Friday, June 08, 2012

Rachel Held Evans and "Complementarianism"

Joe Carter writes:
Evans wins the debate---but only with the strawman version of complementarianism she created. For example, she asserts that complementarianism is like the "relationship between a boss and a subordinate"---an analogy that would strike most complementarians as offensive and absurd.

Evans also offers several non sequiters---such as that she and her husband share chores together and that she enjoys football more than he does---as evidence that her marriage is "functionally egalitarian." Many chore-sharing husbands and football-loving wives will be shocked to discover they've been engaging in egalitarian activities.

Evans's understanding of egalitarianism seems to be as confused as her view of complementarianism. In truth, "functionally egalitarian" marriages should more aptly be described as "dysfunctionally complementarian." A husband who refuses his male headship role is not creating equality in the marriage but transferring the headship role to the wife. Hierarchy is not removed, only replaced by an unbiblical reversal of the creational norm.

Evans claims that complementarianism is patriarchy, and here she stumbles upon the truth. She doesn't appear to recognize, however, that the patriarchy of marriage models the patriarchy of the Godhead. In contrast, the "functional egalitarianism" that Evans prefers models our culture's obsession with autonomy and disdain for authority. It is an ideology particularly suited to fulfill the masculine desire---first exhibited by Adam---to shirk our responsibility as servant-leaders and transfer our God-mandated role to our wives.

Of course, this debate is neither new nor likely to end anytime soon. Evangelicals can always find an authority who will provide them with an authoritative justification for shirking authority. Such poor exegesis, however, can become habit-forming---and therein lies the true danger. As John Piper has said, you don't have to be a complementarian to be saved. But, he adds, when you start resorting to "the kind of gymnastics" needed to find egalitarianism in Scripture then "sooner or later you are going to get the gospel wrong."
Read the rest.

Recommended Resources:
Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism

Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth

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