Let’s talk about how complementarians think marriage can go wrong!
This month on the blog Keith’s been writing up a series on the Danvers Statement, the codified statement of complementarianism that launched the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, and that has been adopted by SBC seminaries and many other notable institutions that are complementarian.
It’s been an awesome series. And I think you’ll enjoy hearing him summarize it here! (As well as John Piper’s horrible clip about how to say no to group sex.)
Or, as always, you can watch on YouTube:
Timeline of the Podcast
0:10 What Keith has been working on for the blog
4:00 Keith shares on how ‘The Danvers Statement’ says marriages can go wrong
10:15 Men’s error of domination
20:00 Men’s error of passivity
30:30 Women’s errors of usurping and servility
38:00 Servility: do they mean what they say?
50:45 What do they think servility is?
The Danvers Statement says marriages can go wrong in 4 ways.
The ideal, they say, is men sacrificialy leading, and women willingly submitting. But it can go wrong if men became dominating or passive; or women usurp or become servile.
Here’s how they would explain it:
In today’s podcast (and in Keith’s four part series) we took on each of these things! I’ve had so many notes from people asking if we could put the series in podcast form, because they’ve really enjoyed it but they want their spouse to listen in. So here you go–I think you’ll love it!
Things Mentioned in the Podcast
- Our Patreon! Support us for as little as $5 a month and get access to our amazing behind-the-scenes Facebook group, and more.
- Our Great Sex Rescue Toolkit–help for you as you talk about healthy teachings to your friends and church
- Keith’s Danvers Statement posts–Start here.
- Emerson Eggerichs warns against wives following into sin (watch the first few video clips and see his emotional response)
- Our Power of a Praying Wife podcast and download
- The Gospel Coalition’s Instagram Reel about men being passive
- Our podcasts with Philip Payne: Part 1 and Part 2
- Check out Marg Mowczko’s amazing website
- Why having the husband make the final decision can be a harmful shortcut
What do you think? Have you enjoyed the series? What has stood out to you the most? Let’s talk in the comments!
Sheila: Welcome to episode 198 of The Bare Marriage Podcast. I’m Sheila Wray Gregoire from BareMarriage.com where we like to talk about healthy, evidence-based, biblical advice for your marriage and your sex life. I am joined today by one of my favorite people. Hi, my favorite person. My husband, Keith.
Keith: Hey, everyone.
Sheila: You haven’t been here in a while.
Sheila: So this is great.
Keith: Yes, it’s nice to be back.
Sheila: Yep, but even though you haven’t been on the podcast. You have been on the blog.
Keith: Quite a bit this month.
Sheila: Yeah, which is awesome because every month on the blog—at least on the good months when I’m organized—I like to do a series where I write four or five or six posts about a specific thing so we can go in-depth. I’ve done series on direct communication, on how to get out of a rut in your sex life, on orgasm, all kinds of fun things. This month you and I have been talking a lot behind the scenes about some of the things that have really been bugging you, and you asked if you could write the series. I’m like, “Well, yeah, because then I don’t have to do as much work so that is awesome.” Boy, was it ever well received.
Keith: Yeah, I think people really liked what I was saying.
Sheila: Yeah, so you wrote your series on the Danvers statement—the four ways that it could go wrong. We’re going to get to that in a minute. But before we do as always I just want to do a special thank you to the people who help make everything that we do possible which is our patrons. They are amazing. We have quite a few hundred of them now, and we have so much fun in our Facebook group—our private Facebook group. You can join for as little as $5 a month. Some people give a lot more than that. Some people are just along for the ride, and that’s wonderful too. But their money helps support our research. It funded the research for She Deserves Better. It funds the one sheet downloads that we’ve made recently on—most recently The Power of a Praying Wife. They help support what we do, and so it’s a great place. You can join as well, and so we would love to see you. It’s at patreon.com/baremarriage, and the link is in the podcast notes. Also as we’ll be talking about in a minute, we have something new for all of you. So when we wrote The Great Sex Rescue, we said, “We just want to change the evangelical conversation about sex and marriage.” You know what? The conversation is changing. We’ve done these big books. We do this podcast, and we’re putting all this amazing information out there so that we can stop the toxic teachings. But there’s something that we can’t do which is we can’t speak into your church. We can’t talk to your spouse. We can’t talk to your mom. We can’t talk to your small group, but you can. You can join us and be part of this amazing movement to do things right and to figure out what bears good fruit and to spread that message. So we’ve created The Great Sex Rescue toolkit. It’s like a cheat sheet. It’s like a synopsis. In Canada, we’d say they’re Coles Notes. I don’t know what you say they are in the States or in the UK. But it’s like everything that we’ve found, all shortened and made with these amazingly beautiful handouts so that you can give your small group leader a handout on the problems with the all men struggle with lust message or you can give your pastor a handout on why he shouldn’t use the obligation sex message in his sermons. Then you can make an appointment to talk to him. Or we even have one sheet that just has everything that we have found, and it’s a great resource. There’s a video. If you are a church leader and you want to share with your team, there’s a video that you can watch that’s an hour long that goes over everything. It’s pay as you go. We didn’t set a price for it. It’s pay whatever you can. If you can afford it, then please be generous and help us cover our costs, but we don’t want cost to be a barrier. Check out the link to that. We’re so excited to have that ready to share with you. Okay, and part of changing the conversation about sex and marriage has been this series that you’ve written this month on the Danvers Statement. Why don’t we jump into that?
Sheila: So tell us what the Danvers Statement is.
Keith: Yeah, so the Danvers Statement was written up in the late ’80s. It came out of the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Basically it was the whole resurgence of this idea of the man being in charge of the family being the Christian ideal and that sort of thing. It was their way of—people that believe there’s a hierarchy that God has ordained that the man be the leader and the woman submit to him and that’s a unilateral submission—that sort of mindset got codified in the Danvers Statement. The reason I picked the Danvers Statement to talk about was for two reasons. The first reason is that when we combat these ideas about hierarchy in marriage we often naturally go to the most glaring examples of how badly it goes, right? So people say, “You’re just taking it out of context,” “You’re taking the most extreme cases,” and, “Real people who believe complementarianism don’t believe that.” So I said, “Okay, well, let’s just look at what on the ground regular people believe, and this is the statement that codifies exactly what they believe.”
Sheila: Yeah, and who is it—I think most of the Southern Baptist seminaries have signed it. Many of the big organizations have signed it.
Keith: Yeah, who we often call the evangelical industrial complex.
Sheila: Yeah, Skye Jethani from Holy Post coined that I believe.
Keith: But yeah, so The Gospel Coalition, Desiring God. John Piper probably helped write it because he wrote Reclaiming Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, which was part of the whole movement. So the first thing was I just wanted to take the more standard what people actually believe.
Sheila: Yeah, this is what they’re saying, “Hey, this is what we believe.”
Keith: Yeah, exactly. The second thing is because the Danvers Statement itself talks about ways that marriage can go wrong. I personally believe that if you preach that there should be a hierarchy in marriage, I can see how that would go wrong, but I was curious to see how they thought things could go wrong and talk about those. Because I think it’s extremely telling—they talk about four different errors—four different ways that things can go wrong. I think it’s really, really telling how much attention they pay to each and how they treat each of them. So that’s why I did the series as four weeks. Each week was one of the four errors that the Danvers Statement says can happen if we don’t do marriage God’s way.
Sheila: What are those four ways?
Keith: So there’s two for men, and there’s two for women because the whole thing is based upon men have to do one thing and women have to do a different thing. So men are supposed to sacrificially lead, and women are supposed to willingly submit. So a man can err by instead of sacrificially leading, he can err into domination or passivity. A woman instead of willingly submitting can err into usurpation or servility. So I took each of those in turn.
Sheila: Okay, so that’s what we’re going to do right now as well is we’re going to take each of those in turn. I want to say too what I loved about your series, and I think what people really reacted to and loved was that you weren’t doing this necessarily from a proof texting biblical standpoint. You were just looking at this logically. It’s not that we don’t believe there are biblical arguments for not seeing marriage as a hierarchy but instead seeing marriage as mutuality. It’s just we’ve covered a lot of those things on this podcast. So you can go back and listen to the podcast we did with Philip Payne about his new book The Bible vs. Biblical Womanhood. So we had two segments with him which were really strong. I love Marg Mowczko website where it’s so well laid out, and you can just look up any Bible passage. She’s written about all the Bible passages that have to do with women. You can just click on her categories. They’re all by Bible passage, and then look at everything she’s written on that passage so whether it’s 1 Corinthians 11 and headship and head coverings or 1 Corinthians 14 and women need to stay silent or 1 Timothy 2. You can look at all those passages. They’re really short read, and they’re so good. I will put a link to Philip Payne’s podcast and to Marg Mowczko, but I just wanted to do that disclaimer first because often when we talk about this stuff, people are like, “But you’re not using any Bible verses.” We have. We’ve already covered this with Bible verses. Many other people have covered this with Bible verses. We just want to look at this from just a purely like let’s just take this at face value. Let’s take this to its logical conclusion about what they’re actually saying and see how they’re dealing with this stuff.
Keith: Yeah, because despite what some people would say they say the Bible is clear because they interpret those verses a certain way. So if you say, “Well, I don’t interpret those verses that way,” then they say, “Well, you just don’t believe the Bible.” People will read the same Bible verse, and they’ll take different things away from it. So what happens is a person who believes in hierarchy reads a Bible verse and then goes, “See, see there’s hierarchy,” because they see hierarchy in it. A person who’s an egalitarian doesn’t see that. They see something different, and they say, “Well, you just don’t believe the Bible because you don’t interpret it the way I interpret it.” So it becomes an argument of who’s interpretation of the Bible is right. If we’re disagreeing about what the interpretation is, let’s look at which one makes more sense. Let’s look at which one philosophically follows through and is consistent. If your way of doing things is inconsistent, then maybe you’re not interpreting the Bible right.
Sheila: Right, and that’s what your series said. We looked at these issues from the idea of good fruit. So what bears the best outcomes? Definitely marriages where there’s mutuality instead of hierarchy bear the best outcomes, but now let’s just look at—let’s just take it at face value and measure the logic in what you’re saying. So that’s what you did. You took the four ones—and they see these as a spectrum which is an issue in and of itself which we will get to in a minute where the happy middle is so happy. Why would you not want to do this happy middle? But again, we’ll get to that in a minute. The first one they’re saying is men can err in domination. Your main point in that week which I will let you expand on is that if they think domination is so bad why the heck don’t they warn about it more?
Keith: Well, exactly. Why when it happens do they not respond to it? Because what I see happening is when you preach that women are supposed to be under men and they’re supposed to listen to men and do what men say and then men use that power to hurt women and you say, “Well, that’s not my fault.” To me that shows that you’re not a person I want to listen to. That’s what we see happening time and time again. The answer they say is, “Well, a person who believes like we believe would never hurt their wife because we believe that the leadership is supposed to be sacrificial.” But then any time it’s not sacrificial, it’s not their fault then because it’s just a bad person who did a bad thing. Emerson Eggerichs says this specifically in his book, Love and Respect, because he’s a very big proponent of this idea that the man is in charge. And he says, “An evil man is going to do what an evil man is going to do.”
Sheila: Oh, I have this passage. Can I read this?
Keith: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Sure. Sure.
Sheila: Yeah. Okay. Okay. So right.
Keith: Yeah. Let’s quote him directly. Make sure we get it right.
Sheila: Yeah. This is from his chapter on hierarchy. And he says this, “Will the concept of biblical hierarchy lead to abuse? Will a man take advantage of being head of the family by putting down and even abusing his wife and children? Yes. This is possible. But because it is possible does not mean that a woman should refuse to allow her husband to be the head. If a husband is evil willed, the abuse will happen anyway. No matter what the family structure is. Any hierarchical role given to him has nothing to do with the abuse. The evil willed man always treats those around him abusively. If a man is good willed, his wife’s respect and his hierarchical position will not cause him to abuse because that is not in his nature.”
Keith: Exactly. And so basically any time their teaching gets used to abuse a woman, it’s not their fault. Right? Because well he’s not following our teaching then. But this is what’s call the no true Scotsman fallacy. Right? And this is the idea it’s like—true Scotsman don’t put sugar on their oatmeal. Oh, but Uncle Jamie is a Scotsman. He puts sugar. Well, he’s not a true Scotsman then. That’s what a Scotsman—no Scotsman fallacy is. If you exclude all the exceptions to your rule, then you can prove that your rule is unanimously true because you’ve excluded all the exceptions.
Sheila: Yeah. I think people’s favorite part of your article was when you showed the logical fallacy with regards to Beth Allison Barr.
Keith: Oh, yeah. That’s a perfect example.
Sheila: Yeah. Do you want to tell us that?
Keith: Well, that’s different than the no Scotsman fallacy. But yeah. So people are arguing against hierarchy in the Bible in a variety of different ways. And Beth Allison Barr wrote a really great book called The Making of Biblical Womanhood. And basically, she talks about how this idea of biblical manhood and womanhood is not actually what they say that it’s been taught by Christians through all of the centuries, and all this egalitarian is a feminist heresy that’s coming up in the recent days. It’s not the case. Men have, throughout history, tried to keep women down in a lot of different ways. And it changes shape from generation to generation. So biblical womanhood is just the latest iteration of that and that’s what she talks about in her book. And she weaves both historical research and a lot of good academic work with her own personal experiences about being hurt by patriarchy in the church because this idea of men being in charge hurts women. It does. And so she talks from her personal experience how it did. So her book gets reviewed by Kevin DeYoung on The Gospel Coalition website.
Sheila: Yeah. I think it was in their journal.
Keith: Oh no. It was in the journal.
Sheila: Themelios. I don’t even know how you say that.
Keith: Themelios or whatever. Yeah. Yeah.
Sheila: Themelios. Yeah.
Keith: And he reviews it. And he talks about this particular section. And I forget exactly his wording. But it’s something along the lines of, “Perhaps her woundedness doesn’t allow her to see complementarianism in a fair light.” So what he’s basically saying is patriarchy does not hurt women. And any woman who says that it hurt her is just speaking out of a place of hurt caused by patriarchy. It doesn’t make any sense.
Sheila: Well, yeah. And if you’re hurt by patriarchy, then you don’t have the right to criticize it because you were hurt. So the only people—
Keith: Yeah. But if you benefit from patriarchy, you’re allowed to talk against it. Surprisingly, very few people do that which is one of the reasons why I think that my post this week—this might have gone so well. I’m a man. I benefit from this system, right? If I were to just go along with it. And I think a lot of people have found it really refreshing to see someone who could benefit from this saying, “You know, no. This is kind of rotten to the core, and it really needs to come down. And you’re okay to think that way. Women who feel like you’re being treated unfairly because yeah. You’re being treated unfairly. This is not right.”
Sheila: Yeah. Yeah. Exactly. No. Exactly. Okay. Sorry. To jump around a bit to get back to something else that Emerson Eggerichs said in that passage that I read. He said that hierarchy doesn’t make men more willing to—more likely to abuse.
Keith: Yeah. The idea is bad men are going to abuse no matter what. The hierarchy has nothing to do with it. So it’s kind of like saying, “If your house is going to catch on fire, your house is going to catch on fire. So you might as well douse it in gasoline.” Are you kidding me? So if you’re teaching that these teachings can be used by a bad person to do bad things and you feel no responsibility to take ownership for that that is ridiculous. If I see two men who are in a heated dispute with each other and really, really angry, mad at each other, and I hand one of them a hammer and he bashes the other guy over the head with it, and I said, “Oh, well, it’s not my fault. It’s a tool. It’s not a weapon. He was supposed to use it as a tool, not a weapon.” Are you kidding me? That’s no excuse. So even if you believe God created hierarchy, if you believe that with every fiber of your being, you think that’s the truth, right? You cannot say when someone misuses that that you can wash your hands and walk away. That is not a Christian view. If it can be misused, it is your role to make sure it does not get misused. But instead any time it gets misused, they go, “Well, not my fault.” And they walk away. When they speak up at all—because oftentimes when this kind of idea is used and people are abused, they don’t speak up. I talk about the Steven Crowder video. Right? Steven Crowder just berating his wife—
Sheila: Let’s just give some context. So he’s a political commentator. He is a Christian or claims Christ.
Keith: He’s not a Christian commentator per se.
Sheila: Right. Mm-hmm. And there was a viral video of him—I don’t know when it was. Like 2 months ago maybe? I wrote an article about it which I will remember to link to hopefully in the podcast news.
Keith: Yeah. For Baptist World News.
Sheila: Yeah. For Baptist News. Where his wife was 8 months pregnant with twins, and she didn’t want to give the dog medicine because she wasn’t sure if it would affect the baby. And he was sitting there smoking a cigar berating her for not doing that and for being lazy and not respecting him.
Keith: Yeah. And so do we see people in The Gospel Coalition quickly rising up to say, “That is wrong. That is the sin of domination. He shouldn’t be doing that.” Do we see him being decried? Do we see him being—no. We don’t see that. Right? I mean do we see John MacArthur, right? Saying, “No. That’s not what complementarianism is really about. That’s not what sacrificial leadership looks like.” No. He’s too busy telling Beth Moore to go home. I mean come on. The double standard here. They will—the instant a woman does something they think is slightly out of line they’ll jump all over her. But a man does something like that, and they don’t say anything except that, “It’s not our fault because he’s not following the truth.” It’s crazy. It doesn’t make any sense.
Sheila: Well, and you can see that even with the SBC, Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S. They had their annual meeting. Gosh. What was it? 2 weeks ago now. And they really haven’t made headway on abuse. They’ve given lip service to it. But the big thing that the meeting was about was making sure that women aren’t pastors. So even though they have this huge abuse crisis and they’ve passed the buck and they haven’t dealt with it—
Keith: Yeah. So to me, this leads me to believe that they don’t take domination seriously. It’s something they’re saying, but they’re not actually putting their money where their mouth is. And so from my point of view, I know there’s a lot of disagreement on this. I know Christians disagree with me and not all of them are egalitarian. I think that’s—I understand that. I respect people have the right to their own views. But to those of you, if you are complementarian listening to this, can I suggest that maybe you spend less time criticizing people like me and more time policing your own? Because that’s what’s—if you want people to think complementarian is a good thing, doing a little bit of housecleaning might be good. That’s all I got to say.
Sheila: Yeah. Because Emerson Eggerichs said it has nothing to do with hierarchy. Abuse has nothing to do with hierarchy. And John Piper has said that—
Keith: Yeah. Despite the fact that all the studies do show that it does. I mean because if you tell a person they’re supposed to be in charge of another person you can’t—and you teach that we believe people are innately sinful. People are inherently sinful. We’re teaching that people are inherently sinful, and we’re teaching that men should be in charge of women. And then we go, “Surprise. Sinful men misuse that.” Are you kidding me? You don’t get to do that. If you believe those things, you need to expect it. You need to anticipate it. And you need to be on top of it. And the fact that they aren’t, to me, suggests this is not really about sacrificial leadership. It’s about keeping women under men. End of story. In my mind.
Sheila: Yeah. Yeah. That’s the aim. Okay. Let’s move on to number 2.
Sheila: Passivity. And I believe that your main point with passivity is that they’re not actually concerned with men being engaged people in the family. They’re simply concerned with men not being in charge.
Keith: Yes. This is a broken record. As we go through each of the 4 errors, the errors are all that women need to submit. Okay? So even when women are being dominated by their husbands, there’s no relief for them. They’re told submit more. They’re told win him without words. They’re told go back to your abuser. Maybe get the church to help out. Keep him accountable. But submit anyway. With passivity, they’re told, “That’s your fault too.”
Sheila: Okay. And how does that work?
Keith: Because if a man is not leading enough, it’s because he doesn’t feel supported enough by you. And that was what the Ligon Duncan post was about. You posted about that on a blog post a little while ago.
Sheila: Right. Yeah. So Ligon Duncan did—The Gospel Coalition published—put up a reel on Instagram of him talking about—and we’ll link to that reel. Of him saying that if you want a man to do risky things, things like getting the kids ready for church—
Keith: Reading the Scriptures.
Sheila: – reading the Scripture or thinking of life from a biblical point of view, so we’re talking about the bare minimum of being a Christian. And he’s calling these risky things. So if you want your husband to do risky things, you need to respect him first because you don’t understand how difficult this is for men. So it’s like all these things women are already doing. But ladies, if you want men to do them to, then you’ve got to support him, or else he won’t do these risky, risky, risky things like just being a bare minimum Christian. Yeah. Mm-hmm.
Keith: Yeah. And the thing is too—is whenever they talk about passivity they don’t really mean passivity. Again, it’s kind of a code word. And this is, again, just my opinion. But I challenge you to look at it yourself and see what you think when you hear about people speaking about passive men because they’re usually talking about men not being in charge. They’re not talking about men not pulling their weight and acting as an equal in the marriage. They’re saying he’s not in charge. And the whole point is not for him to stop being passive and pull his share. The point is for him to get back into leadership and her to submit to him.
Keith: And they even blame the women by saying, “If he felt more supported by you, he’d probably lead.” I mean it’s ridiculous. I mean so here’s the deal. So they teach that men are supposed to lead and women are supposed to submit. That’s the way that God designed us to be. So women not wanting to submit is rebelling against that. Okay. All right. I don’t believe it, but I can see where you’re going with that. Right? But this leadership that men are supposed to do—it’s so fragile that if a woman—even doesn’t support 100%, he can’t lead. It’s not his fault. He just can’t do it because she’s not supporting him. These are the people who are supposed to be the leaders. Are you kidding me? What a bunch of snowflakes. Egalitarian husbands are 10 times stronger than that. Come on. Pull your weight, dude. Talk to the men about pulling up their socks. Don’t talk to the women about how they need to support their men more. At least be internally consistent. If you’re supposed to lead, then lead for crying out loud. I mean I think most women don’t want to lead. I think most women want to partner. And that’s what we try to be.
Sheila: Yeah. I think when women say, “I just want my husband to be a spiritual leader,” I don’t think they mean leader. I think they just mean I want him to be engaged. I want someone who is actually taking the initiative and being proactive and thinking, “Okay. You know what? We really should be talking to our kids more about God. Let’s just pray after dinner. Or let’s have some neat conversations at dinner where we share our highs and our lows. And let’s connect with the kids.” She’s not looking for a leader. She just doesn’t want to have to do all this herself.
Keith: Mm-hmm. That’s right. And the thing is it—probably she has never been taught anything else. It’s either he’s a leader or he’s disengaged. Because to be honest, that’s a lot of times what happens in these circles because guess what? When you teach that men are supposed to be in charge of women, right? It’s going to naturally lead to domination or passivity because—this is what I said in the article. They talk about it as a spectrum where on the one hand is domination and on the other hand is passivity. But they’re not 2 ends of a spectrum. They’re actually 2 sides of the same coin. Men being in charge—I think the way I worded it in the blog post was if you preach that men are supposed to be in charge, then when women don’t let them be in charge, you should not be surprised that they rail and rant and get angry and dominate. But neither should we be surprised when women do let them. Then they become indolent and passive because that’s the reality of the way the human beings work. If you teach a man he’s supposed to be an equal, that the 2 of them are supposed to work together under God, they’re supposed to each bring their gifts, their complementing personalities and insights into the marriage, and the 2 of them, under God, work together as equals to build something great, you’re going to build a great marriage. But if you teach a man he’s supposed to be in charge and she needs to listen to him even if he doesn’t deserve that respect, how are you going to be healthy? He’s either going to—she’s either going to respect hi, which he’s just going to go, “Oh, great. I’m the cat’s meow.” Or she’s not going to respect him which he’s going to say, “Hey, woman. Emerson Eggerichs says you need to submit to me.” You know what I mean? It’s crazy.
Sheila: Yeah. Because it’s not actually teaching guys to be engaged, it’s teaching guys, “Hey, you—by nature of you having a penis, you get to have what you want.”
Keith: Yeah. The subtle teaching is that if men can’t be in charge then they will just disengage.
Sheila: Yeah. They’ll take their ball and go home.
Keith: Yeah. This is what’s said all the time. No wonder there’s so many disengaged men. Women are not letting men be men. Right? So basically what that implies is that a man cannot be an equal partner. He cannot share a relationship with a woman as an equal and see her at eye level on the same level as him and work together with her to make a good marriage. He either has to be in charge, or he’s going to not be able to—he’s going to disengage because he either has to be in charge or not. And I just think that is a horribly low view of men. I think that—I’m not that kind of man. That kind of a man, to me, is not the kind of man that anyone should aspire to. And I think that most people understand that. So why would you want to preach that?
Sheila: Yeah. Well, you said too—bring back up the Steven Crowder thing. What was so interesting about that video is that he’s demonstrating both domination and passivity in the same video.
Keith: Yeah. Yeah. Because he’s not doing his part of things. His wife is pregnant. The dog needs medication. Just give the dog the fricking medication, dude. What is your problem? Right?
Sheila: Yeah. But instead he’s sitting there smoking a cigar yelling at her to do it. So he’s being passive because he’s not engaged in the family, but he’s being domineering at the same time.
Keith: And this is the thing is if you call something a leader then you’ve ticked the box. So it doesn’t matter how you act because you’re the leader as opposed to actually looking at a person’s actions and what they’re doing. Another thing that we see a lot of times in homes that believe in hierarchy is a woman really being in charge of the house. But they all say that dad is head of the house. And so, therefore, we just ignore the fact that mom is really the head of the house because—but if we were to say mom is the head of the house, we would be in sin then. So we will just say dad is the head of the house.
Sheila: And I just want to point out that the phrase head of the house is not in Scripture.
Sheila: In fact, the closest that it comes in Scripture—it’s referring to women as women being managers of their own homes. It’s in Titus, I believe. And the phrase head of the wife, which is in 1 Corinthians 11 repeatedly especially, is not used in the Greek word that means authority or leader. There is a Greek word for head that means authority or leader. That is not the word that Paul chooses to use. Instead he chooses to use a word that has more unity connotation similar to Jesus’s prayer in John 13 that they would be one. And that’s the metaphor that he is using in the head body metaphor. That we are one and we need each other. And, again, Marg Mowczko is a great place to go for that as is Philip Payne. And I’ll put links to that. I just want to throw that in there.
Keith: Yeah. Exactly. That’s a perfect example because people read head of the wife and they assume that it means authority. Right? And they don’t realize it’s an assumption. They think that that is the Bible, and they’re not open to these other ideas. And then they start sliding into head of the house. Man is the head of the house. That’s not in the Bible. But they all think it is because of their assumptions. Right? So if you look at the word there, it’s kephale, which is—or kephale or kephale. I’m not sure how you pronounce it in Greek. But the word for the woman managing her household is oikodespotes. It has the word despot in it. Right? Okay. So there’s more of a connotation of authority in the word for the woman than for the man. Right? The word despot is actually in there.
Sheila: Yeah. Very, very funny.
Keith: I don’t think it means a woman is supposed to be a despot in her house. The point I’m trying to say is is that if you decide that this is the way it’s supposed to be and you say you believe that but you don’t actually live it out that’s okay. Somehow that’s okay. And that doesn’t make sense to me. It either has to work or it doesn’t have to work. So people who say, “Well, I would never take it to that level. So, therefore, don’t criticize this belief,” well, some people will take it to that level. Right? I had a woman arguing with me on Facebook in the post talking about how Sarah called her husband lord. So it’s like this is not unity. This is not about unity. This is about submission. Sarah called her husband lord. Okay. That means that you believe that all Christian women everywhere should refer to their husbands as lord. You believe that, like Sarah, they should let their husbands sell them into a harem for an Egyptian king to save his own skin. And we should praise him for that. That’s what the Bible says. So don’t tell me about these Bible verses and take them out of context like that. Right ? You’ve got to look at the whole picture. If it takes you down a bad pathway, don’t say, “Well, just come down the bad pathway a little bit but not so far.” Don’t go on the bad pathway. You don’t need to. There’s lots of good evidence of an egalitarian view in the Scriptures.
Sheila: Yeah, exactly. You want to turn to the women?
Keith: So the women, yeah. Men—dominating or passive. If men are dominating, women need to submit still. If they’re passive, women need to submit more.
Sheila: Right, and then women can usurp or be servile. The usurpation one people really liked this post.
Keith: Yes, they liked the Sesame Street thing.
Sheila: Yes, because why don’t you explain the Sesame Street one.
Keith: So I said somewhere in the post that—like when I see these four errors, it’s like the Sesame Street song. “One of these things is not like the other.” It comes into my head because the other three are all—
Sheila: By which you mean domination, passivity, and servility.
Keith: Yes, they’re all sort of character traits that a person can have. You can make an argument they’re bad. You shouldn’t be dominating. You shouldn’t be passive. You shouldn’t be servile. That would apply to men or women. We just recognize them as universally wrong. But usurpation is its own little category. This is actually something that is philosophically called begging the question. Now people often use the expression begging the question incorrectly. They use it to mean—prompt the question. Like, “Oh, but if you were there, then that begs the question,” and what they mean is that it prompts me to ask you. But that’s not what begs the question means. So begs the question is actually a philosophical form of circular reasoning where you use—you assert your belief and use the assertion of your belief to prove your belief. The reason this is begging the question is because usurpation can only happen if one person is usurping authority that they’re not meant to have from another person who’s meant to have it. So basically what people are saying is we believe in hierarchy between men and women, and if women err they might disrupt the hierarchy that we believe in. That’s an error that could happen that they stop believing in the hierarchy that we preach. Do you see how it’s circular? Usurpation is only a sin if you believe it’s possible to usurp. I understand that they believe that women should be under men, but you can’t use that to prove your argument. That’s called circular reasoning. So what’s the horrible sin women will go into? There’s no word they can put there because any word they put there—how would it be a sin for a woman to stand up for herself? How would it be a sin for a woman to say—to want her needs met in a relationship? How would it be a sin for a woman—these things they can’t say those things because they would so clearly obviously be a wrong thing to think of as sin so they say usurpation. You shouldn’t usurp. So women feel bad when they usurp their husbands’ authority. It’s just terrible. Again I know the vast majority of guys who believe this way are not going to mistreat their wives. They’re going to be decent guys, and they’re going to try to lead sacrificially and do that kind of stuff. But some of them are going to do—are going to expect their wives to submit in ways that are not appropriate. When you start talking about usurpation, what does that tell a woman about her place in this marriage? I mean just think about that. That is just so incredibly profound. I would never want to be in a relationship where you felt like you had to be afraid of what you said to me because you don’t want to overstep your bounds. I want you to be you. I want you to be all of you. I want you to be—I want 100% of you. I don’t want you holding back on me. To me that just sounds like holding back. I can’t imagine that.
Sheila: Yeah, what I loved too that you said in that post is that if a woman wants to be an equal partner, she is considered to be grasping for power and being selfish because she wants power. But if a man wants to have power over his wife, he’s considered righteous and good.
Keith: Yeah, I mean it’s a total double standard. It’s a total double standard.
Sheila: So a man can want power and not be grasping for power, but if a woman merely wants equality, then she’s grasping for power.
Keith: Yeah, exactly.
Sheila: If she just simply wants to—
Keith: Be treated as an equal. Yeah, exactly. So if she wants to be an equal, she’s usurping because you’re not supposed to be equal. You’re supposed to be submitting. I mean again I think most of them probably live like equals. But again, I’m a doctor. If there’s a drug that really doesn’t do anything to help you but every once in a while it really, really hurts you badly, I’m not going to give that drug to anybody. Like never. So to me you’ve got to show me that this way of looking at things is going to give some real serious benefits for the risks that you’re putting the people at. Again most of the evidence is showing that it does not bring benefits. The more you believe it, the more it hurts you. It’s just that people don’t totally put it into practice so they don’t really see how bad it is a lot of the time in my mind.
Sheila: Yeah, I am in the middle of writing an op-ed on some of the actual findings about whether or not complementarian men do better because there’s been a lot of conversation about that especially lately. This week Nancy Pearcey’s new book The Toxic War on Masculinity launched, and in it she was claiming that complementarian men do best. Josh Howerton said that last year in a viral Twitter thread. He’s an SBC mega church pastor from Texas and then also in an article for The Gospel Coalition. We already looked at how the research that he quoted from doesn’t actually say that. It in fact says the opposite. So we’re going to be writing a longer thread about that because Joanna has uncovered some amazing new data from even some more datasets showing again that we are misreading what complementarianism is in a lot of these surveys. We’re actually not measuring complementarianism, and then we’re saying, “Complementarians do better.” No, it doesn’t work that way. So I don’t know if that is going to be out at the same time this podcast is out because we’re recording this ahead of time, but in the next week it should be out. If you are part of my email list or part of the blog, you will see it so please sign up for our email list. If you just go to baremarriage.com, there’s an email signup on the very front page, and then you will see that op-ed and just everything else that I write so that’s great.
Keith: Well, the toxic masculinity thing is a perfect example, right? Because to me, there is a form of masculinity that’s toxic. But people say if you talk about toxic masculinity, you just hate men. Well, it’s like by saying that you’re telling me that you think that all masculinity is toxic. I think there’s a form of masculinity that’s toxic, and I think there’s a form of masculinity that’s not toxic. I’m against the toxic type. But if you say that by doing that I’m against all men, it means that you think all men are toxic. I disagree with you.
Keith: Part of the toxicity of masculinity is this whole idea of needing to be in charge or I’m going to take my ball and go home. That’s a toxic view of masculinity. I think that a more healthy view is a Christ-like view. Jesus although being in the very form of God emptied himself and became like a servant. That to me is my example. It’s not about grasping for power. It’s not about making sure that everyone knows their place in the pecking order, making sure that I’m the head of the house. It’s about making sure that I’m serving people around me like Jesus would.
Sheila: Yeah, and it’s taking the initiative to see what needs to get done and getting it done, like helping people. Yeah, exactly. Okay, so we had domination. We had passivity. We had usurpation. Now one of my favorites—I think this is my favorite one that you wrote. It’s certainly the one that got the most buzz on social media is the idea of servility.
Keith: Yeah, saving the best for last.
Sheila: Right, and the problem if I can summarize your argument here is that they’re not actually against servility because everything that they teach how women should be is the very definition of servile.
Keith: Yeah, and I said that in the blog post. I said that by making it sound like there’s a spectrum where willing submission is the middle and the extremes are usurpation and servility, it presents them as moderates. We don’t want women to be servile. We just want them to willingly submit. But then when you look at what they actually teach in their books and in their sermons, spoiler alert–it looks like servility. It really does. At what point, does a woman abase herself so much that she’s now being servile? I don’t see a line in that. I don’t see that. I don’t know if you want to talk about the Emerson Eggerichs part that I quote him in his book where he talks about a woman who is confronting her husband who is a workaholic. He tells her how to confront him. It’s this big long thing where she’s supposed to quietly go in and—
Sheila: Do you want to read it?
Keith: Oh, yeah, sure we can read it if you want. It’s on page 316, I think.
Sheila: Here’s what you’re supposed to say. “Your children need you at home more. You have a unique influence on him. In certain areas, nobody matters to him as much as you do. It may not appear that way to you, but your positive presence has the power to mold your kids. I know you are swamped and have little time, but I also know that you want to give him that part of you that no one else can give him. Thank you.” So here’s a woman who has a big problem with a workaholic husband, and that’s how she’s supposed. She’s allowed to say that, and then she must be silent for 10-20 days.
Keith: Yeah, and he even says, “Don’t ever let him know that what you’re really thinking is that he’s an idiot, and if he doesn’t smarten up, he’s going to ruin the whole family.” But don’t ever let him know that. It’s like that’s how bad it is, but you have to keep all that inside and say all these nice things about how you’re such a positive influence and all this stuff. Then say, “It would be really great if you could do this. Thank you.” Then it says don’t say anything again for 10-20 days.
Sheila: Yeah, and it even gives him an out. I know the reason you’re not doing this is—like it gives him the excuse.
Keith: Yeah, exactly. This is what they expect how a leader is supposed to be addressed. I’ll tell you. The people I know who are good leaders, they look for feedback. They don’t care if the feedback is good or bad because all feedback is good feedback. Yeah, don’t be disrespectful. Don’t come and yell at the guy and berate and treat him badly and stuff like that. But this is not—this is servile. I’m glad that when I’m being a dork, you call me on it just like I call you on it.
Sheila: Yeah, what’s the definition of servility again? I know you looked it up.
Keith: It’s an excessive willingness to serve or please other people. So excessive—like where’s the bar? When does it become excessive if this is what they expect? You’re not supposed to say anything again for 10 to 20 days. Then when you bring it up again, say, “Just a gentle, friendly reminder about how you’re important to us.” It’s like I am so glad that when I’m getting off-base you don’t have a problem talking to me about it. I want to hear from you. When you’re going off-base, I’m going to tell you about it. Now we’re going to be respectful to each other. But I don’t expect you to come to me like that. I would never want to be in a relationship where a woman felt like she had to come to me like that. I mean what kind of man wants his wife to feel like that’s the way she has to act around him. She has to jump through all those hoops. She has to be so gentle on his ego. She has to make sure she says all these nice things and then doesn’t really push him too hard. This is what God’s great leader for the family? He needs to hear that otherwise he can’t lead? I mean it’s inconsistent. If you’re a leader, you shouldn’t have to be treated like that. Why do they want women to treat you like that? Because they’re not interested in making good leaders. They’re interested in keeping women subjugated to men. End of story.
Sheila: Yep. Here can I read you some other examples?
Keith: Sure, yeah. I mean these are some great things. These are Christian teachings of what submission looks like. This is not servility. This is Christian submission for the wife.
Sheila: Okay, so I want to read some clips from Martha Peace’s book, The Excellent Wife. This is a really, really dangerous book. As much as we criticize Love and Respect, this one is way worse. This book still sells incredibly well. It’s heavily promoted in some biblical counseling circles especially with the ACBC. Again biblical counseling does not mean Christians who are counselors. Biblical counseling is a specific method of counseling that says only the Bible is okay and has a very hierarchical way of looking at problems and sees everything as a failure in terms of not enough faith or sin. So they don’t really look at trauma. Now some biblical counselors are starting to, but the original biblical counselors did not. This book is very much in that line. So this is a very dangerous book. Here’s what she has to say about submission. “In considering the scope of submission, in everything (Ephesians 5:24) means in all areas of life such as finances, decorating the house, the length of her hair, what to have for supper, and discipline of the children. A wife must obey her husband unless he asks her to sin.” It’s not even about submission. It’s about obedience. They’re arguing for a woman’s obedience.
Keith: Well, that’s the natural conclusion.
Sheila: Yeah, then she goes on to say, “A wife’s responsibility is to change her perspective and view submission through God’s and her husband’s eyes.” So not just through God’s eyes but through her husband’s eyes. She’s supposed to view submission through her husband’s eyes. This is actually calling women to violate the first commandment which is you shall love no other gods before me. Paul writes in 1 Timothy 2:5 that there is one God and one Mediator between humanity and God. That is the man Christ Jesus. This has actually set women up to have another mediator. It’s just like the umbrellas of authority that they talked about in the docuseries Shiny Happy People that Bill Gothard wrote about. Those umbrellas by the way make no sense. Just from a logical standpoint. The biggest umbrella is Jesus which is over everything—or God. Now if you have a huge umbrella that’s over everything, why do you even need smaller umbrellas? The big umbrella is already protecting you. You have this big umbrella that’s Jesus, and under that you have the husband’s umbrella of authority.
Keith: Slightly smaller.
Sheila: Then you have the wife’s under that, and then you have the children and presumably the dog under that. Everybody has to stay in their place or else Satan can attack you, but again how is Satan supposed to attack you if you’re under the big umbrella? You don’t need any umbrella other than God.
Keith: Here’s the thing. If you’re a woman and you step out under your husband’s authority and you become a usurper, then you’re now open to satanic attack. I want people to think about the theology of this. This is what I’m talking about. People talk about the Bible verses and we don’t use the Bible. Think of the theology of what this is saying. So there’s the umbrella of God that’s covering everybody. Then there’s the umbrella of the husband. If the wife steps out from under her husband’s umbrella, she is able to be attacked by Satan. So what that’s saying is that the husband’s umbrella is effective to protect her from the attacks of Satan, but the umbrella of God is not. She steps out–the husband’s umbrella is stronger than God’s umbrella because she’s still under God’s umbrella if she steps out from under the husband’s umbrella. But she could still be attacked by Satan. Is God not sufficient? What is this saying? The theology of it is so wrong.
Sheila: Yep. She’s supposed to view submission through God’s and her husband’s eyes. “The husband is the head of the home.” Again the Bible does not say that. “The wife is submit to even very small and seemingly unimportant requests or directives from him because they are important to him unless she is providentially hindered,” so unless she gets a broken leg or something and so she gets to not have to do it, “her failure to comply is not only insubordination to her husband but disobedience to God.” So if you want me to do something really little and I decide that I don’t want to, I’m actually disobeying God.
Keith: Yeah, that’s right because I want it, and I’m your husband.
Sheila: In our marriage, you are God to me.
Keith: Well, you could definitely read it that way for sure. Definitely the way you serve God. You serve God through serving your husband. So I become an idol in a sense.
Sheila: Yeah, exactly, which again violates commandments. It’s telling women they should have idols before God because even Peter—Peter wrote in Acts 5:29 that we need to obey God.
Keith: Rather than men.
Sheila: Not men. This is how she wraps it up. “In the event that submission does not turn out well, the wife can have the comfort of knowing that she was pleasing to her Lord and whatever suffering she undergoes will be for doing what is right.” So if she suffers, if her husband hurts her or abuses her, that’s pleasing to the Lord because her obeying her husband is the same as obeying God.
Keith: So basically we’re preaching women need to be under men. A woman comes to you and says, “Pastor, my husband is not treating me well.” Let’s say it’s not abuse. Let’s just say he’s nasty, and he’s not a nice person. You say to her, “Read this book The Excellent Wife, and go back.” Then she comes back to you a year later, “I read it. I put everything in place. He’s still not nice to me. My life is still really bad.” He says, “You have the treasure of knowing you’re obeying God in heaven. Go, be warm, and well fed.” That’s exactly out of James. How can you say to a person who’s suffering, “Go and be well, knowing your reward is going to be in heaven”? That is the antithesis of a Christian response.
Sheila: What does Jeremiah say? “Woe to those who say, ‘Peace, peace, when–
Keith: “When there is no peace.”
Sheila: “Yet you ignore the wounds of my people.”
Keith: If you believe women are supposed to be subject to men and women are getting hurt by it, and you say to them, “Well, at least you’ll have your reward in heaven,” what a copout.
Sheila: Which is what Emerson Eggerichs says every time a woman submits to a very harsh husband, and the definition of harsh if you read his description is an emotionally abusive man. He says, “A billion angels celebrate.” So again I just want to say that what Martha Peace is saying about how obeying him in the tiny things, that’s not servile.
Keith: Yeah, exactly, because that’s the definition of submission.
Sheila: Because this is just willing submission. Remember, servility is bad. They’re telling me to do it, this can’t be servility.
Keith: Well, there’s even one in The Power of the Praying Wife where she basically says he tells her, “I want pork chops tonight.” He gets home and says, “Actually I don’t feel like pork chops. I want chicken.” The expectation is—
Sheila: In The Power of the Praying Wife which we talked about last week on the podcast—and by the way thank you so much for the—we had no idea that podcast was going to go as big as it did. We really struck a nerve. I know Sarah McDougal and Gretchen Baskerville were blown away by the response to that as well. If you haven’t listened to it, please do. It was a really important podcast about prayer and the problems with The Power of the Praying Wife, but in her book, Stormie Omartian tells the story of how—and this happened frequently apparently. Her husband would call her from work and say, “Hey, you know what I really want for dinner. I want this chicken dish.” She would go to the store. She would buy the stuff. She would prepare the chicken dish. He would walk in the door and say, “No, I’ve changed my mind. I want this instead.” She would go and prepare the other thing. She said she just had to learn to be grateful for what her husband brought to the—so again, this is not servile. This is what they would call willing submission because servility is bad and what they’re teaching you to do is even when he asks you for ridiculous things—
Keith: Yeah, when he changes his mind on the drop of a hat and does a 180, you’re supposed to adjust. That’s not servile. That’s willing submission.
Sheila: That’s not servility. So remember all of the things they are describing in these books which are outrageous, they would not describe those are servile because this is—they’re expecting women to do this which means they think this is the proper thing which means this is what they think willing submission looks like. This isn’t servility.
Keith: Exactly. Again I would say there are people out there who do believe in hierarchy don’t come back to me or Sheila now and say, “That’s not what we believe. That’s not what we believe,” when there’s people out there who are preaching that. Go talk to them, and teach them why they’re wrong and that’s not what God actually meant.
Sheila: Yeah . If you believe that this advice is wrong, then will you please tell people to stop reading Power of a Praying Wife? Will you please tell people to stop reading The Excellent Wife? I shouldn’t have to do it. You should police your own.
Keith: Yeah. Exactly. I don’t want to belabor the point.
Sheila: Okay. So servility. So if servility isn’t that, what is servility?
Keith: Yeah. And this is the thing is every time you hear about servility being talked about—I never heard a sermon saying women are too submissive. It’s like no. But the one thing I’ve heard is women cannot follow their husbands into sin. Right?
Sheila: Yeah. So that’s what they think servility is following your husband into sin.
Keith: And that to me is the only way that I can think. You’re so servile that you follow your husband into sin. And she even said that in there too. She can’t follow him into sin. And they get mad at women for following—for doing that. Right? Because a lot of women sort of feel like they’re following their husband, and their husband kind of leads them down bad pathways. And then they get blamed for going along. Well, it’s like but he was taking her there. And you told her to listen to him. And then he took her there, and then now you’re mad at her. That doesn’t make any sense. I mean a lot of people who preach this stuff about how women need to submit to their husbands preach women are more easily deceived than men. That’s one of the arguments I see. Why can’t women be pastors? Why does the man have to be the head of the family? Because women are more easily deceived. So therefore, God has instituted this situation where the husband is actually in charge because he protects her, and he takes care of her. And she should always follow him because she’s easily deceived unless he’s trying to deceive her. And then she should know better and not follow him. It makes no sense. If a woman is easily—more easily deceived, then there should be all kinds of sermons about how—okay, women, you should follow your husband. But because you’re easily deceived, you should never, ever do this. And you should never do that, and you should never do this. And there should be a lot of policing going on because we should recognize that women are more easily deceived and be trying to help these poor women who God has made more easily deceived not get into trouble because God bless them. They can’t help it. Right? But instead, we tell women they are more easily deceived, first of all, which is a crock. And I don’t believe, by the way, if you didn’t get that from my sarcastic tone. But they teach women they’re more easily deceived, but then they’re still in trouble if they were deceived and believed their husband. That is so unfair. That is so wrong and theologically, philosophically, metaphysically, everyway, it’s bad. It’s just terrible. I mean Eggerichs is another one. So Eggerichs says—it was a sermon. The sermons that you talked about that he didn’t—at Houston’s First Baptist. Right?
Keith: He talks about how—he’s clearly mad because people have clearly said to him that—I shouldn’t say clearly. It appears to me that he’s very angry.
Sheila: And feeling defensive.
Keith: The assumption that I’m making is people have told him, “You’re telling women to follow their husbands into sin.” And he gets mad because he says this whole thing. He says, “Ananias and Sapphira. They were both killed for their bad behavior. Ananias first. Then Sapphira gets brought in. And Peter says, ‘What did you do with the money?’ And she lies to him too. And she dies too. And Peter doesn’t say, ‘I preach women should submit to their husbands. You submitted to your husband. You get a pass.’ He says, ‘No. Because they’re boundaries.’”
Sheila: Yeah. And he says it really loud, like really mad. “There are boundaries.” Yeah.
Keith: And he’s really mad. Boundaries. Right? So it’s like, “Woman, you should know better.” So it’s like, “Okay. Woman, if you don’t submit to your husband, you’re going to hell. But if you do submit to your husband and he leads you into sin, well, then you’re going to hell. But if you don’t submit to your husband because you think he’s leading you into sin, but he really isn’t, then you’re going to hell. But if you do submit to your husband and you didn’t feel right about it, you thought it was bad. But you decided to trust his judgment because you’re easily deceived and it was sin, well, you’re still going to hell.” It’s terrible. It’s just so wrong.
Sheila: Yeah. It absolutely is. There was one example that you gave of—
Keith: Yeah. Of servility.
Sheila: Of a man—of John Piper. It was John Piper giving advice about not to follow your husband into sin. And I think of everything that you wrote that’s got the most interaction on social media. So why don’t we play that video? So to set up the context, this is part of a longer video that has actually gone quite viral because it’s the famous one where John Piper said that women should endure abuse for a season and endure getting smacked around for a night. And so that’s highly obviously problematic. But that’s not actually the part of this video that we want to bring attention to. There’s this other minute long clip where he’s talking about what if your husband is asking you to sin.
Keith: Mm-hmm. How do you submit in that situation?
Sheila: Yes. And he uses the example of group sex. So let’s just listen to this.
John Piper: If this man, for example, is calling her to engage abusive acts willingly—group sex or something really weird, bizarre, harmful—that clearly would be sin. Then the way she submits—and I really think this is possible. It’s kind of paradoxical. She’s not going to go there. I’m saying no. She’s not going to do what Jesus would disapprove even though the husband is asking her to do it. She’s going to say, however, something like, “Honey, I want so much to follow you as my leader. God calls me to do that. And I would love to do that. It would be sweet to me if I could enjoy your leadership.” Then she would say, “But if you ask me to do this, require this of me, then I can’t do there.”
Keith: Okay. So first of all—
Sheila: First of all, ick. Oh my gosh.
Keith: So tell me that’s not servile. Right?
Sheila: Like, “Baby, I would love to follow your leadership into bringing your secretary into our bedroom. But I just don’t think I can. But honey, I love you so much.”
Keith: I just can’t. Yeah. And the thing is. Listen to the way that he talks when he goes into that fake woman voice. It’s like he’s practically crying. “It would be so sweet to follow your leadership.” What guy doesn’t see that as servile? That is servile. She’s apologizing for not wanting to do group sex. And this person has the gall to say that he has the right to tell women how to act. This is crazy. This is so morally bankrupt. It is unbelievable. I cannot believe this has lasted. Again, I think the vast majority of people who would call themselves complementarians would agree that is wrong. But then they need to start stepping up and telling John Piper when he’s wrong then.
Sheila: Yeah. And you need to stop quoting him and using him in sermons because—I keep hearing people say he’s such a good Bible teacher. Would a good Bible teacher ever say that? Would a good Bible teacher tell women they need to endure abuse for a season?
Keith: I know. It’s crazy. I think a lot of people are scared because they see egalitarianism and they think it’s really extreme. They want to have a more traditional kind of life and stuff like that. You can have a very traditional kind of household and be egalitarians. All egalitarian means is that the husband and wife are both equally under God. They’re not one under the other. We’re both equally under God, and we’re striving to follow Jesus. And if your family that’s he brings home the bacon and she fries it up on the stove, that’s fine. But don’t say that she needs to do whatever he says or else they’re not following the Lord. That’s crazy especially when it brings such heartache. And when heartache does come, step up and say, “That’s never what God intended.” Please, please.
Sheila: Yeah. Because there is just a more beautiful way of doing this. I think of the start of Hebrews 12, right? “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us throw aside every weight,”—like a lot of these teachings—“and the sin which so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us looking to Jesus, the Author and Perfector of our faith.” It is Jesus who is the Perfector of our faith. Both men and women. It is Jesus that we are to be looking to. Both men and women. And what a beautiful picture of marriage for a husband and wife to side by side, holding hands, aiming for Jesus. That is who we’re following. That is who we’re allowing to lead us, and we are serving each other as we following Jesus. How is that an unbiblical way of looking at it?
Sheila: And it works better. The studies show it works better. Hierarchy is inherently dangerous. It really denies women their personhood. When you say, “Hey, you’re not supposed to bring things up. You have to,”—basically, like what Emerson Eggerichs was describing. “You can’t share most of what you’re feeling with your husband because that would be usurping. That would be not respecting him.” And I want you to know everything I’m thinking.
Keith: And I want to know what you’re thinking.
Sheila: That’s how we get intimacy. I don’t have to hide who I am to you.
Keith: Yeah. Because it might upset me. Right? And I certainly don’t want you to be always—if I’m becoming a workaholic, I don’t want you to be afraid to come and talk to me about that because you have to protect me. I want you to—iron sharpens iron. This is what we want to do for each other.
Sheila: Yeah. And so anyway, that’s just what we wanted to share. I really loved your series this month. And we will put the link—I’ll put the link to the first post in the podcast notes. And then if you—when you scroll to the bottom after you’ve read it, there’s links to the other 3 on domination, passivity, usurpation, and servility. Really good. And I really pray that the evangelical church will wake up and will move towards what is really real health and wholeness as we serve Jesus together because that is a beautiful picture. So if you want to be part of that with us, remember to check out our tool kit, which is brand new, and it’s available now. And yeah. We just had an amazing couple help us and design it beautifully. It’s so cool. So you’ll want to get your hands on those hand outs that you can give to friends, to pastors, to small group leaders, and help spread the message. And if you like what Keith had to say, remember that he is the amazing coauthor of our book, The Good Guy’s Guide to Great Sex. And we did that together. We are about to start writing our marriage book together.
Sheila: Which is going to be awesome. But The Good Guy’s Guide to Great Sex, Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, they make awesome bridal shower gifts. Let’s make those the bridal shower gift so that in 10 years nobody needs The Great Sex Rescue. Yes. So thank you for joining us. We have 2 more podcast coming up to end this season before we take a month off. And they’re going to be fun. We’ve already recorded next week’s. Rebecca, Joanna, and I are talking about Jane Austen’s marriage advice. So we’re all Jane Austen fans, so we go deep into Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, Persuasion, Mansfield Park. And I think Joanna talked about Northanger Abbey, but I’ve never been able to get through that one. But anyway, so that’s super fun. And then the week after that, Rebecca and I—we are having a Brio magazine pajama party where we are looking at Focus on the Family’s Brio Magazine and the advice they gave to teenage girls for so long. So that is going to be ending this season before we being our next season in mid-August. So keep your eye out for that. And maybe, hon, maybe you can write another series for us sometime because this one has been awesome.
Sheila: All right. Bye-bye.
Sheila: See you soon.
Keith's Danvers Statement Series
Looking at the 4 ways those who believe in hierarchy in marriage think marriage can go wrong
- Domination: Do hierarchalists take it seriously?
- Passivity: Is it the problem hierarchalists say it is?
- Usurpation: Behold the circular logic!
- Servility: When every problem is a nail
- And our PODCAST summarizing the whole series!
Plus see the book Keith co-authored with Sheila, The Good Guy's Guide to Great Sex!