Make It Stop!
A few weeks ago in my post You Senseless Complementarians I examined Gal. 3:28 and its meaning in context. And the three pairings-- Jew/Gentile, slave/free, male/female-- are not about how everyone could be saved equally (after all, only Gentiles were “without hope and without God in the world” in the old covenant [Eph. 2:12]), but about how there is no division in the Body of Christ. At the time of Paul’s writing there were definite class distinctiions in society, so his statement of unity was very counter-cultural.
But social change takes time, and in the course of history those distinctions began to melt away in the Christian community. In America, the slavery issue was once bitterly debated among us (see Sound Familiar?) but finally we came to grips with the fact that such a thing was antithetical to the very heart of the Good News. Anti-semitism still lingers here and there, but this too is widely admitted to be against what Jesus taught. But like a person clinging desparately to the edge of a cliff by one last finger, male supremacism (MS) refuses to admit its hostility to the upside-down kingdom of heaven (Mt. 20:20-28, Mark 10:35-45, Luke 22:24-27). Why?
I and many others who espouse the mutuality inherent in the Body model presented in the New Testament have studied, researched, written, petitioned, and spoken about how any kind of class distinction is not only refuted in the light of honest and consistent analysis of various passages, but more importantly in the overarching principles of the faith. The God who told us of our freedom from the law, our equality as human beings in Christ, and the Golden Rule is not so fickle or self-contradictory as to “legislate away” those very principles in “fine print”, as if He were a slick lawyer or shady accountant... or a Pharisee.
If, as I’ve asked many times rhetorically, there is to be no “lording over” among us, then how is it that this very prohibition is somehow nullified and reinstated in the writings of Paul? The fact that such teachings are pervasive is a major cause of so many today rejecting Paul as a “product of his time (?!?!) who, as an apparently unregenerated Pharisee, still suffered from the deep misogyny of his peers. Never mind the ”Damascus Road experience“ or the ”extreme makeover“ of his soul by Jesus personally, Paul just had to be saying what the MS teachers insist he said-- in blatant contradiction of Jesus.
It astounds me that anyone claiming Christ, especially those who consider themselves teachers and preachers and theologians, can see no contradiction between ”not so among you“ and their interpretation of Paul. We ”mutualists“ have tried to engage them in debate in their blogs and message boards, only to either have our comments deleted or to be personally attacked and our arguments blithely tossed aside without a fair hearing. Many claims of MS have been shown, through careful research, to be either cases of poor logic or outright lies. And our literature is online in many venues for anyone who wishes to honestly investigate our claims to see.
But it goes on... and on and on. CBMW and others tighten their grip on male privilege with each passing day it seems, and the same failed arguments are regurgitated in the old game of repeating a lie till it becomes a self-evident truth. They appear to be as obsessed with a believer’s genitalia as many atheists are with Christianity. Is this really what Jesus wants us to focus on-- the flesh?? Is the Good News turned into Bad News if it comes from a woman’s mouth? Is the Bible improperly handled if the hands are a woman’s? Do these MSers actually believe males emit some mystical covering that sets them apart in God’s eyes?
No, for the last time: ”no lording over“ cannot be turned into ”benevolent lording over“, and pride in one’s flesh cannot be called humble service. As I showed in the Sound Familar link above, there is no rational, Biblical, Spirit-honoring way to reject slavery but keep MS. Those who do so anyway have either not thought this through or are in rebellion against God’s NT ”order“ and are bowing to culture. They cling to their ”place“ just as the Pharisees of Jesus’ day clung to theirs, preferring to reject their own Messiah rather than give up privilege. And like those Pharisees, MSers consider themselves guardians of God’s order and paragons of spirituality.
True, honest humility does not concern itself with ”who is the greatest“, but with ”how low can I go“ to serve others, whom it considers ”better than itself". I really wish MSers would get the memo.