Is a soft-spoken, politically correct, and diplomatic approach always the best way to deal with the subject of hierarchal role religion based on sex? Role religion paradigms such as patriarchal complementarianism that require female subjection to male control, are so detrimental to so many (even resulting in death for some) that it no longer make sense to waste years on dialogue that to date, as far as the status of Christian women are concerned, has gotten us as good as nowhere.
The Freedom for Christian Women Coalition (FreeCWC) is sometimes accused of not being “irenic,” but the truth is that FreeCWC is irenic in the truest sense of the word which is defined as, “aimed at peace” or “promoting or intended to promote peace.” That has always been our ultimate goal. We believe that functional equality between all Christians is the only medium in which true peace can exist. That basic premise underlies all we do in the battle for freedom for Christian women, and men. It should come as no surprise that many men, as well as women, have also grown weary of being dictated to by those who have declared themselves to be the last word on Christian living and relationships.
In our goal of achieving freedom for Christian women, we have the Biblical example of our Savior, who is also called the Prince of Peace, who never shied away from aggressive words or behavior when the situation called for it (Matthew 3:7, 10:34-37, John 2:15).
Our commitment to Christian men and women in bringing about true peace through functional equality stands in stark contrast to the writings of many evangelical leaders who advocate war instead. One example of this is well known pastor and teacher, John MacArthur who, in his teaching “The Fulfilled Family” quoted World War Two Field Marshall Montgomery as saying, “Gentlemen, don’t even think about marriage until you have mastered the art of warfare.” MacArthur is an immensely popular pastor and is only one among many who teach that marriage is fundamentally a war between husbands and wives, a war that husbands must win before a marriage can be considered biblically successful.
Presbyterian pastor, David Bayly wrote the following: “The young man who pursues marriage enters a foreign land where he wages war. On the hinges of that battle lie happiness or shame . . . But though a potential bride may be deeply loved, she’s also at some level the foe. To achieve victory the young man must not only win her, he must defeat her and her family, snatching her from their bosom, converting her to himself, breaking her natural bonds with father and mother, brother and sister, nurse and friend, dog and home. There’s little that’s tender about it. At funerals we cloak harsh reality in kind words and soft colors. So too, at weddings soft words and vibrant colors disguise a bloody truth. The wedding ceremony is really a mini-Versailles, an Appomattox-in-a-nutshell of capitulation and triumph, the surrender of one woman to one man, the victory song of groom over both bride and family.”
The only thing that can end this war (that the above quotes illustrate was not declared by FreeCWC but from which we will not turn tail and run) and promote true peace among all Christians, male or female, married or single, is absolute functional equality practiced among all Christians regardless of sex. Those who stand for equality along with the Freedom for Christian Women Coalition are simply striving to overthrow the heinous, unbiblical, and dangerous precept of perpetual female servitude, which the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) claims to extend from time into eternity. This unhealthy and false precept not only harms women, but children and men as well.
When fighting the patriarchal colossus of complementarianism so zealously promoted by Pastors like John MacArthur, David Bayly, and CBMW—and financed with tithes, offerings, and huge grants—and promoted heavily through the Southern Baptist Life Way Bookstores, it is not always possible or even feasible to be diplomatic.
Time is of the essence. While we spend years “dialoguing,” lives are wasted and destroyed and the tenets of complementarianism are perpetuated en mass, across denominational and international boundaries. A new generation is being indoctrinated which leaves future generations burdened with this senseless war which is about nothing less than absolute control of one sex over the other.
When David collected five smooth stones to aim at Goliath, was he being diplomatic? No. In his case, as in ours, the time for diplomacy was long past. Was he doing the right thing in seeking to destroy the giant who was seeking to destroy him and bring about the overthrow of everyone he knew and loved? Absolutely.
Patriarchal and complementarian leaders have historically not responded to dialogue, nor are they now. In 2010, the Freedom for Christian Woman Coalition issued a demand for an apology from the leadership of the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood for the immeasurable inflicted on women through their unbiblical teachings. the apology demand was sent via FedEx, and was confirmed, through tracking the package and viewing the signature, that it was indeed received. To date, with the exception of a seemingly casual tweet from Al Mohler about how confused the women from FreeCWC seemed, CBMW has yet to respond in any way.
In raising awareness to the level needed to bring about the peace that only true functional equality can bring, we, like David, have found it necessary to throw rocks at this giant called complementarianism and pray our aim is true.
David had no qualms about boldly and aggressively standing up for what he believed was right. When threatened by the Philistine giant, he understood that attempting dialogue, at that point, was a useless endeavor. He also understood that cowering with the others in the Israelite camp brought no glory to God and accomplished absolutely nothing toward saving an entire nation from slavery.
Thankfully, David had no stomach for either cowering or diplomacy when the situation called for stronger measures. His words, then, directed at those who would disparage his methods for achieving peace and freedom, still ring true today…
“Is there not a cause!?”