This post is in response to Douglas Wilson’s response to me, which can be found here.
I want to start this letter of response by giving you a compliment. I know that you don’t get many of those from my circle, but I have truly been impressed with you and your daughter taking time to respond to some of my concerns without acting like “big babies.”
Lately, I have been getting silly comments from Christians like, “Why are you attacking” and, “Why are you trying to cause strife in the Church?” The truth is that I never attack people. I attack theology or agendas in the Church. What I like about you and your family is that you get this and you don’t cry “self-pity” when someone challenges your beliefs. So, thank you for behaving like an intelligent adult. I appreciate that.
I never let folks get snarky with me or disrespect me in any way and, while I am not saying this is your fault, those who follow you do not seem to understand the difference between attacking a theology or idea and attacking a person. Since my last post to you, I have been called all sorts of names and been attacked personally.
Since I know your followers will respond to this post and act like victims when I delete their nasty comments, allow me to share my “comment rules” in this letter (this also applies to my social media sites):
Please Note: Comments should not be disrespectful, snarky, off-topic, or overly long. Criticism should be constructive and ongoing harassment and “pest-like” behavior will not be tolerated.
Allow me to add this. My blog belongs to me and it is not a democracy. I am the queen of my blog, as well as all of my social media accounts, and I decide whose comments get to stay and whose comments get deleted. I also decide who gets blocked and who doesn’t get blocked.
I don’t block people who disagree with me; I block rude people who are claiming to be Christians but don’t act like Christians in the least. Am I protecting my feelings? Perhaps, but more than that I am protecting my dignity and providing an example to all the women who are following me.
Loving people does not mean putting up with rude “Christians,” becoming a doormat, and having no boundaries.
Who gets to decide who is rude? Well, I do on my blog, my Facebook pages, and my Twitter account. If one doesn’t like it, I am sure there are plenty of other blogs and social media accounts for them to troll on. I know, I am an “arrogant feminist” and all that jazz, but I am a woman who is a daughter of the king of kings, so respect is both what I deserve and demand.
Respect is what every human deserves and should demand.
Ok, back to business. Douglas, you asked me what an extreme complementarian is. I believe you are an extreme complementarian, because you do not permit women to lead or teach men whatsoever. Soft complementarians often allow women to lead and teach men in the Church, but not in the home. Then there are all sorts of “in-betweens.”
There are even those whom I would say are “abusive complementarians.” I don’t think that is you. I hope it is not, but I would say the writer of biblicalgenderroles.com (who so conveniently does not show his real name or face) is a perfect example of an “abusive complementarian.” Whoever this “Christian” is, his last article was entitled, “7 Ways to Discipline Your Wife” (Find Here). Douglas, would you endorse an article like this?
Let’s get real. Conservative Christian scholars are divided on what Ephesians 5:21-33 and like passages mean and I have written my own exegetical view on the marriage passage here. Let’s move on.
On your blog comment section, one wrote to me: “It would be nice if you would actually say why you see things differently, it would help the readers make up their minds.” Fair enough. Here are the two main reasons I see things differently.
One: Complementarianism Seems to Produce Rotten Fruit.
Complementarianism within itself is not always oppressive, but the theology leads to all sorts of evils if put in the wrong hands. The doctrine is sort of like a gun. A gun in itself is not bad, but when a gun is put into the wrong hands, people get hurt (this post is not about gun control, so everyone reading, spare me the politics, please).
We are to test people and Christian thought by the fruit produced (Matt. 7:20). I realize this is my personal experience, but I rarely meet a gracious and loving “extreme complementarian.” Since I write about this subject often, I engage with hundreds of complementarians and egalitarians.
I do run into respectful “extreme complementarians” here and there, but most are harsh in their criticism and almost never constructive. On the contrary, I do run into nasty egalitarians here and there, but most are respectful and constructive towards complementarians with whom they disagree.
I realize my personal experience is biased and will not matter to you or your followers, but it’s worth bringing attention to this, so we can all be on the lookout from now on for the fruit and character that complementarianism produces. In fact, I may even leave up some nasty comments on my blog from complementarians, just to prove my case.
Remember, the fruits of the Holy Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). None of us will be perfect in reflecting these fruits, but we can test people by observing those who at least “try” to reflect the Holy Spirit.
Two: Egalitarianism Seems to Lead to Freedom, Justice, Life, and Purpose for Women.
Not long ago I received a message from a young woman in her twenties who has escaped “extreme complementarianism.” She loves Jesus with her full heart, and her parents are struggling with her choice, but she will never go back because she is now free to pursue her calling to preach and to teach adults about abuse, damage patriarchy brought to her life, and the good news found in the Gospel. Her choice to leave complementarian views behind has permitted her freedom, justice, life and purpose.
So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law (Gal. 5:21).
In all honesty, I receive emails and Facebook messages like this weekly. Again, I know this is based on my personal experience, but since I dedicate my life to this issue, my experience should count for something.
The truth is that at least half of the Church is made up of women. What better way to limit and even shut down evangelism but to convince Christians to discourage women from preaching and teaching the Bible and the “good news” to all adults? Remember how the enemy tempted Jesus in the wilderness? Satan twisted scripture to try and hold Jesus captive (Matt. 4:1-11). Jesus responded with, “It is also written…”
The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life (John10:10).
Sisters who are entrenched in extreme (or abusive) complementarianism, patriarchy, and control – there is a way out and you don’t have to abandon the authority of God’s Word or your love for Jesus to escape. There is freedom for you, my loves, and you don’t have to do this alone (great post by Jen Hatmaker for some encouragement here).
Douglas, thank you for your engagement and may God bless you, my friend.
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