Opinions on faith and life

Missing The Point

Many male supremacists/complementarians dismiss the charge that their teaching of ESS (the eternal subordination of the Son) has anything to do with the issue of male supremacy. But at this link we have just one of many evidences that the charge is indeed true. The motivation for ESS is clearly displayed in that article: if there is equality with hierarchy in the Trinity, then it is an established Biblical principle supporting the subordination of women to men without devaluing women.

The arguments there are very familiar to anyone having read either Rebecca Groothuis’ arguments or my summaries of them here. She has thoroughly debunked the claim that it is possible to have equality of being when hierarchy is determined by one’s being; that is, if a person is held to a lessor authoritative position for life because of their race, sex, or other genetic qualities, that is not a role to play but a devaluing of the person. So the article stands as a witness against any claim that ESS and MS are unrelated, and proves once again that people are willing to stoop so low as to dissect the One True God in order to preserve their place in society.

As I showed here, there is overlap in the functions of the Persons of the Trinity. And as I showed here, there is no way to have hierarchy in one will; if God has three wills, then this is not a trinity but three gods. So using the Trinity as some kind of justification for a logical absurdity is obviously a poor base from which to operate. To believe equality of being at the same time as inequality of permanent, being-based function is to resort to absurdity. Thus the article’s bold claim that such hierarchy is even possible (I’ll go even further to say that neither does a hierarchy necessarily exclude equality) is false both by logic and scripture.

Without this fallacious foundation, is it still possible to make a coherent and Biblical argument for MS? Not when we remember the Bible’s own model for how believers relate to each other. Paul’s statement in 2 Cor. 5:17 is typically taken to refer to individual transformation, and that’s certainly part of it. But it also refers to the fact that we are a new, third entity or race of humanity: neither Jew nor Gentile but the very children of God (Gal. 3:28, Eph. 2:15).* And as I’ve mentioned often, Jesus’ not so with you (Mt. 20:20-28, Luke 9:46-48, 22:24-27) has no fine print or loophole for when women are present. Along with Paul’s body analogy (1 Cor. 12:4-30, Eph. 4:15-16, Col. 2:19, etc.), we see that the whole emphasis is on the breaking down of old barriers and replacing them with the kind of unity a human body has.** Clearly, scripture teaches against hierarchy among believers in any sphere.

This all supports the statement that prompted the writing of the linked article: that A marriage must be either a partnership or a hierarchy; it cannot be both, which the writer claims is a false premise. But we see also in that article that the writer equates submission with authority, since no one can serve two masters. Yet if the wife has Christ as her authority or master, the author will be forced to concede that the husband is neither. And when he uses terms like she can willingly and fully submit to me, he’s not talking about serving her but ruling over her. All the flowery adjectives in the world cannot change that fact.

That the writer sees the church through the same worldly, hierarchical lens should come as no surprise. He equates his submission to church elders with how his wife is supposed to submit to him-- the familiar chain of command. And like the world, that chain finds women perpetually at the bottom, because unlike children (boys anyway) the women never get to be fully adult. As one of my friends who comments here says, What happens to this chain when you have a ’shepherd’ like Jim Jones? And if the people of the church, like the wife of a wayward husband, can judge and discern where the line has been crossed into sin, then it is truly the laity and the wives who shoulder the greatest responsibility. Yet these are denied the authority that should go with it. This is a recipe for disaster, as anyone competent in matters of mental health will tell you.

Finally, the writer exposes the idolatry of MS doctrine: Paul urged the Corinthian church to follow his example as he followed Christ. I figure the God-given role of a husband and father isn’t far at all from that. Are we talking about example or authority? And did Paul expect churches to never mature in the faith and produce capable leaders? Here again we see the glaring difference between churches and marriages: laity can rise up to lead, but wives can never, ever lead their husbands. But as all the preceding in the article show, the writer does mean rule and hierarchy when he talks about leaders and followers, hence the idolatrous treating of men as little gods, as little christs; they usurp the place of our one and only Mediator (Mt. 23:8, 1 Tim. 2:5).

Once again I must appeal to the examples of Paul and Jesus: laying authority down (see also Phil. 2:5-11). Whether any believer thinks Paul could override not so with you or not, both he and Jesus showed that all believers are to humble themselves and take the place of the waiter instead of the patron. The teachings of MS and clergy/laity, in contrast, keep the world’s hierarchy and seek first place in it. If they want to play servant leader, then let them show that Jesus only modeled that for certain privileged men. Privileged, because they want authority like that of Christ over the church. If they had any grasp of not so with you, however, they would not fight for first place, but rather lay down the titles, the final say, the followers, and become followers without titles themselves.

I will never, never, never accept as a Christian leader anyone who fights for it, no matter how many layers of sugar and fluff they may try to cover it with. I will never believe the professed love of a husband for a wife while he also wants final say and to be obeyed as the church obeys Christ, keeping his wife as a permanent child to his father role. Such people have no concept of the kingdom of heaven. Real leaders, whether in marriage or the Body of Christ, never ask for the job or use proof-texts to claim it. All they do is serve without fanfare.


* This relates also to the topic of legalism. As we are taught in Heb. 7:12, when the priesthood is changed, the law must be changed also. We Gentiles were never under the old Law at all (Eph. 2:12), and the Jews who become Christians have died to that law (Romans 7:4, Gal. 3:23-29) and are now under a new law because of a new priesthood.

** Some may try to argue that some internal organs are more vital than others, but that never entered into any of Paul’s references to the body as an analogy. He only referred to the external parts and focused on the fact that no part is greater than another, and that they all connect to one Head instead of reporting to each other.

6 Comments

SaberTruth

Here’s another ESS article: at SBC Voices It’s a veritable gold mine of error and mockery of all who object to the rewriting of history and mangling of the Trinity. And surprise, surprise, the writer is a male supremacist-- and one who in the past has described my objections to his rants with much hyperbole and outrage.

SaberTruth

Interesting... check this out:

the first lady wrote an entire post on her own blog, ripping me for my ideas on marriage. this while never having even attempted to discuss it with me. she calls me a male supremacist, worldly, and someone who shouldn’t be accepted as a christian leader. and she says i have no understanding of the kingdom of God. [snip] those are discussions i’d rather not enter into — and haven’t as of yet. i’m just not a big fan of having my relationship with God questioned because of my best attempt to understand a particular passage from the bible (and not a horrible attempt, either? it’s not like my ideas are totally ridiculous). i believe christians should be gracious towards, everyone but ESPECIALLY other christians.
So my post here constitutes "ripping" the author of the cited article. This illustrates the phenomenon of counting every disagreement as "ripping" or hostile if it isn’t coated with six layers of sugar. Being direct is the new (and practically only) "sin" these days. I suppose I could have tried the sugar-coating method and confused the dickens out of everyone by being very indirect, but that just isn’t what I’m about. I try to be clear and honest, and hope someday that the thick skin demanded of me is also adopted by others. But to the charge that the author has had his relationship with God questioned, I can "reverse the charges": is it not MS which charges every egal with having a bad relationship with God? Is it not every "unsubmissive" wife or unassertive husband who is charged by the author’s article with shirking the clear commands of God in scripture? The author claims only wanting to "understand" a passage, but the tone of the article was one of teaching, not learning, and whether intended or not it called all who disagree somehow not measuring up. And I think that’s true of quite a few issues: people are incensed when confronted with what their arguments logically imply. That I merely pointed out these implications is apparently enough to get me labeled as a meanie. So I guess it’s ungracious to disagree directly. As for blogging here instead of commenting there, I can ask the author the same thing: why blast me in his own blog instead of coming here to do it? At any rate, is it not my right and his to say whatever we want in our own blogs? The way I see it, it is far less rude to expose the flaws in his reasoning here than to have posted there in his "house", since it’s obvious he doesn’t take criticism well. I will not be told what I can and cannot say, especially in my own blog. I don’t get along well with people who want to control others, which is the whole thrust of his argument in the first place. PS: he made no attempt to answer the scriptural arguments against his position. Hmmm...

Truthseeker

Paula, amen to everything you have said. Jesus didn’t sugar-coat everything He said, either.

SaberTruth

True dat. And I haven’t even called anyone a viper or a hypocrite. ;-) Further comments at the comment link above are now using the old "damaged goods" angle: that anyone who disagrees with MS must have some psych baggage. But this is just more "shooting the messenger", as they still have not attempted to address a single point in my analysis. But this is common. :(

Lydia

Did you guys see Suzanne’s post about Phil 2? http://powerscourt.blogspot.com/2011/01/not-even-all-devils.html When one really starts looking into the "foundational" passages they claim prove ESS, it is so obvious they are twisting and reaching. However, what is more important is that all cults tamper with the Trinity. ESS, as Paula points out, is nothing more than trying to elevate man on a level with Jesus Christ. It is so blasphemous that I cannot help but pity them for their evil of lessening Jesus Christ.

SaberTruth

Not yet, thanks for the link. Seriously, how can Christians swallow ESS without choking? The very nature of God is being redefined to something the ancient pagans would easily identify!

The Bible must be the invention either of good men or angels, bad men or devils, or of God. However, it was not written by good men, because good men would not tell lies by saying ‘Thus saith the Lord’; it was not written by bad men because they would not write about doing good duty, while condemning sin, and themselves to hell; thus, it must be written by divine inspiration. ~ Charles Wesley, McDowell, Evidence That Demands a Verdict , 1990:178.

Christians are not distinct from the rest of men in country or language or customs. For neither do they dwell anywhere in special cities of their own nor do they use a different language, nor practice a conspicuous manner of life… But dwelling as they do in Hellenic and in barbaric cities, as each man's lot is, and following the customs of the country in dress and food and the rest of life, the manner of conduct which they display is wonderful and confessedly beyond belief. They inhabit their own fatherland, but as sojourners; they participate in everything as citizens, and endure everything as foreigners. Every foreign country is to them a fatherland and every fatherland a foreign country… They live on the earth but their citizenship is in heaven.~ The Epistle to Diognetus, near the end of the second century.

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