland China can select a new ruler earlier this year whose wife is a two-star general in the Chinese Army who for a long time was much more prominent than her husband, I think the question of whether women can hold civil office is pretty much settled in the broader world. The cultures of China and South Korea make all but the most ultraconservative Reformed churches look liberal on their views of women’s places. We don’t take our marching orders from secular society, of course, but the debate about women’s ability to be civil magistrates is pretty much over.

        I’ll take a stand for the Bible when I’m required to do so even if the world laughs, but I’m not going to take stands that elicit ridicule and rejection without clear biblical evidence requiring me to do so.

  6. Eileen says:

    Just wondering if Pastor Wilson provided a scriptural citation or elaborated on scripture’s instructions regarding housekeeping. For example, how many minutes may elapse after Father puts down his fork until Mother finishes the dishes before she sins through sloppy housekeeping? Which brand of dishwashing detergent must she use? What if she rebelliously parts her hair on the left instead of the right after he has patiently instructed her? These are important issues!

    Actually, when I read that excerpt from Pastor Wilson, I thought it might be a very useful method for training a toddler. Or a puppy. Or a lab rat.

    Your last point about complementarianism being a corrective for both egalitarianism and radical patriarchy is exactly right, at least in my female opinion, for what that’s worth. I fear that the over-reaction to egalitarianism will compromise the viability of biblical complementarianism in the future, and that would be tragic.

    • joankhartley says:

      Late to the game here, but…. Lab rats generally require edible treats to coax them, and too many of those might add undesirable pounds to the already weak willed and rebellious wife.😉

  7. Frank Aderholdt says:

    After 44 years of marriage, I can tell you one thing for sure: I’d rather leave the dirty dishes in the sink overnight after we’ve both had a tough day, than have them flying at my head because I griped that my wife hadn’t washed them. Good heavens. Some men must just be idiots.

    • darrelltoddmaurina says:

      Wow. Southron belles throwing dishes. Who would have known? Does “kimchi temper” have an equivalent phrase with a Southern accent?😉

      Other than that comment, I’m not going to touch the specifics of this issue except to say that my wife has legitimate complaints about my housekeeping and I have zero reason to complain about hers. Let’s stay focused on things that are clear from Scripture and the less-clear things can be sorted out by families on their own.

  8. Richard says:

    I guess this was the difference between John Calvin and John Knox. Calvin had to repudiate Knox’s “First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women” when it was seen as repudiating the rule of Queen Elizabeth.

      • Rachel Miller says:

        Actually, if you look at what they said about Sarah Palin running for VP last time, you can get a pretty good idea that they would not approve of Joan of Arc or Margaret Thatcher. In fact, I read a review of Iron Lady by one patriarchy guy. He had absolutely nothing nice to say about Thatcher.

  9. Shawn Mathis says:

    Thank you for the thoughtful article.
    I hope you do not mind the following:

    Two things of note:

    1. It is interesting that Sproul Jr and Phillips are also both family integrated church leaders and strong voices for the moral requirment of homeschooling (radical homeschoolers):
    http://christiannurture.blogspot.com/2009/02/radical-homeschooling-defined.html

    2. For the record: Wilson may be a “biblical patriarchy” in some ways but in other ways he strongly repudiates it, see patriarchy.org/family/wilson_quotes.html

    (patriarchy.org has many articles on this and related topics that are helpful for those struggling with these issues)

    • Kat says:

      Sproul Jr ? The man who was diciplined and defrocked for spiritual abuse over a family in his church… The man who recently was found to be a member of the Ashley Madison, adultery web page?

  10. Rev Richard O. Smith Jr. says:

    Thank you for your great article! As a pastor I have some families that like this approach. One father will let no one else teach his children because it is the father’s duty to teach them. One Sunday I ask “why do you let them listen to my sermons?”. Soon after that they left the Church to find like minded believers. They are in a Church that will not let the women have a Bible study because according to the Pastor “All they would do is talk about their husbands”. In a lot of way this movement feeds the ego of many of the husbands and leaves them not accountable to anyone because many leave their Churches to have their own home Church. I have seen this many times! This view often is anti-Church.

  11. Tim says:

    Nice job, Rachel. I’d add that the movement seems to rely in part on straw man arguments too. Egalitarian doctrine perforce leads to matriarchy? Not in the egalitarian circles I run in!

  12. Dennis Griffith says:

    Reblogged this on GRACE & PEACE and commented:

    There was a time when I wondered if at least some in my denomination ought to start wearing t-shirs with a picture bearing the image of Alfafa from the old Our Gang/Little Rascals’ shorts from the ’30’s & ’40’s. Alfalfa was a founder and president of the He Man Woman Hater Club. Now, I know that this was an unfair characterization of most – the clear majority – of my fellow churchmen. But when discussing the role of women in the church, in the home, and in the world at large, sometimes statements were offered up that made me pause – and cringe.

    I believe in the inherent equality of men and women. But I am no feminist. In fact, I would not even qualify as an Egalitarian. Instead, I am more aligned among the Complimentarians. But much to my chagrin, sometimes those of us in the Complimentarian camp are mistaken for being among the initiates of the He Man Woman Haters Club.

    Some time ago Rachel Miller, on her blog A Daughter of the Reformation, wrote a very insightful piece, titled What’s Wrong With Biblical Patriarchy?. In her post she distinguishes us Complimentarians from the more chauvinistic Modern Patriarchy movemement, with whom we Complimentarians are often lumped. (Rachel notes that proponents of this patriarchal position like to refer to themselves as “Biblical Patriarchy”, but I don’t want to equate them as being biblical. As the article astutely observes and notes, those folks base their positions on some biblical principles but then mix them up with some very Victorian notions.)

    While I know throwing around such terms as Complimentarian, Egalitarian, etc., is not likely to excite many readers, nevertheless, I think what Rachel Miller has to say is worth considering as you think biblically about this polarizing issue; and no less important, to distinguish guys like me from the ecclesiastical Alfalfas.

    ***

  13. Faith says:

    @Rachel Miller

    Is it consistent with the Scriptures that teach that men and women are equal before God?

    Which ones are those?

    I’ve heard Christians trying to defend the Bible against accusations that it is a patriarchal book — without any real success. Feminists have done a good job of exposing just how patriarchal the Bible is. It’s not just a case of “different roles”. Just look at the bare facts.

    God always speaks as a male (each person of the Trinity is referred to as “He”), creates a male first, makes a female merely as a companion/help for the male (and curses her for her disobedience with the dreaded “he shall rule over you”), chooses males for pretty much everything apart from when necessity demands a woman (e.g. Deborah, Esther, Mary), incarnates, lives & resurrects as a male, picks twelve males to carry on the work, and has everything written down by males — and when the second person is used in teaching, it is almost always males who are addressed. (Females are almost always spoken of in the third person.) The whole tenor of the Bible reeks powerfully of male dominance. Women are at best bit-part players (even in the two books named after women, both women are submissive and under the authority of men — their lives would be anathema to modern, educated Western women). And there are some glaring instances of just how inegalitarian the Bible is. God turns a blind eye to polygyny, for example, but polyandry would be classed as adultery and punished by death under (divinely-given) Israelite law!

    Christians will cling to verses like Galatians 3:28, overlooking the vast bulk of other inegalitarian statements and admonitions that Paul makes about women. God in the Bible clearly approves of patriarchy. God is — according to you — omnipotent. He surely could thus have established an egalitarian civil society in Israel in which male and female equality was laid down firmly. His law, however, treats women effectively as the possessions of men. The attempts of Christians to make the Bible compatible with the culture of today really are laughable. Feminists have shown us that the Bible does not teach complementarianism (let alone egalitarianism), but an unrepentant and unequal patriarchy.

    At least those curious folk who follow patriarchy are consistent. The rest of you (complimentarians or whatever label you choose) implicitly acknowledge that you cannot reconcile Biblical teaching with the inevitable victory of feminism, and therefore attempt to re-imagine the Bible. …You’re feminists at heart (as the comments here reveal, if only you could see it): stop being bashful about it and come out of the closet — your ideas belong to a bygone age.

  14. Sonia Hancock says:

    Wonderful treatment of this subject! As I was reading Doug Wilson’s quote about how to deal with a “rebellious” wife, it occurred to me that his idea of marriage falls more in line with a parent/child or master/slave relationship rather than the God ordained, equal-to-matching (ezer kenegdo) companionship. The patriarchy movement isn’t just wrong,- it is horribly frightening!

  15. Sam Loy says:

    For what it’s worth, the no-girls-in-government crowd has to deal with the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8 who was an employee of the queen. If it was so unseemly for women to be heads of state or authority figures in the workplace, surely Phillip would’ve corrected the eunuch on the need to quit his job.

  16. Eileen says:

    Rachel,

    It has been a blessing that the BaylyBlog has drawn new attention to this very important topic and post. Since my comment above, I have learned that “Complementarianism” actually means much more than it would appear. As a result, I would like to apologize to those who believe that men and women are gloriously complementary but who do not tow the CBMW line and so do not self-identify as “complementarian.”

    I had assumed that the CBMW advocates actual complementarianism, since they coined the word. However, after reading their journals and other materials, it is clear that they are actually patriarchalists with some very disturbing teaching. I just thought I would pass this information along since there may be others like me who assumed that words should mean something and not hide their real agenda of patriarchy. I was foolish.

    Thank you, dear sister, for taking the arrows of men who may hold the office of pastor but who are not pastors. They are bullies with pulpits who unwittingly provide evidence for the radical feminist claim that men only want to dominate women. They do not display an attitude toward women that is at all Christ-like.

    I am thankful for the godly men, like our husbands, who truly display Christ’s love to their wives without needing to prove their “biblical” manhood by lording it over women. We are the real complementarians who rejoice in God’s great providence of two distinct genders that both display his image and who find their unity in Christ rather than the law of the Genderizers.

  17. writerhelenrdavis says:

    Many of these men are also against women leading nations. Last time I checked Angela merkel is a blessing on Germany and in the past, I think queens named cleopatra, Isabella, and Elizabeth did a fabulous job in Egypt Spain and England!

  18. Lindsey says:

    I just have to tell you what an encouragement this blog has been to me. I escaped a church that scorned me for standing up against Biblical Patriarchy. My kids and I were being physically and emotionally abused and the response when I desperately sought help was, “Pray for him and be more submissive, be patient and let God change him.” I felt completely alone and made the hardest choice of my life. My ex husband is still a “member in good standing” while I am still (5 years later) ostracized for the decision I made to biblically divorce him. Your blog, and some others, have FINALLY made me feel a little defended.

  19. tarmcphe says:

    “Where in Scripture does it say that a husband is responsible for enforcing his wife’s submission or that it is appropriate to micro-manage her? This is a prescription for abuse.” I am curious…If the husband is suppose to lead his wife and his wife is rebellious, how is he suppose to lead her or as the article put it, “enforce/micro manage?”

    • liz says:

      It doesn’t. The Bible calls him to love his wife. God will deal with her sin because she has the Holy Spirit in her and He will work in her heart to make her obey. Nowhere in the Bible is the husband called to force his wife to obey or submit. That’s God’s job.

    • Kat says:

      Scripture does not say that the man is to enforce her submission, All it says it that the man is to love her sacrificially and give himself up for her.. If Doug Wilson were biblical he would have said, “husband you should do the dishes for her” That’s biblical sacrifice which the man is called to do.

  20. liz says:

    I know R.C. junior personally and was sad that although he was defrocked for spiritual abuse, it did not temper or change his personality. l still found him to be overbearing and difficult. l’ve experienced this patriarchal spiritual abuse from both my ex-husband (Bob Jones university graduate, need l say more) to PCA churches as well as OPC churches. lt is a frightening misuse and twisting of Scripture that occurs when evil men with evil desires are given (or rather they take) powerful positions of authority in order to repress women. How do you know these men are 100% illegitimate and Godless? James 1:27 “This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of God our Father is this; to visit widows and orphans in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

    Having been a single mother for 18 years now since my Bob Jones university graduate husband abandoned me and our daughter, l’ve seen Godly Christians who cared for us and wanted to help us, and l have seen the vilest and most wicked of men treat us like garbage. I highly doubt R.C. Jr, Doug Phillips, or any of the other patriarchal promoters have any kind of viable single mother ministry. l know R.C. Sproul senior certainly didn’t when l attended his church. God knows the truth. lt is what l have reminded myself of for years and years as l witnessed and was subjected to so much abuse in the Name of Christ and His church. My daughter is saved but very disillusioned with “Christians” because of how we have been treated. And the people who follow these men are hard hearted, lazy, and intentionally gullible. They are along the same lines as the wretched parents who listened to “expert” Michael Pearl, who has to his credit, 3 children dead from child abuse as a result of listening to his teachings. The naivete of people never ceases to amaze me. Just like Gothard, the Duggars, and other psychologically unhealthy people who use control as their means of being “faithful” to Christ, l can only hope that people in the church will throw off these chains and set themselves free by studying diligently the Word of God!

    “The Bereans were more noble minded than the Thessolonicans, for they received the Word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.”

    “Let God be found true and every man a liar.”

    Being a Christian means freedom. Freedom to serve, freedom to minister, freedom to follow the voice of the Master. Those who try and put others in bondage under the guise of “authority” are selfish, self-seeking,self-serving and in many cases wicked men. Paul says to “avoid foolish controversies.” My ex-husband wanted to write a book on “Women’s roles”. He abandoned me when l was pregnant with our daughter and refused to pay child support. Why do l feel like if l made one of the aforementioned men mad enough that they would also justify doing that to me?

    Because it’s true.

    God, grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth. May no more people be hurt by their lies. In Jesus’ Name,

    Amen.

  21. liz says:

    One more reason to know that these men do not reflect God in their teachings is demonstrated by a similar example. We all recoil when a wealthy person flaunts their wealth, rubbing the noses of the less fortunate in their abundance. The Bible even says in Proverbs; “The ransom of a man’s life is his wealth, but the poor hears no rebuke.”

    So even if a person has great wealth, they would be much better off if nobody knew about it since it is all for ransom should the man be kidnapped.

    This particular verse regarding wealthy people not flaunting what they have is for their own physical protection. But there are numerous verses which instruct us to be humble and meek to be like Christ.

    Why am l saying all this? Because to flaunt wealth when you are wealthy is in very poor taste and people don’t look up to you, they despise you and think you’re making a fool of yourself to show off your riches. In the same way, why do these men need to show off their so-called authority and domination over the women in their lives. lf these men were truly secure in their “authority”, would there really be a need for grandstanding and “lording it over” every single woman they meet? What a stark contrast in the characters of these abusive men who beat their chests and rant and rave about their God given place (supposidly)

    versus Jesus Himself, Who said; “Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for l am gentle and lowly of heart; and you shall find rest for your souls.”

    It angers me but l can only imagine how much more it angers the Lord to have people, using His Name, to justify their sick abuse. God will have the last word and l am very very glad for that.

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