The first quarter of the twenty-first century has unequivocally proven that radical feminism is destructive. Feminism has assaulted education, attempting to teach children that subverted gender roles are the norm rather than an oddity.1See Michael Levin, “The Impact of Feminism on Primary Education,” in Gender Sanity, ed. N. Davidson, 82. Quoted within David J. Ayer’s “The Inevitability of Failure: The Assumptions and … Continue reading It has attacked the work force so that today, most women are unable to not work.2See: George Gilder, Men and Marriage (Gretna, LA: Pelican, 1986), 51. Quoted within Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, 389. It even led to the legalization of the murder of the unborn in the abortion movement.3See: Kristin Luker, Abortion and the Politics of Motherhood (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984), 176. Quoted within Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, 385. At its core, feminism is antithetical to Scripture and a Christian worldview. Because feminism views the world through an individualistic lens, rather than a familial and communal lens, it is incapable of adopting Scripture’s teaching on the role of men and women in the family, church, and society. Over a century ago, the great Princeton theologian B. B. Warfield saw the feminist movement for what it was—anti-Christian—and wrote with an almost prophetic voice:
The difference in conclusions between Paul and the feminist movement of today is rooted in a fundamental difference in their points of view relative to the constitution of the human race. To Paul, the human race is made up of families, and every several organism—the church included—is composed of families, united together by this or that bond. The relation of the sexes in the family follow it therefore into the church. To the feminist movement the human race is made up of individuals; a woman is just another individual by the side of the man, and it can see no reason for any differences in dealing with the two. And, indeed, if we can ignore the great fundamental natural difference of sex and destroy the great fundamental social unit of the family in the interest of individualism, there does not seem any reason why we should not wipe out the differences established by Paul between the sexes in the church — except, of course, the authority of Paul.4B. B. Warfield, “Paul on Women Speaking in Church.”
Feminism Leading the Charge in Rejecting Paul’s Teaching
Paul’s comments in Scripture are often called misogynistic by today’s society, which has been, in large part, dominated by feminist philosophy and rhetoric over the past century. It is almost unimaginable that any man would have the audacity to write what Paul or Warfield, did. In 1 Timothy 2:12, Paul writes that he does not permit women to speak in church. First Timothy 3:1–13 and Titus 1:5–9 make the case that only men are permitted to the position of elder or overseer. Ephesians 5:22–24 calls for women to submit to their husbands and for husbands to be head of the household.5As much as there is to say about the problems of feminism, there is also much to say about man’s failure to uphold His God-given responsibilities as God’s leader of the church and household. … Continue reading Time and again, Paul’s teaching is that men are to lead their wives and families in the love of Christ and wives are to submit to their husband’s rule. Scripture teaches that there is a difference between the sexes, instituted in God’s creation of male and female at the beginning (1 Tim 2:13), and those differences are to be honored and realized to their fullest potential within the confines of relationships. It is not the individualistic but the familial attitude that allows for the flourishing of both sexes.
The Family as the Solution
The trouble lies in the idea that man or woman can be an island to him or herself. Once individualism runs rampant and the view that the family is vitally important is done away with, the design, intent, and teleology of creation is virtually inverted on itself. The solution, then, is found within a robust anthropology that seeks to be faithful to the truth of the Word of God.
Churches must, like Warfield, promote an understanding of the sexes that encapsulates the conservative, complementarian view of gender roles, especially relating to their roles within the family and household. Men and women are equal in personhood, worth, and value. However, men and women are created for different purposes that the other is not meant to fulfill. This is true for the household as it is elsewhere, and when men and women are viewed in light of communion with Christ and with the knowledge that “it is not good for the man to be alone” (Gen 2:18), a familial, rather than an individualistic, concept of humanity will be embraced. A rejection of a familial perspective of the sexes in favor of an individualistic view will promote contrary worldviews like radical feminism.
Ephesians 5:22–6:4 makes it abundantly clear that there is to be a structure within the home, which corresponds to the structure of the Church.
At the head of the household stands man as the husband, father, and leader. He both provides for his family and protects his family, while also leading his wife in children in spiritual disciplines. Equal to him, yet under his authority and rule, stands his wife. The wife and mother of the home has much she is commanded to do and, indeed, much she can do; for example, Proverbs 31 depicts a woman who not only cares for her household and nurtures the people in her home, but also tends to the finances of the home in various ways. However, she is continually to submit to the authority of her husband. Just like the Christian finds freedom in Christ to obey his commands, the Christian wife finds freedom to serve her household and lead her children in a plethora of ways.
Beneath the father and the mother are the children of the household. While neither parent should needlessly provoke their child to wrath, they are to train their children up, cultivating spiritual disciplines within them. This means, within the social hierarchy of the home, children are equal in worth, value, and dignity to their parents, but are underneath their rule and jurisdiction.
The radical feminist movement, on the other hand, would see this all done away with in favor of a household that sees all persons submitting to the rule of the woman who, in this vision, is actually not at home anyway. This is because in the feminist vision, woman supplants man as the leader, ruler, provider, and protector of the household. With the vision of the home disoriented, it is no surprise that the vision of the church and society go with it as well. No longer are men the sole governors of a local church, who act as under-shepherds with Christ as the true Over-Shepherd. Rather, in a dismissal of a text like 1 Timothy 3:2, women are put into positions of power they were never meant to hold. Thus, Christ is dishonored as typology is totally ignored and women possess the power that men were to wield to point others to Jesus.
Society follows suit, as women enter positions of power that, though they are perhaps capable of functioning within, were not intended for them. They end up carrying burdens they were never meant to bear, and society is the worse for wear. This is fundamentally because they have rejected the authority of God’s Word. Returning to Warfield, he would go on to write:
It all, in the end, comes back to the authority of the apostles, as founders of the church. We may like what Paul says, or we may not like it. We may be willing to do what he commands, or we may not be willing to do it. But there is no room for doubt of what he says. And he certainly would say to us what he said to the Corinthians: “What? Was it from you that the word of God went forth? Or came it to you alone?” Is this Christianity ours — to do with as we like? Or is it God’s religion, receiving its laws from him through the apostles?6Warfield, “Paul on Women Speaking in Church.”
As Warfield noted, the issue is not so much whether one likes what Scripture has to say, or whether one even agrees with what Scripture says. The point is, God has prescribed laws within his Word for both individuals and families. When Christians possesses a robust theology of anthropology, they will recognize that God’s laws for men and women are designed with the good intention of causing the greatest of human flourishing. The goal of creation, after all, is not a desert island, but a garden city wherein the people of God, saved by Christ, dwell together with their King forever. This is a Kingdom comprised of a family, rather than merely expressive individuals. Thus, a familial lens, which honors Christ as Lord, is essential for a proper understanding of the sexes and true human flourishing of both men and women.
|1||See Michael Levin, “The Impact of Feminism on Primary Education,” in Gender Sanity, ed. N. Davidson, 82. Quoted within David J. Ayer’s “The Inevitability of Failure: The Assumptions and Implementations of Modern Feminism,” within Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism, ed. John Piper & Wayne Grudem, 389.|
|2||See: George Gilder, Men and Marriage (Gretna, LA: Pelican, 1986), 51. Quoted within Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, 389.|
|3||See: Kristin Luker, Abortion and the Politics of Motherhood (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984), 176. Quoted within Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, 385.|
|4||B. B. Warfield, “Paul on Women Speaking in Church.”|
|5||As much as there is to say about the problems of feminism, there is also much to say about man’s failure to uphold His God-given responsibilities as God’s leader of the church and household. There is even more to be said about men that do not love their wives or their children to the point of self-sacrifice.|
|6||Warfield, “Paul on Women Speaking in Church.”|