Sheila Gregoire has a post about a twitter fight she and another Christian feminist (Julie Anne) had with a complementarian Southern Baptist pastor (Steve Camp). Sheila and Julie Anne were defending an article denying headship and instead arguing for mutual submission in marriage. Pastor Camp started off boldly, saying that the women were being emotional, and suggesting he should speak to their husbands instead. In asking to speak to their husbands, Camp was no doubt making an allusion to 1 Cor 14:35 (ESV):
If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.
Julie Anne immediately sensed the weakness of a complementarian pastor making this allusion, because the verse is despised by complementarians. When it comes to the topic of headship and submission, complementarians teach the opposite of 1 Cor 14:35, insisting that husbands must not instruct their wives. In what appears to be a deleted tweet, Julie Anne reminded Pastor Camp of the complementarian rejection of 1 Cor 14:35, and Camp had no choice but to immediately concede the point:
Julie Ann: BTW, if a woman submits after you tell her to, it’s not true submission. Submission comes from the heart. It is not prodded by someone else. It is a natural response when someone is treated lovingly. If your wife (in general) is not submitting, look at self first.
PastorSJCamp: Straw man.
I’ve never once said in my entire life that a man should tell a woman to submit- ever.
Shiela’s daughter Rebecca joined the fray and confronted Pastor Camp by asking if he thought women were more easily deceived than men. This was a brilliant strategy, because the complementarian position is that the Apostle Paul was not saying that women were more easily deceived in 1 Tim 2:14.
As Sheila accurately observed, Pastor Camp never managed to give a straight answer on the question:
At this point, my daughter Rebecca (@lifeasadare) jumped in, asking for a straight answer on one question: Does Steve Camp believe that women are more easily deceived than men, since he used that as an excuse to end a debate? The thread is quite illuminating–she keeps asking, he keeps dodging.
Elsewhere fellow complementarian Ron Henzel attempted to jump in and assist, but Julie Anne effortlessly forced Henzel to concede that complementarians don’t believe in hierarchy:
Sheila took a different tack in her post, and brought in her husband Keith to explain that he is an egalitarian and rejects the very idea of headship and submission:
At one point, Pastor Camp made a comment that he was glad Sheila was going to “allow me to speak”. This strongly suggests to me that the mindset here is that if I, the husband, am not in charge than clearly she must be. It is a sad a terrible thought to me that some people see the world this way. Unfortunately, my life experience – including hateful commentary directed at me on Sheila’s blog – has taught me that there really are people out there who think like that.
For the record, Sheila and I are a team.
We both submit to God as the Bible teaches. We both submit to each other as the Bible teaches (Eph 5:21). We make decisions together and when we disagree we keep talking, praying and seeking God’s will until we figure it out. If we ever got to the point where we were truly at an impasse, my natural reaction would be to seek Godly counsel from friends, mentors, parents or a pastor. The idea that I would make the decision because “I am the man” is just not in our DNA. I see no Biblical problems with holding this view.
… in what universe is it okay for someone to say, “I’d rather hear your husband’s opinion on this as women are prone to be deceived.”? The thought of saying that would never cross my mind, nor any of the men I know. If a man were to speak like this to a female colleague at work, he would certainly be disciplined and perhaps fired – and appropriately so. But a pastor can say this publicly and no one blinks. This baffles me. And it needs to stop
Keith’s insistence that he and Sheila have an egalitarian marriage is a fantasy that only exists in Keith’s imagination. As Sheila explains in her signature book, she and Keith practice Pastor Doug Wilson’s wife as despot model of marriage. Sheila’s job is to give Keith lists of chores. Keith then twirls around the house cleaning:
Often men feel superfluous at home, like they don’t even belong, because you manage everything. Make honest requests of him that allow him to help support you and feel involved in building your home…
If you want your husband to take responsibility for certain chores on his own, without being asked, you need to find a delegation method that conveys to him what needs to be done without threatening him…
My husband is motivated by lists. If I just tell him I would like him to help clean up after dinner, he doesn’t know what to do. But if there is a list of daily and weekly chores on the fridge, and he can see what is left to be done, he’s like a Tasmanian devil whirling around the house, cleaning.
More importantly, there is nothing Pastor Camp can say to rebut Keith’s endorsement of egalitarian marriage. He is the one who asked for Sheila’s submissive husband to give his perspective on marriage roles. Moreover, had it turned out that Keith was not submissive to Sheila, Pastor Camp would have to insist that Keith couldn’t weigh in on the topic in front of Sheila, since per complementarian theology husbands can’t instruct their wives on what the Bible says on the topic!
But Camp’s problems don’t stop there. He pointed out that Sheila and Julie Anne were being emotional. From the complementarian perspective saying such a thing is abuse. Sheila understands this, and cleverly responded to him pointing out that she was being emotional with an emotional appeal to other women:
Sheila then followed up with an appeal to women to rebel against their husbands and pastors if the men don’t toe the Christian feminist line. She specifically invites the women in Pastor Camp’s congregation to rebel against him:
And now a word to my readers:
Steve Camp normally wouldn’t matter. He’s a pastor of a small church with very little influence.
But there are women in his congregation who need to know that they do not need to accept being spoken to like this.
And Steve Camp is part of the Southern Baptist Convention. The SBC obviously has no problem with having their pastors go on Twitter like this. To me, this is part of a larger issue within the SBC, which I’ll be talking about tomorrow in solidarity with those who will be holding a rally asking the SBC to take abuse issues seriously.
Finally, please hear me on this:
If anyone ever tries to silence you because you’re a woman, telling you that you’re emotional, that you’re deceived, that only your husband’s opinion counts--you don’t have to take it.
It is okay to speak up. It’s okay to have opinions. You matter dearly to God, and He created you with your intellect, your giftings, your brain. You are not someone that is to be easily dismissed.
And when you do speak up–know that even if your circle thinks of women that way, most in our culture do not. Many, many men would stand up for you. Many, many women would, too. And if you are in a circle where pastors think it’s okay to speak like this about women–then quite frankly, get out.
How can Camp possibly respond to this? Not only has Sheila called him abusive, but he can’t point out her rebellion because complementarians don’t believe feminism represents a rebellion by women. Complementarians believe that feminism is a logical reaction to patriarchal tyranny. Sheila called him a tyrant, and told the women in his congregation to rebel. There is simply no way a complementarian pastor like Camp can argue against that. If the women in Camp’s congregation take Sheila up on her invitation to rebel, the complementarian answer is for Camp to love and serve them so much that they no longer feel the need to rebel. As fellow complementarian pastor Matt Chandler explains in his sermon Women’s Hurdles, if Sheila can tempt the women in Pastor Camp’s congregation into rebellion, Pastor Camp owes the women an immediate apology:
Really, men, here is a great way to gauge how you’re serving, loving, and practicing your headship. If the most secularized feminist in the world showed up in your home and began to kind of coach your wife toward freedom and liberation from your tyranny, our wives should be so well cared for, so nourished, so sowed into and loved, they would say, “What you’re describing is actually tyranny. I love where I am. I am honored. I am encouraged. My man sacrifices so that I might grow in my gifts. He will oftentimes lay down his own desires in order to serve me more. My husband goes to bed tired at night. He pours into our children. He encourages me. All that comes out of his mouth, sans a couple of little times here and there, is him building me up in love.”
Men, here is a good opportunity. If you’re like, “Well, gosh, I don’t think she would say that at all,” then, men, I think on the way home, you should probably repent and confess before the Lord to your wife.