… Ruth Tucker’s Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife.
Complementarianism, as popularly taught in the CBMW crowd, is falling apart at the seams. Traditional complementarians, like Aimee Byrd here, are weighing and some of its so-called leading lights — like Owen Strachan — seem now to be losing some platform space.
I measure “biblical” teaching about male-female relations by (1) how cruciform it is, (2) how often Song of Solomon are mentioned (the only book in the Bible talking about the topic), and (3) how central (or not) subordination is — now we can ask how important Trinitarian Subordinationism is to those making statements (the more it is, the less biblical it becomes).
But there is something Ruth Tucker abandons. And that is what adds another layer to the storytelling in this book. Tucker is now an egalitarian, arguing for mutuality in marriage, church office, and society. She no longer supports the complementarian teaching that “although men and women are created equal in their being and personhood, they are created to complement each other via different roles and responsibilities as manifested in marriage, family life, religious leadership, and elsewhere.” While celebrating gender distinction, Tucker argues that complementarian teaching is unbiblical and provides fuel for abusive relationships. This argument is woven throughout her testimony of enduring and escaping abuse.I’ve read the reviews by complementarians in my so-called circles that, while having sympathy for Tucker’s story of abuse, say they cannot give their recommendation of the book, even turning their reviews into corresponding arguments of why Tucker’s egalitarianism is wrong. And that is why this is a different kind of book review. I would like to engage with the complementarian reviews of this book with my own response. I am bothered by how these reviews from within my own circles have not really listened, have not really learned, and have not really engaged with Ruth Tucker….So, I was bothered by the reviews that don’t recommend Tucker’s book due to her egalitarian position. One common critique among them is that Tucker’s view of complementarianism is wrong. Complementarianism does not teach abusive headship, it teaches using the model of how Christ leads his church. I think the author would agree that her ex-husband would have been abusive no matter what doctrine he held. But here’s the problem: the “that’s not complementarianism” critique doesn’t have a leg to stand on when some of it’s most well-known proponents are quoted in the book teaching devastating applications of complementarianism. And while their teaching doesn’t advocate abuse ostensibly, it doesn’t protect women who are abused—at all. It exposes them to more abuse. And so it is fuel for an abuser. These are devastating quotes that need to be addressed. We must ask—what is being taught in the name of complementarianism? Are all of its teachings biblical? That is a question I have been asking the leaders in the movement for a while now. …
So here’s my question: why are complementarians so quick to call out an abuse victim’s egalitarianism and yet so absolutely silent about the troubling teaching she quotes from many leading complementarians? This is why Ruth Tucker wants nothing to do with your theology—you refuse to confront the damaging errors within it. And I’d say that is not worthy of the word complementarity.