Quoting Quiverfull: Icky Patriarchy?

Quoting Quiverfull: Icky Patriarchy? November 21, 2013

by Doug Wilson from his blog Blog and Mablog – Patriarchy, Vision Forum, and All the Rest of it.

But the Word Patriarchy Makes Me Feel Icky
The word patriarchy has more than a narrow denotation. There are also connotations, which must be taken into account as well. It does no good to use a word, and then, when everybody in the world misunderstands me, to plead the dictionary. Some of these connotations are honestly come by and some of them are not.

First, consider the bad connotations that are the result of slander. Feminists diligently labor to represent any form of father rule as inherently bad, or at least as bad as a relativist can make it out to be — which is pretty bad since the case need not be based on careful reasoning, but rather just screeching. Screeching goes a long way these days.

So, after a generation of saps has gone through the feminist indoctrination that we call the university system, all you have to do is use the word patriarchy in some unapologetic way, and everybody stares at you like you were a six inch cockroach or something. So what we have to do is discount the slander while taking into account the effects of that slander over time. This is a delicate operation, however — swap in a word like complementarity for patriarchy and you might find that you imported more squish factor than was initially intended.

But the other factor affecting the connotations of the word has to do with the behavior of those who profess to be champions of it. The central connotation-generator that comes from ostensible fans of patriarchy is the problem exhibited by those who have super-high views of authority for everyone that is under their authority, but with virtually non-existent views of the authority that God placed over them. Husbands who fall for this demand submission from their families, and never exhibit it themselves. The Bible does give a father and husband true authority in his family. But it also gives the elders of the church true authority over that family (Heb. 13:7,17). There is a kind of male conceit that does not know how to submit, and a number of these people have embraced the word patriarchy. They think biblical worldview thinking consists of nothing more than irritating feminists.

Comments open below


QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders and ask our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull honestly and thoughtfully.

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce


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  • Sarah Henderson

    Riiiight… The problem here (without getting into the question of why maleness = power instead of any other way of wresting power) is that whoever holds the power can decide and dictate what their responsibility is, and those under the power cannot respond or mitigate because they are automatically assumed to be more fallible than the power holder. If the powerless person embraces the power imbalance, so much the worse for the submissive and the power holder – the name of absolute power is corruption.

    We see it over and over in any other power system, godly power imbalance is still imbalance, and lack of accountability except from those also benefiting from the power breeds corruption.

  • herewegokids

    Preach. It. I’ve been all over that blog lately. Benevolent tyranny (assuming it IS benevolent) is still tyranny.

  • Baby_Raptor

    If you** take a look at the connotations of a thing or practice and what you see makes you feel wrong, that might be a sign that what you’re considering is wrong. Just a thought.

    **general you.

  • Nea

    Nothing says “I honestly value women and will treat them well” like immediately dismissing almost a century’s struggle against obvious second class treatment as irrational, slanderous screeching.

  • Nea

    Also, it also gives the elders of the church true authority over that family will never! Ever! go horribly sideways when it turns out the elders are venial, abusive men themselves. They are all holdup men, because age! But mostly because penis!

    …. and don’t nobody bother their pretty or manly head about where that holy penis might be going…

  • “Feminists diligently labor to represent any form of father rule as inherently bad, or at least as bad as a relativist can make it out to be ” – D Wilson

    The likes of Wilson will also call some Bible-believing Christians feminists, even though we believe there are things which are objectively wrong.

    And there would be some feminists who believe in moral rightness and wrongness without believing the Bible. As such, saying that feminists can only represent something as “as bad as a relativist can make it out to be” is false.

    “The Bible does give a father and husband true authority in his family. But it also gives the elders of the church true authority over that family (Heb. 13:7,17).” – D Wilson

    Amazingly, the only text that gives a husband authority – using a word for authority – is 1Cor 7:4 that gives husbands and wives the exact same authority!

    The only other texts that comes close to giving a man authority is Eph 6:4. It uses a word that could be translated fathers or parents, and the only other place that plural appears in the new testament it is obviously “parents”, not “fathers.”

    Anyone who sees fatherly/ husbandly authority more than wifely/ motherly authority in the Bible chooses to see it. But Jesus himself said “Mat 23:9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.” He called us to a kingdom where even fathers are brothers.

  • Saraquill

    So feminist indoctrination in the form of higher education and a greater chance of financial independence is bad. Penis worship under the guise of quote mining the Bible is good?

  • “The name of absolute power is corruption.”

    You took the words right out of my mouth. This is exactly why it’s beside the point if this man or that man exercises is patriarchal power with mercy; it’s still an unacceptably vulnerable position for the woman to be in.

  • Brennan

    I read the whole thing and it’s majorly icky (to use his term). In the conclusion, he appears to compare Doug Phillips to Samson (who fills the role of Delilah in that analogy is left to the imagination). This particular section strikes me as a power-grab, though (in addition to the usual antifeminist-and-proud schtick, which . . . *yawn*). Maybe some of the testosterone-poisoned dudes in his flock are getting harder for him to control, thus this call to “submit.” Tellingly, there is no reference to the guys at the top of the food chain having to submit–not to God or anyone else. In a post that’s supposedly about the Vision Forum situation, he offers not one solution to the problem of Phillips’s bad behavior. Supposedly, the problem is with everybody else.

  • KarenJo12

    Don’t forget this gem and today’s screed against Rachel Held Evans, who once had the brass to actually criticize The Great Man Himself.

  • Nea

    Well, if you get the education, you might notice the mining and think for yourself about the words you read and we can’t have THAT!

  • Nea

    If he’s defending Phillips, he may be having trouble with not testosterone poisoned fathers but concerned ones who worry that their daughters may have been taken advantage of.

  • Trollface McGee

    “Feminists diligently labour to represent any form of father rule as inherently bad”
    No, feminists point out that giving someone power solely based on their genitalia and the emissions of said genitalia is not a wise or just system. Also, nice with the “screeching” comment, yes, we’re all screeching harpies, such a new insult, excuse me while I yawn.

    “…feminist indoctrination that we call the university system”
    Hmm…universities will probably expose you to females, maybe even female professors, and maybe you’ll come out of a university with a higher level of understanding gender relations than “girls are icky and have cooties,” again, why is this a bad thing?

    But no, I understand – the problem isn’t that we’re automatically giving people power based on genitalia which is pretty darn stupid. It’s that guys don’t have enough respect for guys with..erm..bigger genitalia? older genitalia? I don’t know. Patriarchy is bad, and stupid because it gives power to people regardless of their merit and that’s a dumb and unjust way of doing things and lady cooties haven’t a thing to do with it.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Any penis worship is good.

  • Baby_Raptor

    “Superior” genitalia?

  • Trollface McGee

    Oh I don’t know, it’s all submit to guy because he’s a guy but then submit to the other guy more because.. I don’t know.. I think patriarchy is just a jazzed up form of phallic worship.

  • It amazes me that Phillips cannot understand the difference between claiming women are to be “colonized and conquered” and wishing someone “Happy Holidays.” These uses of words are not in the same class at all, and to treat them like they are is completely disingenuous.