Pastor Matt Chandler is at the nexus of the modern complementarian movement. He is a contributor to The Gospel Coalition (TGC), the president of the Acts 29 church planting network and a council member of the ERLC. In the video below Chandler explains to Vice TV why so many evangelicals support President Trump. Chandler argues that as great as President Obama and our recent social justice advances are, the social progress has been too fast for evangelicals to accept:
I think people are frightened. I think people are frightened at the speed at which things are changing culturally. So I think they begin to grasp for something that might help. The Obama presidency, great man, some of his policies and the way he rolled out his policies really really scared evangelicals. And without any kind of real help from Pastors and ministers to help us understand, the news media just whipped us into a frenzy and made people feel desperate.
According to Chandler the problem with the modern church is that it isn’t on the social justice bandwagon, and this is leading to declining membership:
My experience with the de-churched, thats what I would call them, those who grew up in the church and have left, is that it is a sense of hypocrisy they have picked up on, a kind of cowardice among the church to address things that are serious and significant pains of our day. So whether that be domestic violence that the church has been just painfully quiet on or even things like racial reconciliation. Which means that if you step into these spaces you are going to draw a lot of flack from the evangelical world.
He is especially concerned that Christians are sinning in their opposition to the gay and trans agendas:
But I think especially around topics like homosexuality where we are quick to say it’s a sin. Which I’m not going to disagree that I would think from the scriptures that it’s not ultimately what God intends, but to pretend like we’re not talking about human beings with souls, who sometimes are deeply conflicted it’s just a great error. And to be right the wrong way is to be wrong.
I think some of the blind spots on the left is that the left, specifically city left, feels like the country is more progressive than it actually is, and the more it presses, the more it makes conservatives dig in their heels. The bathroom bill had passed, and I’m telling you people were terrified by that bathroom bill, more than anything else the thought that their children were going to be in a bathroom with the opposite sex, and I know all of arguments around that, but I’m using the language that I think would make sense to most conservatives, that made them go “whoever the opposition is to that I’m voting for” and then they lost their soul on that, many of them did.
Chandler looks back and sees Christianity as having been on the wrong side of history when it comes to the culture wars. But oddly he doesn’t see the accelerating social justice movements of the last 50 years as an assault on Christian morality. He sees the church as having suddenly and mysteriously started to mistreat women, gays, and transsexuals over the last 50 years:
I think you are going to see what we’ve already seen probably three or four times in Christian history. There are going to be those that try to reach the world by becoming like the world. And then there are going to be those that try to by the grace of God hold fast to orthodox Christian faith in a way that’s compassionate and kind, and they are going to have to weather the backlash of all of the wrong that has been done in the name of Jesus in the last 50 years.
This is the complementarian frame in a nutshell. Christianity existed for 2,000 years, and then a group of social justice reformers decided that Christianity was anti woman. Complementarians responded by agreeing with nearly everything the anti Christian “reformers” had argued, but kept just enough of the old teaching to be able to point to themselves as theoretically different from the reformers, even though in practice there is virtually no difference. Then immediately after praising the reformers, complementarians denied that the reformers ever existed. This way they can deny that they are at war with 2,000 years of Christian doctrine, because the only thing that changed was the church suddenly started mistreating women (and gays, and transexuals) 50 years ago and complementarians are restoring the old order. This kind of doublethink is farcical, but it really is baked into the complementarian view.
H/T Darwinian Arminian