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Monday, April 26, 2010
The Complementarian Giant
The complementarian movement is huge. It is a well organized Goliath backed by organizations, denominations, seminaries, numerous conferences, authors, and money. . .lots of it.
It cannot be said that the phenomenal growth of complementarianism indicates the approval of God. There are religious cults that have been experienced phenomenal growth as well. Does that mean they are of God? Speaking of cults, the cultic overtones in complementarianism are unmistakable: Cults use dire warnings of woe or extravagant promises of temporal or eternal happiness to gain and hold the loyalty of members. Complementarianism does the same with predictions of familial and ecclesiastical disaster if women are given practical equality with men in the home and church. On the other hand, men and women are told that the closest thing to heaven on earth is in marriages where gender hierarchy is implemented. Cults claim their way is the only way. Complementarian leaders do the same when they accuse egalitarians of being in rebellion against God and blame equality for all manner of social problems.
At the True Woman Conference 2009, Mary Kassian connected gender equality with sparking the french revolution and the civil rights movement. She cited Rosa Parks as an example of an unbiblical woman. What is her view of Park’s part in starting the civil rights movement? She didn’t say, she simply continued quoting movements for “rights.” And in the process, she neglected to mention that Rosa Parks was a committed Christian who adored her husband but hated racial oppression based on inequality. Rosa Parks was right in not giving up her seat on the bus.
Kassian gave one example after another of secular feminism. What was her point? Where is the comparison between the Christian women and men who advocate for equality and the illustrations she gave? She chanted the complementarian mantras of gender confusion and lesbianism while never attempting to prove that Biblical feminists are immoral (she admits in her book, The Feminine Mistake, that no link can be found between secular and evangelical feminism). She displayed power point images with June Cleaver (the mother in the television series, Leave it to Beaver) representing true womanhood alongside an image of a scantily clad modern woman representing “feminism.” Kassian was careful to point out to her audience that the Mary (of the Mary Tyler Moore television series) was sexually active and on birth control (a one-time hint during a run of how many years?), but she conveniently neglected to point out to her audience how June Cleaver was portrayed as having a perfect life without the benefit of Jesus Christ in her life. How does that make June Cleaver an example to Christian women?
Kassian equated gender equality with women “rebelling” against “the males in their homes.” This attitude parallels that seen in homes where male abusers view attempts at equality, on the parts of their victims, as enemy action. Complementarian doctrine is the no different. There is no such thing as equal within that paradigm; it is either males in charge or females “rebelling.”
The recent Together for the Gospel Conference (T4G) drew 7,000 attendees from across the globe. The “…mostly young, mostly male crowd — reflective of the movement’s belief in male authority in churches and families — attended from around the nation and abroad, eagerly soaking up teachings and free books…The conference drew many Southern Baptists — particularly students from Southern Seminary, reflecting its role as nexus of the New Calvinism. Nearly 30 percent of recent graduates of Southern Baptist Convention seminaries who are now serving as church pastors identify themselves as Calvinists, according to a denominational survey.” (http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20100416/NEWS01/4170335/1008/news01/Confer... 4/24/2010)
With entire denominations adopting the council’s Danvers Statement, with the support of the inter-denominational Moody media empire, with seminaries, pastors, publishers and magazines promoting their agenda, the complementarian network is gargantuan. It is time for those who are serious about standing for gender equality for Christian women to stand together. That is the purpose of the Seneca Falls 2 (SF2) Conference. As Shirley Taylor said (who is going to be speaking at the conference), "It is time to put up or shut up."
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- April 26, 2010
Pastor and founder of Hungry Hearts Ministries, Jocelyn Andersen is the author of, Woman Submit! Christians & Domestic Violence, For more information about all her books, visit her author page at amazon.com/author/jocelynandersen