Still here. Working on some longer more practical posts, so I haven’t been AWOL totally.
Aaron Renn (The Masculinist) interviewed Denny Burk (current president of CBMW) on complementarianism. Wanted to throw this out there for people who haven’t seen it.
I’ve been pretty critical of complementarianism in the past as mentioned in several posts. Complementarianism’s “intelligent submission” debunking, Modern Complementarianism weasels, Relational archetypes and more insight into the false godliness of complementarianism theology, Complementarianism – holding to a form of godliness but denying its power. These are only some of the few at least.
Aside from looking at the distinctions between egalitarians and complementarians, Denny distinguishes between hard and soft complementarians. “Soft” meaning that these people only see that there should be no female leadership in the family or the Church but women can pretty much do everything else. On the other hand, “hard” complementarians — of which he is one — see the innate differences between man and woman in creation (e.g. 1 Corinthians 7 and 1 Timothy 2 referring to creation order) as not just applying to leadership but should affect one’s whole worldview of the roles of men and women in the Church.
Denny also talks about the fact that the soft complementarian position will likely devolve into more soft and then overt egalitarianism (e.g. feminism) as it’s not rooted in anything the Bible actually says. In other words, if you’re not standing for truth you’ll likely be swayed away from it as the culture becomes more hostile to Christian positions.
Credit where credit is due in that he seems to agree with the positions that I and many others have touted here by standing on the Truth of the Bible.
Aaron and Denny note at the end it seems like some (a lot? many? most?) pastors and Churches don’t give advice that facilitates that they actually believe in a complementarian theological position but instead they tend to give advice that tends to jive with the wider culture. Aaron points out that theme of “servant leader” is pretty much just about serving to most Christians without the leadership/authority. Denny agrees but points out that the serving is not the issue (after all Jesus served), but it’s the lack of authority that is the issue not the serving. Aaron counter points out that in most cases what happens is the inverse: it is the the authority who should get to decide how to serve (e.g. Jesus wanted to wash the disciples feet, Peter didn’t want Him to do that for Him initially).
Unfortunately, they acknowledge that this is a problem, but they didn’t really give any particular time to talk about potential solutions.
The biggest issue that I think that Denny did not understand or at least contemplate is that Jesus’ authority is directly tied to love and service. The main point that I continually bring up is the “happy wife, happy life” mentality where the husband gets cajoled by pastors and other Church leaders into thinking that if his wife is happy he’s doing a good job of loving and serving her. This cannot be further away from the Truth.
As I’ve gone over a zillion times, the purpose of Christ’s sacrificial love is for the purpose of sanctification not happiness. If a husband is tying his headship/authority/leadership to making his wife happy instead of serving God and wanting his wife to be more holy then that is making an idol out of his wife’s feelings.
In any case, I’d be interested in a follow up podcast to see what practical advice Denny Burk would recommend to Churches, pastors, and fellow Christian husbands and wives to live out Biblical headship. That’s where the true rubber meets the road.