Women being “subservient” is everything Jesus opposed

Women being “subservient” is everything Jesus opposed May 15, 2015


Hi friends. Very busy with The Next Big Thing relative to the novel I’ve written. I’m beyond excited about it. More soon!

In the meantime, I continue to receive emails and online messages “informing” me that nothing whatsoever about the doctrine of complementarianism sanctions wife abuse.

And I continue to get in at least as many stories from women who suffered ungodly years of abuse because they were raised within the world of fundagelicalism (a word I take seriously, since it denotes a strain of Christianity more widespread than fundamentalism without unduly disparaging all evangelicals—even though I dream of a world wherein no Christian is comfortable calling themselves evangelical).

That the former group continues to deny any responsibility for the latter is just (alas!) one more example of the fundagelical’s unfortunate but apparently endless capacity for putting (self-serving; always self-serving, one can’t help but notice) doctrine ahead of the love that Jesus insisted his followers put above all.

The idea that women were born to be men’s “sacrificially obedient helpmeets” is everything that Jesus Christ opposes, because it creates an oppressed, voiceless, and unprotected class of people.

If there’s a better way of saying that, lemme know, k?


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  • I would add voiceless, but other that, perfection.

  • yeah, good call. lemme go do that.

  • Dani Smith

    And instills the opinion that transgender women are even less human for giving up their masculinity.

  • lymis

    In Christ there is neither male nor female. If Christ makes no distinctions, to the degree of not even being able to SEE a distinction, it does not make any sense to claim that Christianity requires elevating those differences to the most significant thing about people.

  • Attempts by complementarians to justify their position always sound Orwellian to me: “oh we believe that God made all people equal, but he also made some people more equal than others.”

  • I felt put on a pedestal as a woman in Pentecostalism, but it was a false pedestal. It was like giving an overworked working mom flowers on Mother’s Day: an pretty but ultimately empty gesture, when what she really needs is for her partner and kids to do their share instead of shunting it all onto her. The second that pedestal got inconvenient, then it got knocked out from under me. Now I say I’d settle for equality; I don’t want or need pedestals and distrust men who say they put women there because I saw all too often how seldom reality matched those grand words.

    You can’t tell women that they’re equal in Jesus and then tell them that they’re always supposed to follow. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that leaders > followers. That sanctimonious way that men said they were “serving by leading” always raised my hackles–even as a true-blue Christian I didn’t fall for that, and didn’t know any women who did even among my peers in church. We all knew it was self-serving nonsense meant to make us think they were working super-hard to be proper godly leaders. And then I had to sit through the careful, nitpicky way they described how husbands “should” listen to their wives (it was called “taking their counsel”) about stuff, all mingled with telling them that ultimately they could ignore or discard anything those women said that didn’t mesh with what they wanted to do. Wives were taught that of course they should raise objections to dumb ideas or offer suggestion–but very carefully so as not to provoke or harm that tender male ego (this was a thing taught: men had super-fragile egos like the tenderest hothouse orchids, but were also strong godly leaders ordained by Jesus to lead their own particular wives, RRAWR!), and if their husbands didn’t like what their wives said and ignored them, then those women should just pray lots and lots if it bothered them but not ever actually rebel or disobey. Rebellion and disobedience were like the unforgivable sins. When I tried to get help from my pastor, I got told to pray lots and lots for Jesus to make Biff a better husband and leader. If he was a terrible leader, I asked, then why had Jesus put him in charge of me? Why was I supposed to rely on someone who had no idea how to lead me? Did my pastor take his car to a terrible mechanic in hopes that he’d learn on the job? Wasn’t my soul more important than a car? I didn’t get an answer.

    There’s a reason why we only see the really awful scandals erupting out of fundagelical churches that teach this crap. Strip voices, rights, and power from women, and they’ll be left victims waiting to be devoured by wolves. There’s no Jesus making all Christian men better people by magic, but fundagelicals just close their eyes and trust that this is so despite glaring and blinding evidence that it is not at all how things work in real life. The 5% or so of women who do well are lauded; the 95% or so (by my estimate) who end up miserable or must flee like I did in the middle of the night to escape physical harm are ignored or blamed for doing something wrong. And the near-100% of men in fundagelicalism who buy into this teaching laugh all the way to the bank.

  • Jim Redman

    The Hebrew term translated a “help meet” for Adam is “Ezer Kenegdo”. “Help meet” is twisted by male-headship preachers to say that Eve was intended to be “the help” or assistant, not Adam’s equal. But that is not how the Bible actually uses this. In at least 16 places, God is said to be man’s “help” as in “to succour” and this is from “Ezer Kenegdo”. So unless one is willing to make God inferior to the human being helped, it means either superior or equal. Otherwise, if man is strong by himself, why would he need the “help” of an inferior? Generally the weaker needs the help of the stronger.
    It also contains the element of guidance, such as curbing one’s less constructive impulses. In which case Adam would have been accustomed to listen to Eve as one at least as wise as himself
    So I submit that the intention was “an appropriate companion and counselor” rather than an inferior servant.
    Some takes by others on the same thing – Note my interpretation of guidance from another whole person across from the position of the male is not in agreement with the last paragraph here:



    The man, in Hebrew, did not lose a rib. The word is
    not “ala”, rib, but “tsela” or side. Put that together with
    the fact that Adam before Eve does not have any term indicating gender. When
    the human is divided into two, after looking around and seeing the animals in
    pairs and appreciating the lack, THEN they are male and female.

    Quite a different picture when examining the Hebrew than when studying
    in an English translation with the cultural filters we all have grown up with.
    I certainly did.


  • Shiphrah99

    More literally, ezer k’negdo is a “helper over against him.” She’s /supposed/ to help him by pushing back and arguing!

  • Al Cruise

    For people that endorse complimentarianism, it shows a lack of basic brain intelligence on their part, more than anything else. I have a son and daughter in University who are taught by female professors, in the areas of complex math and computer science, to cutting edge micro biology that has led to life saving cures of diseases . Female researchers across the country have made many life saving discoveries in medicine that have saved lives of people. I wonder, would these religious fundie complimentarian dolts, refuse life saving treatment to one of their children because it was discovered by a woman. However according to them, a woman cannot teach about the love of Jesus and God and participate in the sharing of the good news the heals broken souls as pastors and teachers, as God has gifted many to do. Jesus said by their fruits you will know them. Female pastors and leaders produce fruit that is from the “good tree” therefore it is from God. Don’t let false prophets tell you otherwise. Matthew 7-15,21.

  • Snooterpoot

    I think “complimentarianism” is just a code word for penis and vagina.

  • Jonathan

    I guess it’s at least a tad better than asinine jokes about plumbing, though, right?

  • vj

    “Generally the weaker needs the help of the stronger.” – Gosh, never looked at it like this before 😉

    On a similar note, my pastor preached a couple of weeks ago that Adam and Eve TOGETHER were made in the image of God, and that before ‘the fall’ they were equal; if Jesus restores humankind to a pre-fall state, then there is NO validity to the ‘women must be submissive’ doctrine taught by many churches. The subjugation of wives in the church can only ever come about because the husbands are NOT taught to ‘love their wives as Christ loved the church, and gave Himself up for her’ – i.e. men are supposed to sacrificially love their wives, which I guess means ‘sacrificing’ their ‘superiority’, and accepting that they are equal partners? Certainly, we know from experience that a relationship in which one partner dominates at the expense of the other is NOT love…

  • vj

    I have benefited greatly from the books of Tim Keller, so was eager to read a book his wife Kathy wrote a while ago dealing with the role of women. I don’t share all her/their positions, but what really disappointed me about her book (don’t remember the title) is that she completely failed to address the argument that the Biblical injunction against women in church leadership was a result of the lack of educational opportunities available at the time. She herself is a seminary graduate, but does not believe she is eligible for a position of leadership in a church?? Why on earth not – surely she has so much more Biblical scholarship under her belt than the average male congregant, why would she not be qualified to teach the church? She didn’t provide any reasons for why this should be the case, she dodged the question completely 🙁

  • Al Cruise

    Could be. It could also describe men it which their penis is their brain.

  • Snooterpoot

    Yes, a tad. I do wish they’d just be honest, though.

  • Al Cruise

    I hear you. Somebody sent me a Tim Keller book, I threw it in the paper recycling bin at the post office right after I picked it up.

  • vj

    Ooh, that seems a bit extreme! (although it’s obviously entirely up to you what you do with anything)… While I don’t subscribe to ‘reformed’ theology as such, ‘Reason for God’ is a pretty awesome book, IMO, and ‘Generous Justice’ is very challenging on a practical level.

  • Al Cruise

    Calvin was a thug and a murderer. He used his theology to kill people in cold blood. Imagine today if somebody tried to put forth some of the ideas of Hitler in the same way the reformed group has done with Calvin. Truth is, Jesus never killed anyone, he put his theology in this simple truth “love your neighbor as yourself.” I will follow Jesus.

  • catalinakel

    Why, you ask? Because she is a woman. There is no reasoning with these folks.

  • catalinakel

    Really? How would I find this information from original sources. This is the first I’ve heard this.

  • Andy

    Yes. Exactly this.

  • AtalantaBethulia

    All you have to do is begin researching John Calvin, inquisition, and heretics and the history is all there. Many will try to defend him and minimize his role as not being directly involved, but the spirit of him is made clear.