RMG on Palin and Complementarianism

Rebecca Merrill Groothuis has an insightful post on the Com-Palin controversy here. Money quote:

In the end, it seems that the “clear teaching” and literal meaning of Scripture on “complementary roles” for manhood and womanhood—which up to now has fairly consistently meant that God created men to be leaders and created women to be subordinate to male leadership—is not such a consistent and comprehensive perspective after all. Rather, when push comes to shove, it simply means that in the church and home, men must be the boss and women must be subordinate to male authority. Outside these two realms, gender “complementarity” is either moot or nonexistent. What, exactly, God did at creation is immensely unclear. God did not create man and woman with certain different propensities inherent to the nature of manhood and womanhood, because, after all, outside the church and home, in the world at large, “differences,” whether deemed mandated or inherent, disappear. There is definite confusion in the camp of the complementarians.


My Take on the On Faith Question

My take on the On Faith question is similar to Richard Mouw’s: it is not hyporcritical to suppose that women can serve as governing leaders of a nation but not a church, but it is inconsistent. Hypocrisy entails an insidious level of dishonesty pertinent to the issue that traditionalists avoid.

Nevertheless, the question is interesting, because it reveals deep presuppositions about biblical interpretation that cuts through the fog of rhetoric about traditional gender roles and the evils of feminism. Quite frankly, Sarah Palin is a problem for traditionalists–or “complementarians” as they like to call themselves—because she is a conservative feminist. She is just as big of a problem for CBMW as she is for secular feminists on the Left.

Continue reading

One Faith: Is it hypocritical to think that a woman can lead a nation and not a congregation?

The Washington Post hosts a forum called On Faith that poses this question: Women are not allowed to become clergy in many conservative religious groups. Is it hypocritical to think that a woman can lead a nation and not a congregation?

Here are the highlights of the contributors:

Brian D. McLaren:

I just talked to a leading conservative religious leader about this the other day. He believes that the New Testament texts regarding women only apply to the church and not the secular world. I find that line of interpretation very convenient for conservative churches, and impossible to justify theologically. My guess is that more and more of the daughters of today’s religious conservatives will decide to a) abandon their parent’s approach to interpreting the Bible, b) decide the “secular” world is a more hospitable place and spend more time there and less in the church, or c) change churches

Continue reading

Voddie Baucham: Palin not a Pro-Family Pick

Voddie Baucham is not happy about Sarah Palin and calls her an “anti-family pick.” He writes:

First, if Mr. McCain was pro-family, he would want to see Mrs. Palin at home taking care of her five children, not headed to Washington to be consumed by the responsibilities of being second in command to the most powerful man in the world (or serving as the Governor of Alaska for that matter). Let me also say that I would have the same reservations about a man with five children at home seeking the VP office.

Continue reading

CBMW: Does Governor Sarah Palin Present a Dilemma for Complementarians?

CBMW has a post up asking the crucial question Does Governor Sarah Palin Present a Dilemma for Complementarians?

From the outset we must remember that on November 7 the voters will not elect a national minister or pastor in chief. A president is not held to the same moral standards as an elder of a church. While it is a blessing from God to have ethical or even Christian political leaders, the Bible places no such requirements on secular governments. Even though the Bible reserves final authority in the church for men, this does not apply in the kingdom of this world.

Therefore we must be careful to not go beyond the teaching of the Bible. The Bible calls women to specific roles in the church and home, but does not prohibit them from exercising leadership in secular political fields.

Continue reading

Mohler on Palin

Al Mohler, the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (who also serves on the Board of Reference for CBMW) had this to say about Palin:

Do I believe that a woman can serve well in the office of Vice President of the United States? Yes. As a matter of fact, I believe that a woman could serve well as President — and one day will. Portraits of significant men of history hang on the walls of my library –but so do portraits of Queen Elizabeth I of England and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

The New Testament clearly speaks to the complementary roles of men and women in the home and in the church, but not in roles of public responsibility. I believe that women as CEOs in the business world and as officials in government are no affront to Scripture. Then again, that presupposes that women — and men — have first fulfilled their responsibilities within the little commonwealth of the family.

Clearly, the “complementary” roles of authority and submission do not extend to sphere of society. That means that Palin could make the decision to send troops into harms way, but not give the final world on where her children go to school. To his credit, however, Mohler senses this cognitive dissonance as he expresses concern over her family.

Read the whole thing.

SBC’s Richard Land on Palin

More Pro-Life Reaction to John McCain Picking Abortion Opponent Sarah Palin:

Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission: “Governor Palin is a vice-presidential selection which shows that John McCain at the age of 72 today is still able to think outside the box. Governor Palin will delight the Republican base. She is pro-life. It appears that Senator Obama played it safe in picking Senator Biden and Senator McCain made the bold and unconventional choice in picking Governor Palin.”

Note the irony of a Southern Baptist leader who endorses a woman to be second-in-command for the second highest office in the United States, but would deny her a leadership position in the smallest Southern Baptist church. Spiritual life must be radically different from political life in the complementarian worldview, otherwise I would expect calls for homemaking and motherhood. It will be interesting to see what CBMW has to say about it in the coming weeks.