Gender Roles: Are Complementarians Traditionalists?

Jocelyn Anderson, author of the book Woman Submit! featured in my left sidebar, has written an insightful post on her blog (linked in my blogroll), called Complementarians NOT Traditionalists? Hogwash!

One of the things I find frustrating about the complementarian movement, Vision Forum, Eagle Forum, Bill Gothard et.al., the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, True Woman, etc. is how the roots of these organizations within a larger movement are shrouded in mystery and utterly unquestioned. Because “all” the “big names” appear to think this whole thing is just straight from God’s mouth to our ears, no one questions what is being taught.

In the article Jocelyn takes apart just one point in the tangled ball of yarn that is the truth and roots of this movement. And a powerful point it is! It is so important for us as believers to be truly aware. Being Bereans is the responsibility of us all – and that must include digging into where these assumed “truths” are coming from and what their roots are. And unfortunately it is such a convoluted mess it can be hard to sort the threads. Jocelyn is doing just that, and this is a very informative piece of the puzzle.

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Vision Forum, Bill Gothard, Patriarchy & Multigenerational Faithfulness

By Danni Moss
Copyright protected, all rights reserved

There are whole knotted piles of interconnected issues here that I have been wanting to write about. I grew up in this theology before it was mainlined by groups like Vision Forum, and touted in a large segment of the Christian homeschooling movement and hand-holding organizations such as the Counsel on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, the True Woman movement, parenting gurus such as Gary Ezzo and the Pearls, etc.

This ideology is what God rescued me out of after I experienced its natural conclusions. I speak from the position of someone who completely believed it all – 100%. But as I followed a personal walk with God, He tore away the facade and showed me the truth of the underbelly of the leadership and why the ideals espoused by them are against God’s Word and violate His heart which is plainly revealed in the Word.

But writing about it is quite a daunting task! It is such a tangled web of anti-Biblical theological perversions, made that much more complicated by it’s wide acceptance among mainline Christian leaders.

I have to say there are also some mainline Christian voices which do not agree with this philosophy. Dr. James Dobson is one such notable individual, though he occasionally appears to flirt with the edges of it – perhaps without realizing the connection and interrelation of certain ideas.

However, there is a writer who has taken on the task of addressing these issues. This author does such an excellent job of digging into the theology and history of this movement, ideology and the individuals involved, I can hardly aspire to her level of detail and comprehensive depth. So I am linking to some of her articles.

I also strongly recommend reading the other materials on her sites. One of the things that I appreciate most about Cindy’s work is that it is scholarly. This isn’t rants and raves against a movement. She focuses on the truth and goes to great lengths to demonstrate the fallacies of these theological systems.

I also encourage everyone to actually study the information she writes and links to about the types of wrong logic and indoctrination used by people within Christianity to support destructive theological practices. These are very powerful. It is not without significant relevance that these groups use the same tactics practiced by cults, dictators, and propaganda experts. Only if Christians do it, they call it “renewing the mind” instead of brainwashing! Hijacking and misusing Biblical terminology does not change the truth of what they are actually doing.

Overview of the Web of Multigenerational Faithfulness

Origins of the Term

The Spiritual Eugenics of Multigenerational Faithfulness: More Social Darwinism

The Layers of Extra-Biblical Belief Underneath Multigenerational Faithfulness and the 200 Year Plan”

Is Wilson Pro-Abortion or Just Following Multi-Generational Faithfulness?

Do New Testament Believers Become the New, Physical Seed of Abraham, Propagating the New Israel Nation of Christians Through the Womb?

Lack of New Testament Support for Multigenerational Faithfulness

Return of the Daughters, Multigenerational Faithfulness and Uncle Ned

The Selfish Sin of Shyness: A Deterrent to Multigenerational Faithfulness

First Time Obedience and Unquestioned Submission as an Essential Component of Multigenerational Faithfulness Part I: Parental Convenience

First Time Obedience and Unquestioned Submission as an Essential Component of Multigenerational Faithfulness Part II: Spiritualizing all Activities

Part II Addendum: Spiritualizing All Activities, First Time Obedience, Multigenerational Faithfulness and Unquestioned Obedience

First Time Obedience and Multigenerational Faithfulness, Part III: Poor Development of Analytical Thought and Problem-Solving Skills

First Time Obedience and Unquestioned Submission as an Essential Component of Multigenerational Faithfulness Part IV: Theological Concerns

RC Sproul, Jr’s Take on Multigenerational Faithfulness: “When You Rise Up”

Thoughts on Fear-Based Obedience: It is Hollow not Holy

Monstrous Regiment of Women: Extolling Feminity – Blasting Feminism

By Danni Moss
Copyright protected, all rights reserved

This new movie by the Gunn Brothers is a documentary-style piece designed to advocate “godly womanhood” and show why everything else is feminism, and ungodly. There is a brief video clip on the site that is worth viewing for yourself. I tried to use the code to put the clip here but it wouldn’t copy in.

The basis of the movie is built on a tract originally published by Scottish reformer John Knox in 1558. Knox wrote this document in protest of European female sovereigns of his day. Wikipedia has this quote from The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women:

For who can denie but it is repugneth to nature, that the blind shall be appointed to leade and conduct such as do see? That the weake, the sicke and impotent persons shall norishe and kepe the hole and strong? And finallie, that the foolishe, madde and phrenetike shal governe the discrete and give counsel to such as be sober of mind. And such be al women, compared unto man in bearing of authoritie. For their sight in civile regiment is but blindness; their strength, weaknes; their counsel, foolishnes; and judgment, phrensie, if it be rightlie considered.

So Knox says women are blind, weak, sick, and impotent. They are foolish, mad and frenetic. “Such be all women compared to man…”

Really — how did he miss the part in the Bible about Deborah? Or maybe the part where it says “your sons and daughters shall prophesy…” And I suppose his Bible didn’t include Priscilla, Phebe, and all the other women of the Old and New Testaments who were acknowledged and applauded by God as leaders in their communities, governments and worship/the church.

Blind, weak, sick, impotent, foolish, mad and frenetic? Whew! Good thing he wasn’t God!

One irony that jumps out at me regarding this whole endeavor is the fact that the movie bases its title and pretext on John Knox’s pamphlet. However, in Knox’s view, all women are blind, weak, sick, impotent, foolish, mad and frenetic compared to men, and inherently incapable of logical thought or leadership. The video then proceeds to feature an all-woman cast of “experts” proporting to reasonably demonstrate their logic, godliness and leadership value. Suddenly the only women who are “blind, weak, sick, impotent, foolish, mad and frenetic” are those who disagree with this cadre of women! The illogic of this almost seems to prove Knox’s point!

I have transcribed four quotes from the video clip of the movie:

Feminism – “The problem with feminism – I think the principle problem – is the cultivation of an attitude of victimization. Feminism tries to make women believe they are victims of an oppressive, patriarchal, male-dominated society. They really wake up in the morning with a chip on their shoulder.” (by Phillis Schlafly, founder of Eagle Forum)

Well, there’s nothing quite so effective as lumping everyone who doesn’t agree with your stated agenda into one bunch and then painting them as weak whiners to dismiss them. These statements are so wildly outside of the reality of the broad spectrum of women, their beliefs, and their motivations – including the very real godly relationship of some of these women – who do not agree with Phillis Schlafly’s extreme beliefs.

Basically Schlafly is saying (especially when combined with the many other things she has publically stated over time elsewhere) that anyone who disagrees with her extremism is:

1) A radical feminist, in stereotypical bra-burning 1960s-1970s fashion, with no potential of serious and viable thought.
2) Crippled by the chip on their shoulder that prevents them from seeing reason or following God.
3) Limited by a single focus – a victim mentality. So if you don’t agree with Schlafly’s doctrine, you have a “victim mentality” – which means you have allowed yourself to be so disarmed by Satan and a lack of forgiveness (since you must not have forgiven whatever that hurt was), that you have lost the ability to think clearly.

Motherhood – “The goal from the beginning has been to change the family unit. We don’t want the man in charge and earning the bread and the mom staying at home with the kids. We want it flipped. We want moms to be able to go out in the work force. In fact, we’d rather have both parents gone and the children in the hands of the state. Again, that just traces back to Marxism and socialism. It’s far better for the state to run everything and decide how our lives will be, than to have individual families to have that autonomy.”

Again, with the stereotyping! Here we have a common “conspiracy theory” mentality – the state is out to get us! This way we can vilify anyone who disagrees with us as being anti-family and anti-God.

The speaker has an obviously skewed misunderstanding of Karl Marx’ philosophy as well. Do you want to bet she home schools her children? So they are being taught that inaccuracy (and a whole bunch of others that go into this pot). I have nothing against home schooling – but the education offered in Christian homes should be equal to or better than what is offered in a school. But – amazingly enough! – she has the freedom to teach her children how she wants. This freedom in the system that is so evil! [And for the record, before I get blasted, I have nothing against home schooling.]

Modesty – “If a woman wears maternity clothes she shouldn’t be surprised when people think she’s pregnant. If you wear a uniform that says you’re a police officer, you shouldn’t be surprised if people think you’re a police officer. So if a woman dresses as though she’s loose, she shouldn’t be surprised if that’s what people think of her character. And as a Christian, that’s a real problem because what we’re doing is lying about the nature of God and we’re communicating something we’re not.”

Well, who can argue with such logic? The problem comes in the application. And this is a common tactic in making a point which doesn’t have real credibility. If you can tie it by assumption to an obviously logical statement, people fail to realize the conclusions reached really have no reasonable connection to the stated precedents.
This emphasis on modesty (and modesty is a good thing) goes hand-in-glove with legalism regarding women’s apparel. And anyone who doesn’t agree and dress as these women do is a slut, no matter what relationship with God she may think she has. Bottom line, it is another way to keep women in bondage.

Modesty comes from the heart; it does not require a dress code. Again, I’m speaking from experience here. Someone who has a modest heart will dress modestly without a dress code (but what they wear will invariably break the “dress code” sometime, somewhere because that list is legalistic). But someone who is immodest can wear the dress code uniform and still be immodest, because it is in the attitude of their heart.

Quiverfull – “People say, ‘Get a TV!’ or ‘Do you know what’s causing that?’ And I tell them, they’re wonderful; they’re blessings and I want more. And they don’t understand that. People in the world don’t understand that. I’ve come to the conclusion that people in the world truly hate children. And that is strong words, but the more I see people, and the way they relate to children the more I see that they truly see them as burdens on society.”

Quiverfull ideology believes that we are supposed to have as many children as biologically possible. Again, I think parents should have the ability to decide for themselves if they want to have as many babies as they can. But they do not get to tell everyone else they are less spiritual or “hate children” if they choose not to do the same. The issue is really not diminished to the gross either/or extremes of “hating children” or having a dozen of them.

A couple overall themes are very obvious throughout this video clip.

  • In every case, any view which differs from the speakers on the video, is diminished and cut down to a single impossibly-simplistic nugget to make anyone who disagrees appear both foolish and ungodly.
  • There is a distinct lack of real scholarship at every turn. There is no attempt to actually study the issues and grasp what people who disagree with the speakers really believe and why.
  • Instead, the speakers default to the weak, and patently faulty, device of minimizing and demonizing the “enemy.” Those who know propaganda tactics know this is rule #1. Does God’s agenda need this type of effort to “win” its case?
  • There is a clearly-drawn “us” vs. “them” mentality here. “Us” is everyone who agrees with the view of womanhood espoused by Eagle Forum and those of like mind. “Them” is everyone else – lumping every other believer and non-believer into one huge pot. Anyone thinking about this for a minute will realize there must be some significant disparity in that “them” collection!

    Are they implying that anyone who isn’t “us” is either a non-believer or seriously back-slidden and out of relationship with God? They must be, because if they were not making such an implication they could not make these “us” vs. “them” statements or assume that godliness equals only their particular beliefs.

    Or another option – which I suspect is more likely – they believe that anyone who is a Christian and doesn’t agree with their beliefs is wandering in Satan’s great deception regarding all these issues. This is also not true. I am one who lived out those beliefs espoused by this video fully and followed them straight to one of their natural conclusions – an abusive marriage.

    When I subsequently persistently and diligently sought God diligently for answers, what He taught me was that these ideas are not His rubber-stamped pattern for godly women. Well fancy that! “Them” actually includes godly women who have deliberately searched the Word and the heart of God for His wisdom regarding these issues – and came up with different answers. So it is not a fact that “them” is populated by people who are all ignorant and deceived.

So, after all that one question remains. Who is the “monstrous regiment” of women? John Knox clearly believed that all women were inferior to men in practically every way. In the movie, we are obviously intended to consider women who agree with the speakers as somehow excepted from Knox’s “monstrous regiment” since these women are supposedly expressing the opposite of the characteristics Knox ascribes to women.

The suggestion is that women who disagree with the movie’s cast are a “monstrous regiment” of women. For anyone with an average IQ, it is obvious that the term “monstrous regiment” is not only uncomplementary, it is insulting. The fact that John Knox first said it almost 500 years ago, does not change the fact that these words will also be understood within a thoroughly modern context. “Monstrous regiment” is undeniably intended to conjure up the image of a horrific, deformed, twisted, militant band of raving “blind, weak, sick, impotent, foolish, mad and frenetic” women. The Christian charity just oozes between their teeth.

Further, there is a subtle, but very clear implication that the negative views regarding all the issues featured on the video fall within the same category, as beliefs held by the “monstrous regiment.” The issues discussed include feminism, abortion, motherhood, Hillary Clinton, women in the military, modesty and quiverfull (and perhaps more; these were featured in the clip). So, all women who are in the military, have careers, use birth control, or wear pants are radical feminists, abortion advocates, hate children (that is a direct quote from the clip), and would vote for Hillary Clinton — or any other mix and match combination of the above.

Not only is each issue featured in the clip grossly misrepresented in the most extreme stereotypical negatives and over-simplified, but the creators of the film blatantly suggest by the manner of their presentation that all women who do not agree with the extreme views presented in the name of “feminity” must believe in the most extreme “feminism,” as defined by the movie.

What is most scary about this movie is that people are taken in by it! There are a whole series of rave reviews for the movie on the site, and they claim it has won at least one award. And there are links offered for “kind compliments” or “hate male” — again making the implication that if you don’t think their movie is wonderful you must hate men!

If these issues are of genuine importance, they deserve a more reasonable and scholarly treatment, which would give them the respect their followers apparently feel they deserve. Unfortunately, I believe this is about as reasonable as this discussion of these issues can get because it is not based on supportable logic or scholarly exegesis of the Word that keeps the whole context in view at all times.