OFTEN, THE RELATIONAL TENSIONS BETWEEN MEN
and women are described in terms of power or control. This semantic slant on the discussion often wrongly leads egalitarians to the conclusion that headship includes the forceful use of power by a man, resulting in domination if not outright abuse of his wife. Because of this, egalitarian efforts to level the distinctions between men and women in the home and the church are easily focused on the woman’s reclamation or assertion of power or control in the relationship.
Power and Control is the foundation of the Duluth model that has saturated our thinking on domestic violence. Since complementarians believe that feminist envy and rebellion is caused by men, they of course identify the root of problem not as radical feminists obsessed with usurping power, but men who aren’t loving their wives* (emphasis mine):
A glimpse at some Biblical injunctions should correct this false assumption and its conclusion. Jesus’ reminded the disciples in Luke 22:25-26. “The kings of the Gentiles lord it overthem; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.”…
Along these lines, Diane Knippers of the Institute on Religion and Democracy declared in Beijing, “I am likewise skeptical of the use of the concept of power in the family…. What a sterile and bankrupt view of the most private and intimate human relationship!…The root problem is husbands who do not love their wives. Our goal should be to change their minds and hearts, not merely to restrict their behavior.”
The very next article in the newsletter is from Mary Kassian, and reinforces the message that when women are tempted to feminist rebellion, it is men who are to blame.
A battle is raging across the nations. It is a spiritual battle. And although the battle is not isolated to role relationships between men and women, much of it does take place on that front. Those of us who have experienced the goodness of God’s plan for male- female relationships must be careful not minimize or trivialize its severity. Countless women experience extreme pain and suffering from the hands of the very men who ought to guard and protect them. It is real. It is damaging. And from my perspective, it is increasing in violence and intensity.
My personal experience
I have been extremely fortunate to have had good men in my life. My grandfather, father, brothers, husband, and male friends have all blessed me in both action and word. But consider the woman who has been molested by her grandfather, ignored by her father, sexually derided by her brother, slapped by her husband and ridiculed by her male friends. She reacts to the wounding by adopting a feminist and/or egalitarian philosophy which assures her of her worth and value as a woman. And no wonder!
To be sure, such a woman needs truth. But most often, she needs healing of her pain before she is able to respond to truth.
Kassian describes a feminist woman she knew in College:
When I met her, she was contemplating becoming a Christian, but was struggling with how to reconcile Christianity with her feminist world-view. Sandra did give her life to Christ, but continued to hold on to feminist beliefs.
Kassian doesn’t directly say what type of abuse Sandra suffered that drove her to become a feminist, but she explains that it took a good man to undo all of the bad things men had done before Sandra could abandon her feminism. Fortunately, Sandra found a Christian husband who was willing to “sign a contract agreeing to stay home half-time should they have children.” Through the love of this good man, Kassian explains that Sandra’s desire for feminism eventually went away.
This is terrible theology, as there is no biblical backing for the claim that women are only tempted to rebel because men drive them to it. It is true that men and women are both sinful, and therefore there is no man who has not sinned (aside from Christ). But this theology declares that women are only tempted to sin because men sin first, and this desire to sin will go away if men are nice enough.
Not only is this terrible theology, it is also bad logic. If the root of feminist rebellion is men who aren’t nice enough, then why is it in the modern age that we suddenly have so much more feminist rebellion? Were the men in the ancient world, the middle ages, etc. more egalitarian and nice than modern men? Of course not. Feminist rebellion is growing because we are unwilling to say no to women, not because we have suddenly started saying no to them.
One other interesting note about Kassian’s article. Kassian uses the massacre of women by Mark Lepine to paint men in general, including many complementarian men, as brutish woman haters. If you aren’t familiar with the background on this, Mark Steyn explained it back in 2007:
Every December 6th, my own unmanned Dominion lowers its flags to half-mast and tries to saddle Canadian manhood in general with the blame for the “Montreal massacre,” the 14 female students of the Ecole Polytechnique murdered by Marc Lepine (born Gamil Gharbi, the son of an Algerian Muslim wife-beater, though you’d never know that from the press coverage).
*Technically it is true that men are failing to be loving leaders, but not in the way the article is claiming. The article is arguing that if men were nicer women would stop rebelling. Modern Christian men are failing women, but we are failing them by not confronting the rebellion.