Is Andrew Wilson a Hard Complementarian, a Soft Complementarian or a Feminist? It’s Time for an Answer

Typical of the liberal-humanist media, Elder Andrew Wilson and Alastair Roberts (both from England and both alpha males) have been persecuted for simply pointing out that feminists do not understand true biblical equality, that ladies should not be in the military, and that women should not be CEOs:

The entrance of women into new spheres has often led to a weakening of the social power of those spheres, as women are often more vulnerable and easily exploited and less agentic and assertive in their typical modes of behaviour than men. As these social spheres and institutions were typically not designed merely for the empowerment of those within them, but for serving some broader social end and empowering society more generally, the loss of this power is a serious concern: the power structures of a social institution are weakened merely in order to include more women in its upper echelons.

They rightly argued that “many women would be much better served by robust and accessible universal healthcare” which is exactly what the church provided before the onslaught of tax-funded, Big Government, Obamacare. What is joyous to behold is that Elder Andrew may be bearing the fruits of repentance because only a year ago he talked about the “equality of men and women” without scare quotes. Not only does he now use scare quotes, he properly sees so-called secular “equality” between men and women as “an empty concept”.

So far, so hard complementarian. And there is more hard complementarianism–even in Elder Andrew’s feminist phase!

Essentialist feminism, which denies any essential differences between men and women other than the reproductive organs they have, does enormous although subtle damage to men, women and children. Marital feminism, which opposes any distinction in the parts played by a husband and a wife in marriage, is counterintuitive, ethnocentric and (more importantly) unbiblical, and often emasculates men and exasperates women.

Could. Not. Agree. More. So-called metrosexual Biblical Egalitarians, and even some soft complementarians (or so I’ve heard), sometimes share the cooking, change diapers, permit their wives employment, allow their wives to worship with uncovered heads, and they even carry effeminate manbags. This does not happen in Africa and is therefore ethnocentric. Tell me, who are the real racists now? My wife has, guided by His grace, chosen to do the feminine tasks and to submit to her loving husband. Tell me, who are the real sexists now?

Elder Andrew, an internationally respected authority on feminism, has also shown more of its flaws from a Bible perspective:

Anti-biblical feminism, whereby the scriptures are seen as chauvinistic and consequently stripped of their moral authority over our lives when it comes to sex and gender, simply expresses the age-old problem of rebellion against God’s rule, which goes right back to the garden, in a modern costume.

Absolutely! Ellen DeGeneres, Susan Sarandon, Brangalina, Jane Fonda, Hillary, and the rest of that lot are modern day Eves. Wake up America! Elder Andrew has some more sharp words for these hipster lesbo-feminists.

And then there’s the increasingly common and somewhat odious too-cool-for-school feminism, which works hard to present itself as hip and ironic in contrast to the prissy habitus of classical (let alone biblical) femininity, and then directs pointed snark at various scriptural passages, labels those who still live by them as sexist, and actively seeks to marginalise, scandalise and patronise both the men and the women who attempt to live out what we might call biblical sex roles (as, we might remember, well over 90% of Christians in history have).

Preach it Elder Andrew! What is wonderful about the Bible is that it is anti-Big Government and so when the intolerant liberal Post-Modernists get snarky they misinterpretate the point. I have the free choice to sell my daughter into slavery but I do not have to (Exodus 21:7-11). As I have exegeted previously, wives submit to their husbands (Ephesians 5:22-24), as the church submits to Christ, employee to employer, and a slave to their master (Ephesians 6:5; 1 Peter 2:18). This is all about a love, care and protection for the lady–and, as Elder Andrew shows, for society. When I ask my wife about my sermons, she freely admits that she appreciates the Holy Word more because she keeps her mouth firmly shut (1 Corinthians 14:34) and tries her best to listen.

Yet what worries me about Elder Andrew is that a year ago, in his pre-scare quote days, he talked about “vital, bold, heroic feminism, that takes the full equality of women with men and applies it to marriages, workplaces, churches and societies where men abuse women”. Is this feminism in the Hillary sense or femininsm in the hard complementarian sense (e.g. looking after your wife and protecting her from the workplace)? I think Elder Andrew’s latest offering shows that his hard complementarianism is stiffening.

But I am still puzzled.

Last year, Elder Andrew claimed that he heard that “84% of women in one African country said privately that they had been physically beaten by their husbands”. The question is, what does Elder Andrew think about this in terms of the bigger picture? Elder Andrew claimed that “Marital feminism, which opposes any distinction in the parts played by a husband and a wife in marriage, is…ethnocentric”. Is it ethnocentric to criticize the behavior of African men, including Bible-believing ones? I thought Africa was how we defended our arguments now! After all, the Whole of Africa and most of the Globe believe in miracles (unlike liberal America and intolerant Europe) and so biblical miracles really happened too. If we start thinking as Elder Andrew did, does this not mean preaching the resurrection is in vain (1 Corinthians 15.12-19)? It might even give the non-believer the impression that we are just using Africa and ethnocentricism tokenistically to support our arguments when they seem intolerant or weird!


Book review: Spencer, Salty Wives

My attention has been drawn to this new book which I will now review.

F. Scott Spencer, Salty Wives, Spirited Mothers, and Savvy Widows (Eerdmans 2012)

Engaging feminist hermeneutics and philosophy in addition to more traditional methods of biblical study, Salty Wives, Spirited Mothers, and Savvy Widows demonstrates and celebrates the remarkable capability and ingenuity of several women in the Gospel of Luke. While recent studies have exposed women’s limited opportunities for ministry in Luke, Scott Spencer pulls the pendulum back from a negative feminist-critical pole toward a more constructive center.

Granting that Luke sends somewhat “mixed messages” about women’s work and status as Jesus’ disciples, Spencer analyzes such women as Mary, Elizabeth, Joanna, Martha and Mary, and the infamous yet intriguing wife of Lot — whom Jesus exhorts his followers to “remember” — as well as the unrelentingly persistent women characters in Jesus’ parables.

This book probably has pros and cons. My view is that it is valuable but should be used with care because it might have traces of a softer complementarian position. Let me explain why.

  • Luke does not send “mixed messages” about women.
  • Eerdmans is good but it isn’t as trustworthy as IVP.
  • I’m not particularly happy that the author has felt the need “to engage” with feminist hermeneutics and philosophy, even if it restores the more constructive hard complementarian center. That sort of thinking can be safely ignored, not “engaged”. Would you “engage” with Hitler, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or the anti-gun nuts? No, thought not.
  • I am happy that the author has criticized the exposing (and “exposing” is exactly the right language) by Liberal Bible Scholars that Luke was a feminist and believed that women had “limited opportunities for ministry”. Luke was a hard complementarian who loved women through his medical ministry.
  • I am happy that more traditional methods of biblical study are used. Frankly, too many Liberal Bible Scholars have ignored J. I. Packer for far too long so it is good to see him being used in a book that will be read by them. Of course, hard complementarians never stopped using Pastor Packer. Some soft complementarians claim they never stopped but then they don’t have a problem with ladies teaching women so I doubt it every much.

But I’m particularly endorsing this book  (with all due qualifications) because “salty wife” is how I describe my wife after what I have done to, all over and sometimes in, her when I colonize her in the martial bed (on which see Pastor Mark Driscoll with Mrs Mark Driscoll and Jared C. Wilson and The Gospel Coalition). And she has never once complained.

– Pastor Randy Hawk

Is God Unequal to Men and Women? Yes, and for the Great Benefit of Womenfolk

The scriptures clearly testify that woman was created to serve man, and man was created to love and cherish woman. Those who deny these truths ignore the clear witness of the Bible to this effect (e.g. 1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 5:25), and so have no excuse. The Word of God is straightforward and true, unlike the convoluted attempts made by soft complementarians and the shrill voices of egalito-feminists which attempt to avoid the plain meaning of Scripture.

Nevertheless, there is a claim we often hear from soft complementarians and egalitario-feminists, who are more willing to listen to their own voices than hear the prompting of the Holy Spirit, is that these unbiblical positions are more “fair” towards ladies. This was the claim recently by Dirk Byrd who as many of you will know introduced division into the body of Christ this year by setting up his rival American League of Soft Complementarians. Although I find his exact point a bit unclear and confusing, involving some longwinded analogy about tennis, he does seem to be making the claim that the softening of God’s Word results in greater fairness towards womenfolk.

But is this really so?

To the contrary, it is only the uncompromising hard complementarian position, in obedience to ALL the scriptures, which can provide the full benefits God intended for women.

Let us read from Paul’s first epistle to Timothy, chapter 2 verse 15:

Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

Here we see that God, in his infinite wisdom, has offered women a special means of salvation, to rescue them from the “even more” original sin of Eve (even more original than Adam, who as Genesis chapter 3 shows, sinned only after Eve had first sinned). But wait! Men cannot be saved by childbearing, can they? Well, anything is possible these days, given the perversions we see on the news each day, but in the time of Paul, when men were really men and not Thai lady-boys or some such abomination, that was the case. So in 1 Timothy 2:15, God is offering a means of salvation to women that he does not offer to men, if they fulfill their matrimonial role and function as the passive conduits of new life. I suppose the politically correct crowd would cry, “Wait! But that’s unfair. We’re all the same!” But God, taking into account the inherent weakness of the daughters of Eve, has provided a special means for them to be saved. If this is “unfair” (which is a worldly way of describing it), it is surely “unfair” in favor of women! Where are the protesting hairy-legged egalito-feminists, now? Suddenly they’ve all gone quiet!

So, yes – God does treat us differently, even in the most important matter of our eternal salvation. But it simply a fallacy to equate different treatment with unfair treatment.

Of course, although 1 Timothy 2:15 tells us that women may be saved in childbearing, we need to read what follows: “… if they continue in faith …”. And faith comes only by accepting the Lord Jesus Christ into your heart, which is the same if you are a man or a woman. But what Paul is telling us today is that those women who resist their God-given passive role of childbearing will also resist accepting Jesus into their hearts. They prefer giving their souls to the Devil over giving their bodies to their husband for his possession.

So the next time you hear some egalitario-feminist complain that the hard complementarian position is “unfair to women” you tell them back: “No! Hard complementarians believe in inequality; but only feminists believe in unfairness“.

– Pastor Randy Hawk