In 5 Key Ways to Cultivating Biblical Manhood in Your Church Dr. Allen writes:
Fifth, as preachers, we must intentionally enlist, equip, and empower men into leadership roles in our churches. Biblically, theologically, and logically, the indispensable ingredient to complementarianism is biblical manhood. One of the recurring arguments that undermines male leadership in the church is the absence of biblically-qualified male leaders. Let us determine to make the red herring, “What if there is no man to lead or preach?” an extinct species.
This is an interesting statement, because while he calls the argument a red herring, he doesn’t dispute it. In fact, his solution (training more men) suggests that the argument is in fact true*.
This leaves two possibilities. The first (and I believe most charitable) is my assertion from my last post that he is making a similar case regarding church leadership that complementarians make about the military; women are being forced to fill a leadership vacuum in the church because there aren’t enough qualified men willing to lead. This claim is of course absurd, but as I wrote I think this is the more charitable reading of his statement.
A less charitable interpretation would be to assume that he understands that the real problem is that women are in full rebellion and are using claims of men not being available to lead as a cynical smokescreen for their rebellion. This is less charitable because given his insistence that the answer to the problem is not to tell women no, this would mean that he knows what the real problem is but is too fearful to do what is right. The reason for his refusal to act against the rebellion could be fear of the wrath of the women who are rebelling, or fear of acknowledging a key lie underpinning complementarianism. It could also be a combination of fear of backlash from rebellious women and a fear of backlash from other complementarian men.
At any rate, what is without question is that Dr. Allen is focusing his attention on other men’s leadership failures (men who unlike him aren’t even in leadership) while allowing a very open rebellion from women in his own organization. The article his seminary published in January, The Problem With Our Complementarianism, is without question the most unabashedly feminist complementarian piece I have read to date; I was surprised to see a complementarian seminary publish something so overtly hostile to men in leadership. The article is indefensible, and that it not only was published but has not been retracted tells us a great deal about the status quo of his seminary. That this rebellion is going on unchecked in his own backyard is striking in and of itself, but it is all the more astounding given his very public complaints that there aren’t enough men in leadership.
*Labeling an argument a red herring only means that the argument isn’t relevant. In this case, he appears to be arguing that women really are feeling forced to take over leadership roles due to a lack of qualified men, yet the lack of qualified men doesn’t change the fact that only men should hold those positions.