In the discussion on my first post on Sarah Palin, some scepticism was expressed, especially by Jeremy Pierce, about whether John Piper actually holds the position that women should not be in authority over men in the secular sphere. I must admit that he is not completely explicit about this in the extract I quoted. But he certainly seems to be leaning strongly that way when it comes to matters of major authority such as a President would have.
After a couple of days when I had little time for blogging (and confused by Commentful’s failures to pick up comments on Complegalitarian, a problem with Blogger) I came back to the first post I made on this subject on Complegalitarian. This has now attracted 87 comments, most of which I have just read or skimmed. Among them the best answers to my original question have come from Molly Aley, formerly herself a rather extreme complementarian and now egalitarian – and also an Alaskan mother of five who has written Sarah Palin Rocks!
This comment by Molly links to a 2004 article from the influential Christian patriarchalist group Vision Forum which explicitly states, in a section heading, “The Biblical Doctrine of the Headship of Man Disqualifies a Woman for Civil Office”. Here is an extract:
Could it be that the man has headship only in the family and the church but not in the state? No, this could not be, lest you make God the author of confusion, and have Him violate in the state the very order He established at creation and has revealed in Holy Scripture! If one is going to argue for the acceptability of women bearing rule in the civil sphere, then to be consistent, he or she also needs to argue for the acceptability of women bearing rule in the family and the church.
Molly adds, and I agree:
I guess the one thing I do appreciate is that at least the patriarchy folks are consistant. If it’s not okay for women to rule in the home or in the church, why is it okay for them to rule in the government?
I think it’s a really fair question. I, for one, don’t understand how it is wrong for females to lead in the home or in the church, but okay in the civil sphere. I disagree (hotly) with Piper’s take, and with Vision Forum’s take, and yet I do appreciate the consistancy in the argument.
In another comment Molly quotes Voddie Baucham, who, according to Molly, is “featured on Focus on the Family and other fairly mainline ministries and a much lauded pastor/speaker in the SBC (and also works with Vision Forum)”. Lin also links to the same post. Baucham writes:
I believe Paul’s admonition should lead us to reject any notion of a wife and mother taking on the level of responsibility that Mrs. Palin is seeking. …
Mrs. Palin is not even supposed to be the head of her own household (Eph. 5:22ff; Col. 3:18; Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3:1-7), let alone the State of Alaska, or the United States Senate (The VP oversees the Senate). …
In an effort to win the pro-family political argument, we are sacrificing the pro-family biblical argument. In essence, the message being sent to women by conservative Christians backing McCain/Palin is, “It’s ok to sacrifice your family on the altar of your career; just don’t have an abortion.” How pro-family is that?
Sarah Palin seemingly has many of the right convictions but according to God’s word she is not the man for the job of Vice President and Christians who take Scripture seriously would be hard pressed to justify a vote for her.
First, Scripture teaches that God’s created order disallows a woman as civil magistrate. …
Second, Scripture explicitly teaches that one qualification for civil magistrate is maleness. …
So even if Piper is not quite explicit on this issue, some significant Christians are explicit, and consistent, in their “complementarianism”, which, as ASBO Jesus suggests, is sometimes a nice way of saying misogyny.