Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Male sexuality and marriage-onlyism — or, actually...

OUR DEAL, and I've made this one before: it's a brief post. Don't read any of it unless you commit to read all of it. Okay? Here we go:
Anyone thinking the ‘male sexuality’ battle is over & done, we still have a long way to go. Marriage-onlyism, even when delivered with trendy clothes & a cool haircut, is still merely the oppression of men. My heart aches to see younger men grow up free from this teaching, so they don’t have to doubt their sexual gifting, their equality in the Body of Christ, or their equality within society.
Pause. Sound of dropping jaws, swallowed gum, across globe

Okay, regular readers will guess that either I have completely lost my mind, or am up to something. Selection B would be your safer bet in this case.

That paragraph was a Danitized version of the following original text:
“Anyone thinking the ‘women in ministry’ battle is over & done, we still have a long way to go. Complementarianism, even when delivered with trendy clothes & a cool haircut, is still merely the oppression of women. My heart aches to see younger women grow up free from this teaching, so they don’t have to doubt their leadership gifting, their equality in the Body of Christ, or their equality within marriage.”
That quotation is lifted from Denny Burke, quoting a Christian singerwoman. Denny then gives her a respectful, gentle response. Nobody should read what follows as in any way critical of his fine post.

However, I'm not inclined to respond to this oft-heard complaint gently or respectfully. Surprise!

First, I recall the pastor who told the singer before the service, "Let's have a deal: you don't preach, and I won't sing." That would have been good, here.

Second, why do women-who-don't-like-what-the-Bible-says-about-women and homosexuals-who-don't-like-what-the-Bible-says-about-homosexuals so often seem to expect and receive such dainty treatment, as if they were Special Cases with a note from Mom or their doctor? The notion seems to be that if we really-really-really want something in our hearts, and if it feels right to us... well, it just can't be wrong. Can it?

Fellow-redeemed-sinner, all of us find things in the Bible that run contrary to our flesh. I can't imagine anyone posing as a Bible-believing Christian arguing that men whose sexual drives don't run to monogamy shouldn't be "oppressed" and "in bondage" to expectations of sexuality-within-marriage-only.

Yet is the Bible any less clear about male sexuality than it is about homosexuality or wifely submission, or women being barred from leadership over men in the church?

That our flesh wants things that are wrong — even really-really-really wants them — should be Breaking News to no Christian.

Hmm, flesh, flesh, flesh... does the Bible say anything about it, what it is, whether we're supposed to coddle it or flatter it or accomodate it or, oh, I don't know, mortify its deeds?

Dang, I really should have written a chapter in a book on that very subject.

Oh wait. I did.

Instances such as this, very seriously, to my mind reflect an incomplete grasp of what conversion really means and involves. And it was with that exact problem in mind that I wrote WTG.

15 comments:

Scooter said...

A refusal to obey what the Scriptures say, even when it's spoken about in innocence terms such as "equality", "liberation", "doubting their leadership ability", is still sin.

It's amazing how we try to appease our flesh by redefining terms. Submission really means OPPRESSION! My *insert particular idolatry* really fulfills me! Apparently this woman would rather obfuscate plain biblical teaching to the ruin of her followers.

Robert said...

When I hear this type of statement, it takes me back to what God told Eve in Genesis 3:16 -

"To the woman He said, 'I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in your pain you will bring forth children; yet your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.'"

Not much has changed in around 6,000 years, but that is the way God is...He does not change and neither does His Word.

Mark B. Hanson said...

"Danitized"? Does that mean you are a member of the Danite band? If so, what instrument do you play?

DJP said...

It was Danitized for your instruction.

Unknown said...

Like Robert I am back in Genesis 3. Except I am thinking of how the woman misinterprets the instructions from God, and the serpent skillfully twists the meaning ever so slightly to make Eve want just a little more than God gave her (" Did God really say...".

Not that I'm saying it's exclusive to women to do this; I am simply highlighting the serpent's great skill in creating unbelief and rebellion in humans and Eve is the earliest example.

Rachael Starke said...

There are host of reasons why I should be an egalitarian - my gifts lean towards leadership and teaching, I've grown up surrounded by jerky complementarians, most definitions of complementarianism seem narrowly focussed around marriage and what's forbidden, most churches do a pretty poor job at discipling and mentoring women and men in their respective roles, etc.

All of those issues are irrelevant in light of who God reveals Himself to be In Scripture, and who He calls us, and enables us, to be as His sons and daughters.

Wanting what God wants for me, even when the world, the flesh, the devil and the church tempt me to rebel, reassures me that I really do belong to Him.

Fred Butler said...

The main problem with this woman's position is she erroneously thinks a CCM performer is the same as a pastor/minister. That's false. She's just a singer, a paid entertainer, not a pastor. She needs to make the case for her being recognized as have an equal role as a minister first before she complains about oppression.

It's the same problem we often face when a CCM performer is caught in a scandal. The guy or gal is treated as if he or she had some pastoral authority or position in the church from which now the person is biblically disqualified. Their role as a CCM performer never placed them in such a position to begin with.

Doesn't mean I would automatically give the person a pass if his tour came to my church, but we still need to keep this in perspective. It's entertainment. Maybe with bibley (or pseudo-bibley lyrics), but its just entertainment.

acrossthejordan said...

Good post. Spot on. I've seen a lot of those "women-who-don't-like-what-the-bible-says-about-women" do fantastic impressions of spoiled little children, feet stomping and all. If they had produced a "note from Mom" I'm not sure I would have been surprised. I think people on the Complementarian side tend to tread lightly when addressing the issue in order to avoid the temper tantrums that inevitably ensue from telling these women "no".

Rita Tomassetti said...

"if we really-really-really want something in our hearts, and if it feels right to us... well, it just can't be wrong"--> This is why I always go back to the Pedophile example. People who are pedophiles also have this urge in their hearts to do perverse things with children and some teenagers consent to it, does it make it right just because it feels right to both of them? no and boy will liberals and feminists and homosexuals (except for when it comes to man-boy relationships) will quickly say "of course not! That's different". But to me, according to their argument, pediphiles are just oppressed people who deserve to have the desires of their hearts fulfilled.

DJP said...

Of course you're right, Rita. But to your example, many would reply "No, that's different. That hurts someone else."

To this, two quick responses:
1. Who says that means a thing is bad? That's still a moral judgment.

2. The argument has been made, as I think I've documented, that these relationships are or can be actually "good" for the child.

Cast off God's law and human perversity is bottomless and edgeless. Falling forever.

jazzact13 said...

--Fellow-redeemed-sinner, all of us find things in the Bible that run contrary to our flesh. I can't imagine anyone posing as a Bible-believing Christian arguing that men whose sexual drives don't run to monogamy shouldn't be "oppressed" and "in bondage" to expectations of sexuality-within-marriage-only.

Something I've noticed recently, though, has made me think this may be where some people (emergents) are going.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tonyjones/2011/07/11/whats-a-christian-to-do-with-dan-savage/

Tony Jones is talking about Dan Savage, and seems sympathetic to what Savage says about how some people need more than one partner. Plus, Jones mentions knowing people he calls Christians who are in open marriages and practice polyamory.

http://brianmclaren.net/archives/blog/lets-talk-about-premarital-sex.html#more

McLaren responds to a letter from a man who had been sexually active with his fiance before they were married, and how that activity seemed to draw the couple together and let them have a close relationship to God. McLaren goes on about how Jamesian and Paulian, how they tried to behave in sync with the Holy Spirit, and how mature they were. He also makes a trademark slam against what he calls a "constitutional" reading of the Bible, which I guess may include people who know the Bible teaches sex in marriage only.

trogdor said...

But he said nobody would pose as a Bible-believing Christian and make that argument. Jones and McLaren haven't put on their sheep disguises in years, so they hardly serve as counter examples. At this point the only way they could make their wolfdom more obvious would be delivering sermons where they recount attempts to devour red-clothed girls in the woods, interrupted by occasional howls.

TrueHope said...

As long as we're talking about a moderate form of complementarianism that doesn't entail eternal subordination of women, I don't see why male headship in the church implies oppression. In ancient Israel, Benjamites and other non-Levite tribes were not considered oppressed or inferior even though they can't serve as priests.

jazzact13 said...

You have an interesting point, trogdor. We know those like Jones and McLaren are not really "Bible-believing Christians" as DJP uses that phrase. But I do think there are those who would consider them in that way, even if by "Bible-believing" they mean shredding the Bible to mean whatever they want it to mean.

Also, don't be too surprised if less obvious wolves start echoing them, or at least play they "we want to be defined by what we're for, not against" wimp-out card.

REM said...

Thanks for posting Dan. Refuting this with actual scripture has been done so many times that you would think after the millionth bullet that egals would say the horse really is dead this time. I recall the "I'm not dead yet" Monty Python quote everytime I hear one of these contentious troublemakers.

However, with the whole worship leader ethos/celebrity factor taking precedent over what corporate biblical worship aught to look like, no surprise that stuff like this keeps pumping out.