For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God… (Gen 3:5, ESV)
6 For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. (2 Tim 3:6-7, ESV)
“This thing about women that the church has tried to hide and control and that is a canvas on which other people can write their own righteousness ― it’s actually ours,” Bolz-Weber told HuffPost. “This part of me is mine and I get to determine what is good for it and if it’s beautiful and how I use it in the world.”
This is how complementarians hide their Christian feminism in plain sight. It is hard not to seem at least somewhat traditional when the mainstream protestant denominations are ordaining women as pastors and those women are making golden idols of their vaginas. Complementarians are in this sense counter-cultural when they do the same things as overt feminists, only in a much more subtle way. Where feminists were honest in their outright rejection of 1 Tim 2:12 and ordained women as pastors, complementarians came up with a plan to set women up as unordained preachers by pushing a new and absurd twisted reading of the scripture:
First Timothy 2:14 says, “Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.” Paul gives this as one of the reasons why he does not permit women “to teach or have authority over a man.” Historically this has usually been taken to mean that women are more gullible or deceivable than men and therefore less fit for the doctrinal oversight of the church. This may be true (see question 29). However, we are attracted to another understanding of Paul’s argument.
Where feminist Christians openly make idols of women’s vaginas, complementarians again choose the more subtle and deceptive path and declare that a woman’s romantic love & desire sanctifies married sex, and that God speaks to a husband through his wife’s holy vagina.
Dave: Yes. Here’s all you need to know about that night—the thing that changed our marriage is when Ann was sharing with me [that she didn’t feel sexual desire towards me]—I had a pretty unique encounter with God. I sensed God was speaking to me, through Ann;
Where feminist Christians openly reject headship and submission, complementarians have kept (theoretical) headship around as a club to hit husbands with. The cardinal rule of complementarian headship is a husband must never tell his wife she has an obligation to submit to him. In its most muscular form the essence of complementarian headship is pleading.
Where feminist Christians openly encourage women to usurp the roles of men, complementarians are careful to not tell women no while shamelessly blaming men for women usurping their roles.
What complementarians have been able to achieve is do in the conservative churches what feminists did in the liberal churches, only with much more deception. Not surprisingly, now that liberal churches have fully accepted LGBTQ, a group of prominent complementarians are doing the same for that issue that they did for feminism. I’ll cover this new development in a future post.
H/T Emperor Constantine