Does Douglas Wilson Teach That Unsubmissive Women Deserve Rape?


I have been following a bit of a “blogger war” on Twitter these past couple of days between Douglas Wilson and Rachel Held Evans (over a post written by Nate Sparks, in which Rachel retweeted). Let me start with this, I am on Rachel’s side, although I don’t agree with everything Rachel writes. I am on her side as a person, because I like her, and she has taken a beating for women like me who simply feel called to be leaders and preachers in the evangelical church.

With that said, there are things about Douglas Wilson I like too. Even though I stand with Rachel on the issue of gender justice in the Church, I like that Wilson responds to women on his blog. He may be uncouth about it sometimes, but at least he responds. This shows a level of respect in itself. I have written to and about many male complementarian figures in the Church, and Douglas Wilson is the only one who has taken the time to use his platform to respond.

In fact, the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, as well as one of their poster boys, Gavin Peacock, blocked me on Twitter. I am not a disrespectful writer, so I find this cowardly, to say the least.

With all of this said,

I would like to add my voice to this conversation between Nate Sparks, Rachel Held Evans, and Douglas Wilson and answer this question from my perspective:

Does Douglas Wilson teach that women who are unsubmissive to their fathers or husbands “deserve” to be raped? 

But, before I answer that question, allow me to tell you a story.

When I was 18 years old, my fairly conservative preacher father took me out on a “daddy-daughter date.” I was getting ready to move from Pittsburgh, PA area, all the way to Dallas, TX to attend Bible college. I grew up with a very protective father in many aspects. I was a daredevil, so he always feared I was going to get hurt.

On this date of ours, dad basically told me it was time for him to stop telling me what to do and that I needed to start making my own decisions for my own life. He was pushing me out of the cushy nest and giving me permission to “unsubmit.” I knew he would catch me if I fell and come running if I needed him, but it was time for me to find my own voice and authority as an adult woman, without him.

In response to Rachel Held Evans, Wilson states

I began by saying that I am on the same team with Gospel Coalition complementarianism. I say that even though I don’t generally use the terminology of complementarianism because it seems to me too much of another -ism. As a friend said to me recently, why can’t we just call it common sense? When men are men, faithful women like it, and when women are women, faithful men like that (Source Below). 

Rachel Held Evans and the Anvil

The issue with this blanket statement is that there is not one way to act like a faithful man and there is not one way to act like a faithful woman. We see throughout the Bible, men and women, who serve God faithfully based off their unique callings, gifts, and personalities.

Some men are warriors (as Douglas Wilson seems to believe all men should be), while other men are gentle servants in the Kingdom of God. Likewise, some women are gentle servants (as Douglas Wilson seems to believe all women should be), and some women are warriors, as Deborah and Jael were in the Old Testament.

It is OK for Douglas Wilson and others to have a “complementarian style” of marriage, but it is not OK to teach that complementarianism is the only way to honor God and to hijack “biblical manhood” and “biblical womanhood.” God does not think this small, and the Bible is a complex narrative, full of men and women who do not fit so called designed “biblical gender roles.”

At 18 years old, my dad empowered me and gave me wings to fly. As a result, I have become confident, sufficient and capable with or without a man. I enjoy being taken care of by my husband, but he also enjoys being taken care of by me. At the end of the day though, I know I could take care of myself if for some reason I lost my husband. I would not need to move back into my father’s home until I found a new husband.

The Bible never commands grown women to submit to their fathers until they find a mate, and fathers who teach their daughters to do this, are stunting their daughter’s growth, confidence and maturity. 

Today, 51 percent of adult American women are living without a spouse (stat from book “Lime Green” by Jackie Roese) and must be self-sufficient. Many of these women would like to get married, but simply have not found a suitable partner. Some of these women do not desire marriage, and according the Apostle Paul Christian celibacy is a gift (1 Cor. 7:7).

It is important to note that single women were major financial contributors to the Apostle Paul’s ministry in the first century of the early church and some even hosted and led house churches (See my master’s thesis below).

Singleness is an honorable choice for both men and women and it is beyond silly to expect a 40 year old woman, who never got married (based on choice or not), to remain submitted to her father.

Masters Thesis

The reason Evans is concerned is due to this remark that Wilson wrote a while back,

But women who genuinely insist on ‘no masculine protection’ are really women who tacitly agree on the propriety of rape. Whenever someone sets himself to go against God’s design, horrible problems will always result (Source below). 

Her Hand In Marriage, page 13

I agree with Evans that Wilson’s remark here is terribly concerning, but I would not say that Wilson believes “unsubmitted women” deserve to be raped. Rather, I think Wilson believes that women who are unsubmitted to either their father or husband at all times, open themselves up for the possibility of rape, and that they should not be surprised if God allows rape to happen to them, because they are out of God’s designed will for their lives.

No doubt, this is a fine line that Wilson is walking, and Evans and others are right to be concerned in light of the fact that at least two sexual abuse cases have surfaced out of Wilson’s church. There is also a whole blog dedicated to exposing apparent darkness at Wilson’s church and school, called “The Truth About Moscow (Find Here).

Now, as I said above, there are things I like about Douglas Wilson, but I find Wilson’s poor reputation both inside and outside of the Church concerning in light of 1 Timothy 3:7:

And he [an overseer in the Church] must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil (Note: Since we see female overseers in other Pauline churches, such as Apostle Junia, Church leader and Bible teacher Priscilla, & Deacon Phoebe, we can be sure that the male pronouns used in this verse were meant for Timothy’s church situation only).

I worry that Wilson has set up his small empire in such a way that he has zero accountability, as he is obviously at the very top of this male-dominated hierarchical establishment. Strong leaders like Wilson, tend to surround themselves with “yes men” and “yes women,” leading to unseen pride in the leader. I almost pity Wilson, because this type of setup almost always leads to a fallen empire eventually.

Regardless of Wilson’s reputation, his remark above is simply out of touch with reality.

The truth is that some women are married to handicapped men, who would be physically incapable of protecting their wives from a rapist. Further, not all men are physically strong enough to take on all rapists. If a rapist who is physically stronger than my husband, breaks into my house tonight, I am in trouble with or without a man by my side. Further, if a rapist has a gun and we don’t, it doesn’t matter if my husband could physically take him or not.

Also, what if my father and my husband go on a ride together tomorrow and both die in a car accident? Then who will protect me? Who will I submit to? Will my male pastors and elders come sleep at my house with a baseball bat by their side? Do you see how unreasonable this argument is? If the Church would only take the time to think all the way through the implications of “gender role” theologies, we would have a much safer, logical and healthier establishment.

Most importantly, I could be the most unsubmissive, risky, feminist in the world and never get raped. Yet, it seems in Douglas Wilson’s camp, the Duggar’s camp, and other complementarian circles, the most submissive women in the world (who do have fathers/brothers/husbands) protecting them, do get molested and raped quite often.

Sometimes, they even get raped by their fathers, brothers and husbands. Other times they get raped by overseers in their churches and are often silenced by their local church leaders, and sometimes even by their own family members. I know this because I personally know an abuse victim who has come out of Wilson’s church and other women who are coming out of similar environments who were sexually abused to some degree. I can also read about these types of cases all over the “Christian internet,” as Christian women are finding the courage to share their stories.

In many of these complementarian circles, girls and women are the last to be protected from sexual abuse and the first to be victimized, and then silenced when they do speak out.

The sad reality is that these patriarchal camps often produce naive girls and women who are taught early on to submit to men, making them much more susceptible to molestation and rape than women who were taught to grow up, submit to God alone as their final authority, and take care of themselves. 

The bottom line is that some women work out and take self-defense lessons, because they are in tune with reality. Women who do this are empowered, not as complementarians or egalitarians, but as grown ups who understand that there are rapists everywhere (inside and outside of the Church), and the best person to protect a woman against a rapist is herself, because she is the only person guaranteed to be there if ever approached.


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  • You are right on point, Jory. My experience is that I am the more strong-willed and independent sister and my younger sibling is the more submissive one. One of us was abused at the hands of a church member. It wasn’t me.

  • Despite growing up in a very strict and controlling patriarchal home/church environment, and being “beat into submission,” I was taught (rather explicitly now that I think about it) by my control-freak dad to not have to depend on a man to take care of me. While he wanted me to be a teacher, he and my mom fully supported me when I was an undergraduate even with my multiple changes of majors. Once I joined the Air Force, he encouraged me to stay in although he and my mom both tried to talk me out of joining initially. Once I demonstrated competency in areas that are largely considered “man jobs” like automobile maintenance, woodworking, electrical, etc., he was willing to tell me how to do stuff that needed to be done around the house that he wasn’t there to do anymore when he went to prison. Good grief, every time I look at how I was raised there is just so much contradiction in teaching. And this is why my therapist makes the big bucks (which she assures me she does NOT make). Haha!

  • IMO D. Wilson is someone to be wary of. You are smart to give him a break of sorts. But his attitude about keeping women subdued is deep. And he holds to traditions that would keep women barefoot and pregnant, which his wife teaches to young women. Here is a teaching his wife gave to the Trinitas Christian School Class of 2010 at their commencement,

    Here is a page of D. Wilson’s writings on women:

    Wilson sits with the old long since answered error of assuming that because there were not women priests in the OT, and no women original apostles that God therefore wants all leaders to be men. Facts are that the original 12 apostles were men because they represented the twelve tribes bridging Israel over to the New Covenant in Christ. And Priests of the OT were not the “highest” position of authoritative responsibility. Prophets were. Prophets appointed the priests. God appointed the prophets. And there were several prophets. As well in the NT after the 12 began to build the New Covenant church, God chose at least one named prophet, Junia.

    Wilson has in the past taught through a few of his books, that God the Father is superior to God the Son. And has used this error to claim that husbandly leadership mirrors this hierarchy.

    • Meant to say that there were several women prophets.

      It is interesting that Wilson noted in one of his writings that there were several women prophets. I don’t think he has realized that it is the prophets in the OT who were the leaders of Israel, not the priests.

  • I don’t know, but I think D.W. is real enough to consider the physical weakness problems in his protection theory. I think that he thinks God allows I submissive women to be raped, but that God protects submissive women from rape. I think that if I had been raped during the year I moved out of my parents house before getting married, that my pastor and my employer (both from my church) would have blamed me. They had both called me in to their offices different times to give me a stern sermon about how wrong I was to step out of the protection of my father. If I had been raped, I don’t believe I would have had any more compassion from them than many parents give their little kids who skin their knees after repeated warnings not to run downhill on asphalt. But yes, I can say D.W. is walking a fine line between actually saying an unsubmitted female deserves to be raped or is saying that she had it coming. Either way, it is more than a careless statement. It is psychological and emotional abuse akin to hate speech.

  • Looking at Wilson’s statement again:
    “”But women who genuinely insist on ‘no masculine protection’ are really women who tacitly agree on the propriety of rape. Whenever someone sets himself to go against God’s design, horrible problems will always result.”

    I say that women who reject the protection of men will find themselves, at the end of the day, unprotected by men. This is not what they thought they were signing up for, but the results are destructive just the same.”

    When we say that someone tacitly agrees on something, they are not speaking the agreement but giving the agreement in some other way. So, in Wilson’s world view women who do not live under male authority are agreeing with the “Propriety” of rape. They are agreeing with the whole concept, protocol, acceptableness, standards, the social practices of, the business of men raping women. Further, it sounds like he is saying that women who do not believe in Wilson’s views of the design of male authority and female submissiveness to male authority, are setting themselves up to not be protected by men and the result WILL be they are setting themselves up for rape. And in his mind that means they accept this result.

    In a sense, he is very close to encouraging men to rape women who do not believe in his hierarchical view of “God’s male dominated design for men and women”. This is real close to saying women deserve to be raped if they don’t believe in and live under his design for marriage and life.

    • And there is no telling how many rape victims he actually has in his midst. I speak from experience. It wasn’t until many years later and other victims later that I told about my date rape at 15 years old. He was a senior at my IFB school. Why didn’t I tell? Because this teaching has a flip side. Even if I thought I was submissive, the mere fact that he raped me was reason enough in my head to find incidences of rebellion enough to believe I deserved it. And to this day, I’m 54, I do think my leaders would have blamed me.

      • I agree. You were wise to be quiet at the time. Your leaders probably would have blamed you if they believed even a smidgeon of the hierarchical teachings. I remember when I went to a pastor of the same stripes to pray for healing of past rapes. This man proceeded to tell me to accept blame for being in the wrong place at the wrong time and for not dressing demure enough. It was a horrible feeling. Thankfully I rejected him and his teachings and found a good solid Christian equality minded counselor who prayed me through to inner healing on it all. 🙂

        • Thanks for sharing that TL. If I hadn’t met the real Jesus Christ, I would still be rejecting God for his mysogyny. I mean, when you go through abuse in his name, what’s the difference from the alternative? I don’t know about Wilson, but some scholars he hobnobs with believe in male hierarchy throughout eternity!

          • same here Patti.

            Not sure what Wilson thinks about eternity. But the Scriptures should be clear enough that in heaven there will be no giving or taking in marriage. And that was in answer to who a thrice divorced woman’s husband would be in heaven. 🙂

      • Patty,
        Here are some stories from women in Wilson’s church who have been raped and abused at some point in their life. They offer up their stories as a ministry to all. I expect you will relate to some of these women. So there are at least 5 to 10 women at Wilson’s Chruch who have been raped / abused, so that is some telling at least. I hope you find their testimonies helpful.

    • He does come real close, but since he doesn’t come right out and say it, it provides a relatively easy out. Despite that, I still find it to be a rather simplistic and very dangerous way of viewing gender relationships and authority in general. There is a lot of negative things that can be spun out of such comments, intended or not. I see very little love of women (as loved ones, fellow members of the Body of Christ, or even as fellow humans beings here), but a lot of love of power, authority, and the fear used to keep such things.

      • Agreed. By coming close, but not actually saying it, he has an out that he can then say someone was reading him wrong. I don’t think Rachel H. Evans was reading him wrong. But I also think we all must be careful when hierarchalists use the kind of language that Wilson did and does. If he didn’t actually state it clearly, we would be wise in not saying he did.

        As well, if one reads up on Wilson’s teachings about the Trinity being an hierarchy, (which I believe is stepping into heresy), it is pretty easy to see that he values men more than women. But that is the common result of hierarchical teachings. The ones at the top are the important ones and the ones at the bottom tend to become the dispensable ones, even if never stated that way.

  • Hi Jory. I’m about to turn 70 and have been married 5 times. It’s a long story and probably not what you think, but I want to say that I got it right only once. My Alicia was incredible, and I lost her way too young (age 41) 10 years ago. What I want to point out is that we found a way to give each other 100%, and that was the formula for our success. We had a love for the ages.

    God is love, and love flows through us to one another. If you wish the very best for a relationship, let that love flow constantly. Do nothing to block it, for it WILL flow, if you’ll let it. This is why being “in love” feels so good; the love of God is flowing through us at warp speed. How could we not feel good?

    For the guys, there’s no room in this for arrogance or lordship. You want a woman to give you 100%? Then give HER 100%, and here’s the kicker: it begins with you, not her.

    I sure do wish everyone could get that. Thanks for the post.

  • > “The sad reality is that these patriarchal camps often produce naive girls and women who are taught early on to submit to men, making them much more susceptible to molestation and rape”

    This is spot on.

    Might be worth clarifying the last paragraph. As I’m guessing you’re aware, only a small minority of rape is the “violent stranger rape” type and it is a very common response for a woman to freeze when attacked – even when the attack happens in a way that is not traditionally viewed as violent. We need to be careful regarding the implicit statements we make about rape as a crime; I think your last paragraph – in combination with your earlier points about someone breaking into your home – could be read mistakenly. Effective empowerment against rape is far more complex than physical strength/skill.

  • I think what is most disturbing is how Wilson’s comments (if true) portray God;
    “God allows women who are not under authority to be raped.”
    This is a heinous misrepresentation of God and demonstrates a fundamental disconnection from God’s heart.

    • Agreed! Also makes no sense in light of 1 Cor 7:8 where Paul encourages the unmarried (including women) to remain unmarried.

      • And if women who aren’t under authority are allowed to be raped, what happens to the men who aren’t in authority over a woman? Are they equally rebellious to God’s will? What horrors are they being exposed to? I simply cannot believe this is God’s intention.

  • I was sexually assaulted as a child, adolescent and adult. I’m now in my mid-thirties and realizing that most Christians know very little about these issues — at best. And at worst, they believe exactly what Wilson believes. For the vast majority of survivors, these beliefs will lead down a road toward death, not toward life.

  • Naive? You betch! I didn’t know about ejaculation and semen. What was that gawd-awful smelly slime seeping from my vagina when I got home after he violently raped me. Weeks before, he had only coerced me into letting him feel what sex was like (as if!), promising that he would never ask again–hah!,–anyway, he stopped because I made him, at least I thought I had the power, but we were in his bedroom with his family at home. The point is, he never finished that day so I was still clueless. But the apologies came and I had been brainwashed into believing that forgiveness meant second chances so I was also coerced into going out with him again. And again. At least twice before I was finally able to kick him out of my life, fully brainwashed into believing I was going to hell for doing so and for not waiting till I was 18 to marry the only person I had had sex with because in God’s eyes that made us already married, he violently raped me. I was so naive, that I did not know until I broke up with before my 16th birthday that he had played this game with his girlfriend before me and was with other girls during his use of me. I have found nothing different between the teachings I went through and the teachings of D.W. If people can blame Jim Jones for choices that his followers made, well . . .i just can’t believe we are still dealing with this psychological and spiritual abuse today.
    My period was two weeks late, so I thought I was pregnant. I daydreamed about running away to have the baby and lying about my age to get jobs. I wondered if I could love the baby if it looked too much like him. I would write home to ensure my parents I was OK, knowing they would be devastated, but I, more sure that this baby should never know its father.

    • So sorry you have gone through this at such a young age. It is devastating no matter what age though.

      Just want to let you know that God is able to heal these memories and our emotions that were wounded by it all. God has healed me from several rapes. The holy Spirit is able to not only heal the heart and soul, the memories, but also renew in us a trust for manhood in general. Not all men are like that. Most are not.

      • Yes, I am healed as well. But I want Jory to know the devistation that is right here in our midst. I want her know how important her fight is. Not that she doesn’t, but she can’t be soft on these guys. She is preventing real crimes, not just defending scripture.

  • Patriarchy and complementarianism will always see abuse of women, sadly. Only one side has power, the other waits to be allocated power at the whim of the other. The only women I hear promoting complementarianism are those with spouses who are relatively kind, or women who are naturally submissive. I grew up being told that men have “needs” and it is our job to meet them so that our men don’t “sin”. I have never understood how it’s not sin to demand this of one’s wife, against her will, and when meeting needs is one-sided. Even popular blogs written by women say that we are not truly Christian wives unless we perform on demand, joyfully, even when we are being mistreated and ignored. They say they don’t condone marital rape, but say it’s not rape because we are to fulfill those needs “joyfully” regardless of how we are treated, for years, and expect nothing in return. 1 Cor 7:4 is only used to justify a man’s needs; so much discrimination in allowing for a woman’s needs. Is this really the intent? It is no wonder that if this is the message of the church, that I reject the church. A little off topic, sorry.

    • Yes, the teaching itself is abusive. Just as abusive as the idea of racism. The type of complementarian women that I know very well are ones who don’t having loving owners. They are destitute but remain in that condition because they blame their husbands for not taking care of them.

      • That is incredibly sad. I read your story below and I’m so sorry for the pain that you have experienced. That is not right. I do believe, though, that God loves His daughters and can heal deep, deep wounds. One of many reasons why I don’t think God sets women up to be vulnerable in the first place.

        My experience is that women who are “taken care of” or who are naturally suited to complementarianism are not interested in questioning the impact of that belief system for others. For women who don’t have kind partners for example. Is it still “good” then? If it’s God’s plan, then it must be. Not the treatment, but the set-up. I can’t believe this. We also know that if it’s God’s plan, it must be true in all cultures in all countries in all time periods. This is what we would preach to cultures where women are already minimized and rejected? How is this “good news”?

  • Jory, you interacted quite a bit with Doug’s own daughter, Bekah Merkle. I’m wondering if you think she’s an example of “naive girls and women who are taught early on to submit to men, making them much more susceptible to molestation and rape than women who were taught to grow up, submit to God alone as their final authority, and take care of themselves.”

    • B Martin, I was raised early on to submit to men. And yes, I was much more susceptible to molestation and rape. I thought that if I wanted to be happy in life I needed a man. And if I wanted the man to stay I needed to obey his wishes and make him happy. I don’t know if Doug’s own daughter is anything like that. but there have been plenty of young girls taught the extreme submission message who have been or are. and many of those have suffered by it.

    • B Martin – I sincerely don’t know Bekah enough to answer that question. I do think Bekah seems a smart lady with a backbone. Those attributes do not make her not naive though. I simply have no idea if Bekah is naive or not, and my statement was a general one indeed – not meant towards Bekah or Wilson’s daughters whatsoever.

      • Jory, I do appreciate the way that you discuss these things on your blog. You definitely strive to be even-handed and reasonable, without ulterior motives. This is hard to find these days, especially when dealing with disagreements.

        When you say, that she “seems like a smart lady with a backbone,” it proves my point. From your reply, I’m not sure what you consider “naive,” but the impression Bekah gave is the opposite of the stereotype of a “naive girl,” “taught early to submit to men,” making her “more susceptible to rape and molestation.”

        From personal experience, I can tell you that she is not alone in her church. If “Jesus Feminist” had been a term back in my day, I would have certainly used it to describe myself. However, going to Doug’s church, and meeting so many women like her, showed me that feminine strength, wisdom, beauty, and self-respect go hand-in-hand with a robust teaching of Ephesians 5:22-33.

        The term “complementarianism” was originally used to distinguish a Biblical position that was neither feminist, nor patriarchal. Many of the characteristics you describe in your post as “complementarianism” are actually “patriarchalism.” If you want to see the culture produced by true complementarianism, where both submission and sacrificial love complement each other, I invite you to visit Doug’s church and community to see. I still have many friends there who love to host visitors!

        • B Martin, I have no doubt that Wilson is a nice person and from the looks of the video means well. But that isn’t enough when it comes to Bible doctrine.

          I am not sure what a “robust teaching of Ephesians 5:22-33 looks like in your opinion. But I have heard and given lots of robust teachings of Eph. 5 as a whole unit and as two units (1-20/ 21-33)
          that do not teach a subservient top down relationship.

  • Galatians 6:7-9
    7 You cannot fool God, so don’t make a fool of yourself! You will harvest what you plant. 8 If you follow your selfish desires, you will harvest destruction, but if you follow the Spirit, you will harvest eternal life. 9 Don’t get tired of helping others. You will be rewarded when the time is right, if you don’t give up.

    This verse applies to everyone, and God knows our hearts and whether or not we are selfish. Between each other, we don’t know as well as God.

    As far as Wilson and women go, here is Wilson, and his wife Nancy, ministering together about child rearing questions. You don’t have to watch much to see the Salt and light of their marriage and ministry, even if you don’t agree with some points.
    This should “de-monsterize” Doug Wilson for some:

    • For a few minutes starting at 43:08, the heart of D.W.’s problem shows. By the way he scratches his chin/lip as he says it, is telling as well. He lumps all girls into manipulative, working the system little sinners. Judging from the way he scratches his chin/lip as he says it, he’s the manipulating one. He repeats blanket statements about girls and continues to use “tends” with boys. I have one daughter who did fit his description as a child, but the other one was just like me–who fit his boy tendencies to a tee, and not like his idea of girls at all.
      I only skipped around on the video, since I do not have time to watch the whole thing. Everything else just seems to be their opinion about discipline. Do you have any other video that would de-monsterize them about patriarchy in particular?

      • all children at a young age are manipulative. All children can be passionate. I’m not into boxing boys and girls like that. Doesn’t impress me. but of course it is good that they care about approaching children according to their temperaments. They just need to look at real individual temperaments instead of assuming all boys do this and all girls do that.

      • P’, thanks for giving that video a chance. I watched the whole thing after I posted it. Considering that Rachel Miller keeps insisting that women associated with Christ Church must remain “silent, unable to teach and invisible”, Doug and Nancy, teaching their Church together as a couple, puts that criticisim to lie.
        At one point in this video, Nancy is talking about “disciplining” her grand daughter by saying “we want you to be stong woman, and know your heart”. So there are natural examples of the Wilson’s training up their boys and girls to be Godly and strong. Look at other Nancy Wilson videos and inform your own opinion. To conclude, I do think this video, and others are a proving counter to the title of this post, and other shrill criticisims of Christ Chruch and Wilson. I attened that church from 1983 until 1987, long before Wilson was much in the public eye. I have lived on the east coast since then.
        Always look to The Word, and pray for wisdom!

        • I understand what you are saying, but Rachel’s definition of strong worries me. They teach that submitting well is strength. I agree, selflessness is hard. But I believe their idea of submission is misplaced. Rachel is allowed to teach in a meeting like in the video because she is sitting under the authority of Doug. Do you think that she would be allowed by Doug to teach that meeting alone?

          • Patti, ( I got the vowel right!)
            Nancy teaches wome “alone” here:
            I imagine she teaches women’s Bible studies alone.
            Anyway, this is the Wilson womens blog, seriously, you could just post a question and ask her yourself.
            Also, as I posted below, here is the link of some Christ Church women who share their testimonies about surviving rape / abuse at some point in their lives. I do think these testimonies “de-monsterize” Christ Chruch and Wilson.

          • Women in the patriarchal system are allowed to teach other women and children to certain ages. And in general, but not always, they are limited to teach about being good wives and mothers. Whatever they teach must be with that aim in mind. Some churches must approve the subject and materials used as well.

            If one feels a calling to do that, there is no problem. But when Christian women feel a calling to deeper studies in God’s Word, such limitations are stifling and demeaning.

          • TL, rather than speaking in generalizations re: the Wilsons, we can be specific. Any thoughs on Nancy Wilson’s teaching on the Feminagirls site? In your opinion, is Jory’s site any “deeper” than the Femina girls site?
            The book of James may not be as “deep” as the book of Romans, though they are both God’s Word.
            As for Doug and Nancy Wilson, in my view, they speak from a position of unity of spirit, not from one’s limitation of the other.
            It’s great to be on the same page,
            if the page is good!

          • Seriously? I almost hate to answer that. Nancy sounds sweet and nice. Deep, informed, able to do in depth Bible studies, logical, studious in Scriptures research….. no. Her website is sufficient for teenage girls, but I wouldn’t recommend it for adult women. I know that sounds harsh. And perhaps in time she will develop better ability to research the Scriptures and other Christian subjects in a more informed and studied manner.

            Her post on “My Brush with Feminism” is shallow and horribly uninformed. Her studies show a lack of the basics of proper exegesis.

            Jory’s webpage on the other hand, shows depth of thought, serious Biblical research, and a heart open to the truth. I see Jory as a woman committed to learn how to properly exegete all the aspects of Bible, including culture, Biblical history, Hebrew and Greek language, grammar, Christian history, social aspects, deep spiritual truths, etc. And she rightly does not limit herself to the denominational differences that so pervade modern Christianity that Paul spoke against in 1 Cor. 1:12-15. As well, Jory shows a great aptitude and trust in the completeness of God’s love for her to be able to listen to those of different opinions and insight with a Christian graciousness.

            I am truly sorry if that sounds harsh. Nancy Wilson does not display any sort of manifestations of the gifts/grace effects of the Spirit in her writing. And that is fine. It is not required. We all have different callings in our lives. However, Jory does. And I hope and pray for Jory to continue on and do great works for God in whatever specifics He has in mind in Christian ministries.

          • TL, minor point “My brush with Feminism” was written by Rebekah, Doug and Nancy’s daughter, not Nancy Wilson. Any thoughts on the Women Freed site? Most critics can’t come up with a negative response to that site, as well they should not.
            Anyway, the following verse is not a case for enforced ignorance, but God’s instruction on the sort of faith we need to receive Him and His Word. Simplicity of faith is often less of a negative than sophistication is. I’ll sign off for now, but I hope we speak again.
            Matthew 18:3-5(MSG)
            2-5 For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom. What’s more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it’s the same as receiving me.

          • JFS my answer was about the Women Freed site. You asked me to compare Jory with Nancy, something we probably shouldn’t be doing. LOL And I find Jory to be studious like Paul much more so than Nancy. And again. It doesn’t matter. Nancy is gifted differently. She should keep doing as God leads her. Same with Jory. 🙂

            I did make one comment about the article Rebekah wrote. Thank you for pointing out the author.

            The Matthew 18 quote is an excellent statement by Jesus. It should be noted that that is the attitude all Christians should have toward God who is indeed our heavenly Father. However, when it comes to studying the Word of God I believe everything I said stands. We should be like Paul who was a well studied man who used his studious nature to ferret out the truths of Scripture to guide us all to a closer and proper relationship with God. We should be harmless as a dove but wise as a serpent. We should be gentle as good children born of His Spirit. And children who are desiring to mature into the full stature and maturity of the example of the miraculous human, Christ Jesus.

            Thank you for the interesting dialogue.

  • Really well thought out arguments here, Jory, and I appreciate that you are very fair minded and balanced. It’s gutting that these things have to be constantly talked about, but nothing will change unless they are.

  • I probably agree more with Doug Wilson than you on most issues, but I do appreciate the civility with which you approached this controversy. You seem to do a better job of carefully reading what he wrote then the other detractors running around the internet. I won’t claim that Doug is right on everything or that he always writes things in the clearest fashion. One thing I would point out though, is that I don’t think he meant to imply that there is an exact one to one relationship between rape and submission. Of course fathers, husbands, and church leaders rape women. However, their very actions remove them from the category of “godly men”. Also, just because a woman is an unsubmissive does not guarantee her being raped any more than being submissive guarantee she will not be. I think his statement was more cultural in nature, stating that as a culture women have been throwing off the protection of men, and as a culture have found less protection from men. This protection is not just physical, the husband beating up the would-be rapist, but also the attitudes towards women that have come to be norms in our culture. The independence of women has grown in direct correlation to the rise in pornography and abuse. I will not state unequivocally that the former gave rise to the latter, all I’m saying is they do somehow seem to be connected. And when women are lowered from their precious, protected status as a “weaker vessel” (think crystal wine glass vs. clay flower pot — which one’s weaker –does that make it less valuable or more worth protecting?) the ungodly men are no longer held in check by cultural norms. My wife is strong (and had her own gun in case a would-be rapist shows up when I’m not around) but I still work to protect her and try to teach my boys to do the same. I also hold doors and offer to carry heavy things for her as well as other women. If that makes me a bad person, so be it. I do believe that as women have worked to be exactly the same as men they have lost the culturally protected status they once enjoyed.

    • Except it is in cultures where women are treated as equals, that they are given due process of law and afforded “cultural” protection. We have a recent example from Europe that men who live side by side with empowered women won’t rape them, while men who are taught that women are to be submissive, hidden and objectified feel like it’s their right to sexually assault the women, since the women “have affronted the men” by not dressing in what these men were taught was “modest.” As for the supposed correlation of the rise of pornography with feminism, I think, if found to be true, will also be found to have everything to do with men wanting to keep women as sexually controlled objects. It has nothing to do with feminism, except that feminism helps break down the barriers set up so often that leave exactly one alternative for a woman who has been raped: selling herself for more sex.

      • “men who live side by side with empowered women won’t rape them”

        Well, no, those men in Europe still rape women. It’s just that those women have more recourse than do women who live in the sort of patriarchal society that Wilson and his pals advocate.

        Like, I do think that anti-woman violence is a BIGGER problem in societies where women are made out to be secondary to men, but let’s not act as though the rest of us live in some bliss-free utopia where that sort of misogyny never manifests.

    • I don’t believe that your argument stands historically. If women were respected in the past, they would not be fighting for independence from the tyranny of men now. Even Solomon owned over nine hundred women. The first recorded violence against women that I know of is when Lamech threatened his wives. I am not any more optimistic about eradicating the war on women any than I believe that men will ever have thornless ground to till. But we must fight to hold both consequences at bay. God prophesied that both would happen because Adam listened to Eve about the tree instead of listening to God’s command. Eve turned toward the man instead of God. Why would she have given him the fruit if she was trying to rule over him? It was supposed to turn her into a god. But she desired Adam more than her desire for God and complementarinism allows this to continue. Us women compromise by going against what we know in our hearts and backed up by scripture that equality is right for marriage because we desire our men, and we don’t want them to feel embarrassed by the culture that says they are emasculated when they believe in equality. Well, that is the only thought of mine that comes dangerously close to D.W.’s. about us setting ourselves up for trouble. And remember this. For me, the argument that complementarianism respects women will never be better than the highest respect some people have for their pets or their underage children. It will never be enough until complementarianism means equality without hierarchy. Anything less is idolatry.

      • “Eve turned toward the man instead of God. Why would she have given him the fruit if she was trying to rule over him? It was supposed to turn her into a god. But she desired Adam more than her desire for God and complementarinism allows this to continue.”

        Loved the statement about why would she give him the fruit if she was trying to rule over him. LOL Great insight. 🙂

        • Ya, one day I put myself in Eve’s place according to all the logic that Grudem and Piper use to make Genesis about God’d good design of hierarchy that the woman usurped. I know another thing for sure, I would have tested the goodness of God just as she did. Satan is still that clever today. If he can get you to believe that God is not good, you won’t trust him. A complementarian God is not good in my book. Oh, and BTW, I think D.W is racist, no matter how he defends his statements with scripture. When he says “that godly Christians could “be members in good standing in Christian churches while owning slaves” he contradicts his scriptural defense that slavery is wrong. The only reason I think Thabiti gives him the time of day is for his own agenda that includes male hierarchy. Otherwise I can never understand how a black man in this country can stomach complementarianism.

      • Amen….I wholeheartedly agree with all the Egalitarian comments here! Women have no guarantee of peace and respect in either camp, but I will take my chances with Egalitarian men, thank you! The other camp excuses male indiscretion too freely and is too apt to blame women for everything!

    • “However, their very actions remove them from the category of “godly men”.”

      That’s bit of a no true Scotsman, isn’t it?

      I mean, I get where you’re coming from. Of course someone who rapes another woman cannot be said to be living out God’s Word. But I find that using that as a way to handwave/dismiss the issues with the system Wilson has set up – that is, women submitting to men – is in a sense a cop-out.

  • Excellent post – wonderful insights that point out the absurdity of these types of ideologies. These types of teachers seem to want the world to live in a fallen state, for their own selfish purposes, rather than allow God to transform each person into that which HE alone has created them to be. The potential to “be” and to “become” is God-ordained … if a woman is designed to be an at home mom, then she ought to do it with her whole heart and with joy. If she is designed to be a minister or a scientist or a firefighter, again, she ought to do it with her whole heart and with joy. The calling placed in the heart is not something a person, dogma, or ideology ought to dictate as unholy.

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