Yet More Complementarian Incoherence

Any followers of this blog would be aware by now I believe Complementarian theology is poor theology... and indeed, poor logic.

I have just been reading this paper by Rich Nathan, and thought I'd steal one of the sections of his long and thoughtful article on the subject. I quote:

"Virtually every book by complementarian authors that I’ve read sets up some sort of subjective grid that meets the comfort level of the author. Just read James Hurley or Grudem & Piper and try to apply their grids. It would take a massive computer program to do so. In the meantime, women are wounded in conscience by constantly wondering if they are violating God’s will by taking on a certain role.

"To apply these criteria would take the form of creating an entirely new Talmud, deciding that it would not be okay for a woman to teach in a Bible study when her husband is present, but okay if her husband is not present. Or to use a real example from Grudem and Piper, it is okay for a woman to be a bus driver, since her authority is not directive or personal, but it may be inappropriate for a woman to be an attorney and have a male paralegal working for her.

"These grids have no root in the Biblical text. Again and again the complementarians accuse egalitarians of being “unbiblical” yet there are many statements by complementarians like the ones I quotes that have no biblical support to back them up. And there is the rather astounding assertion made by John Piper that egalitarian relationships will lead to “more divorce, more homosexuality, more sexual abuse, more promiscuity, more social awkwardness, and more emotional distress and suicide.” Does Piper possess any serious sociological studies to support this extraordinary claim? Is he basing this extremely damning assertion upon private revelation?

"Further, where in scripture do we see that female leadership will result in such chaos? Where is the scriptural evidence for some of these standards to measure whether or not a female is asserting too much directive authority? Where in Scripture does God ask us to pursue “biblical manhood” or “biblical womanhood”? Holy Scripture does not place humanity in the position of making obedience to its commands impossible. The Bible does not lay out incoherent rules nor does it require a Talmud to correctly interpret it."

One day I'm sure these arguments will be silenced under the heavy weight of their own absurdity...

Until then, some women in some churches will have to put up with a fair bit of sheer nonsense. I'm glad I'm not in one of them.


Janette Phelan said…
Piper's comment about failure of egalitarian relationships does not hold up under the weight of evidence. A number of studies find the exact opposite to be true. Among others, research from the Prepare-Enrich inventories concludes that egalitarian relationships have higher success rates than traditional male - dominated relationships. Prepare-Enrich is an international Christian relationships organisation. Their research is based on the data from thousands of couples.
Janet Woodlock said…
Never let solid research (nor good biblical hermeneutics) stand in the way of prejudice eh Janette?

He may of course be thinking (anecdotally) of relationships where a woman finally finds it unbearable to be treated as an inferior any longer, and the marriage breaks down as a result.

Those pesky feminists expecting women to be treated respectfully!

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