Friday, March 13, 2009

Complementarians Not Traditionalists? Hogwash!

Complementarian leaders claim they are not traditionalists when it comes to gender roles, however, I have been reading reams of their literature and can find little if anything in them to back that claim.

In the late 1980's The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) was founded. They released The Danvers Statement, and in order to soften the true nature of their hard line, traditionalist, theology in regards to gender roles, created the warm, fuzzy moniker "Complementarian" to describe themselves.

The truth is, complementarians are just as rigid, if not more so, than traditionalists. And there is only one major difference, that I can find, between evangelical traditionalists and complementarians in regards to gender roles, and that is that most traditionalists teach that female subordination is a result of the Fall while complementarians, along with fundamentalist traditionalists, teach that female subordination was mandated as part of the original creation.

So what is the real difference between the two? In practical application, virtually nothing. But it is worthwhile to note that evangelical traditionalists now recognize that their theology has always provided a loophole for New Testament Christians in removing the yoke of subordination from women while fundamentalist complementarian theology neatly plugs the hole. Since the late 1980's, evangelicals have been jumping the traditional ship by the boatloads and climbing on board the fundamentalist complementarian bandwagon in regards to gender issues.

Before 1987, most leading evangelical leaders, churches and seminaries were traditional, including the influential Moody Bible Institute. Another example is Beverly LaHaye, president of Concerned Women for America and wife of bestselling author, Tim LaHaye. LaHaye took the traditional position in her 1984 book, The Restless Woman where she carefully explained that males and females were originally created equal but that the Fall changed all that resulting in the ongoing subordination of women in rigidly prescribed "roles" for them in marriage, church, and society. Today, it appears LaHaye has traded traditionalism for complementarianism. She currently serves on the Board of Reference for the "Complementary" CBMW.

Complementary? Who gets complemented? Let's face it, in both complementarian theology and practice, it is the female--always--who complements the male; she completes him, she assists him, her calling is to help him fulfill his calling, etc., etc., so on and so forth, ad infinitum.

Putting the dynamics of such a relationship in perspective isn't very difficult. Take steak and Lea and Perrin's for example, what complements what? Does the steak complement the sauce? Or is it the other way around? What about French-fries and catsup? Do the French-fries complement the catsup?

Of course not! And in a "complementarian" marriage, the wife is always the sauce or the catsup, never the steak or the french-fries. So where is the "complementary" aspect? In practice, it does not exist. Why? Because in practice, in a true "complementarian" relationship, no one should be the steak or the French-fries, and no one should be the mere complementary condiment "completing" the main course.

In view of the uncomplementary nature of complementarian theology, I refuse to any longer refer to them by a title which I believe is deliberately deceptive. Therefore, I have created a title which I believe more accurately describes complementarians and all others of their ilk. From henceforth, I refer to all fundamental and evangelical male supremists as, TRADITIONAL "ROLE" RELIGIONISTS--TRR'S for short

Upcoming New Release: Woman this is WAR! Gender, Slavery, & the Evangelical Caste System, by  Jocelyn  Andersen, is scheduled for release in 2010. Visit the following link if you would like receive a release announcement by email:

1 comment:

Chris said...

I agree...and I prefer to use the term Patriarchy. I believe this best sums up their position. Thank you for the ideas about the wife being the only one who is complementing anything in a complementarian relationship. Keep on knowing in your heart Jesus's true message which was one of peace and equality. As you have said, this type of mentality leads to abuse and abuse (if not bad enough on its own) leads to divorce. Jesus was completely anti divorce, so what do we do? Try to save marriages to follow Jesus's orders or continue to preach a "complementarian" message which isn't helping people stay married at all. As I am sure most of us are aware, born again Christians have the highest divorce rates and atheist the lowest. I would think that our ultimate goal would be to save marriages, not the promotion of patriarchy no matter its consequences. I could go on and on, but thank you for the good post