Complementarianism is fundamentally flawed and anti-Christian

I have had a busy few days, so no time to write anything new. But there is something which I wrote, in a comment on my recent post asking whether women will ever be equal, which I think deserves to be upgraded to a post. Here is what I wrote:

To me the whole of complementarianism, as I see it, is fundamentally flawed and anti-Christian because it is predicated on a concept of authority which is completely opposed to the teaching of Jesus and the apostles. I donโ€™t mean to say that all complementarians are anti-Christian, but I do say that their thinking has been taken captive by an anti-Christian worldly philosophy of authority, which has its roots more in Machiavelli and Nietzsche than in Jesus.

If these words sound strong, contrast what some complementarians have to say about the authority given to husbands and pastors with the concept of Christian authority I have put forward in my previous posts on this subject. See the contrast made especially plain here. The following is an example of the complementarian position, as put forward by Bruce Ware quoted here:

It is God-like to submit to rightful authority with joy and gladness as it is God-like to exert wise and beneficial rightful authority.

But where does the Bible say anything about humans exerting this kind of authority, which is indeed God’s prerogative?

10 thoughts on “Complementarianism is fundamentally flawed and anti-Christian

  1. I wholly concur with the claim that the issue is about authority and not about teaching of some other issue. As I have said before I reject that the claim that ‘complementarians’ or actually complemetarian; they are hierarchical and not complementarian. Although there is an absurd form of egalitarianism that is not complementarian, only an egalitarian view can be complementarian as only in an egalitarian system can authority follow gifting and character. As Martin Luther King put it (roughly) “I long to see the day when my children are judged not by the colour of their skin but on the character of their hearts.” In the same way we ought to seek leadership that reflects skills and character rather than some arbitrary external feature.

  2. I appreciate this post very much. Some have noted in the past, the small number of women participating in the bibliosphere. It seems there is a general attitude that both men who treat women as equals, and those who don’t, must be accepted on a common footing.

    This means that women, who cannot change the fact that they are women, are less equal than those men who do not support the equal treatment of women. A man can change his views about how women should be treated, but a woman cannot change her sex.

  3. sorry to go off topic here.

    Our forums at need a new host, desperately. And we need someone trustworthy. If anyone can help, we’d really appreciate it.

    I don’t feel safe to give out my email publically, but if you log onto the forums and IM any of the moderators, they will be able to respond.

  4. In the same way we ought to seek leadership that reflects skills and character rather than some arbitrary external feature.

    I have teenage children, boy and girl. Neither of them consider any of their external features arbitrary. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Sorry to go off topic. The issue deserves more gravity than I bring to it.

  5. Thanks for the comments, and for the encouragement that they are not hostile!

    John, I’m sure nobody’s external features are arbitrary. What is arbitrary, I’m sure TC meant, is the link between them and exercise of authority.

    TL, I’m sorry, I don’t think I can help. But I would hope that someone could find the $50 or so a year for a basic hosting package (like the one I use for this blog) which would probably support your forum.

  6. Thank you Kirk. I think we’ve found a good host. Now we need someone to help with techie stuff. I’m sure the Lord will provide, since He’s blessed the forums abundantly in the past many years.


  7. Peter, what would you say about Noah cursing his (grand)son in Genesis 9?

    Noah certainly has an anticlimactic ending going from hero to victim there — so he’s certainly not a perfect authority. But aren’t we left to assume that God enforced the curse and also the blessings on Japheth and Shem?

    Now, I know this doesn’t directly relate, and I’m not particularly interested in arguing. But since this is at least a tangent to the question of humans having God’s authority, I’m hoping you’ll indulge me in explaining this. Thanks!

  8. Gary, it is clear that especially in the Old Testament blessings and curses had a very real power. The two blessings by Isaac also show this. But this is not a matter of one human having authority over another. Nor does it imply that God wants us to go around cursing others. That is not all there is to say on the matter, but I think it is all that is relevant to this thread. I may come back to the matter in another post I have in mind.

  9. Pingback: Gentle Wisdom» Blog Archive » Authority, power and rights in the New Testament, part 1

  10. I wish the author wold talk about the distinction between anti christian (that is opposed to the capture of christians) witch the thinly veiled misogyny called complementarianism is definitely not; and the incomparable with (and averse to) theology, which it definitely is.

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