"Wrong type of men"

Recently I’ve been trying to make sure I’m properly understanding some of the arguments from soft complementarians and egalitarians. (Finished reading Bartlett M&W in Christ; it’s not great).

I’ve also listened to a couple of interviews from Todd Bordow critiquing Patriarchy, he didn’t move my overall perspective but one point he made stuck with me: if you form a movement based on emphasising male authority then you’re going to attract the wrong sorts of men, including those who may wish to use it as a cover for cruelty.

Most of us feel that our emphasis on male authority is part of a broader desire to re-emphasise the authority of Scripture in the Church. But it made me wonder is this a real danger, and if so, what are the ways of avoiding it? Perhaps by uniting around other issues such as 6 day creation?

Similarly, reading Warhorn I’m thankful for the emphasise on obeying the magistrates during all the madness. Another criticism Bordow made was that the same figures who emphasise patriarchy are often very disrespectful of the authorities they are under.


Yes, I think it will happen. But in the local church it is clear pretty quickly when a man despises women or is simply on a power trip. And he won’t stick around long when his sins are being confronted and his wife is being taught what it means to be a helpmeet.


The important word in that statement is confronted, as well as how the confrontation is made. If the rogue patriarch is actually challenged - face to face, that is - he will either repent or flee. The wife and/or children who suffer under his sinfulness will also need concerted support from church elders wherever possible.

The key is the character of the elders, not to mention their unity in supporting the pastor and any of their number who become directly involved in challenging a rogue patriarch.

I got tossed into the deep end of a pool full of alligators and pythons right out of seminary. The elder board was composed of cowardly men who would not even go with me to admonish one of their number - i.e. another elser - who was sleeping around, who gave an STD to his wife from this behavior, and whose wife had directly petitioned the elder board to admonish the man! On the “outside” these men looked ordinarily masculine, but when push came to shove, they were cowards.


This is an appealing argument until you remember that it is not we who have formed a movement: God has so ordered his universe such that fathers rule.

The literal patriarchs of Genesis committed multiple grievous sins that would drum any of us out of ministry for a lifetime, and yet they stand as the patriarchs and God’s intentions for father-rule stand.


The most common failure I’ve seen among men “committed to patriarchy” is that they are very committed to their own personal authority in their home, but are unwilling to be accountable to the other father-authorities God has ordained: church fathers and city fathers (civil authorities).

There is always a danger of neglecting certain truths in the name of “emphasizing” another, and it’s very easy to overcorrect in response to lies like feminism. Churches should both commit themselves to patriarchy and to holding men accountable for their abuses of their authority. It’s easy for the church to attract wicked men if the church is unwilling to exercise its own authority in disciplining all its members. When that happens, it’s just the other side of the coin of feminism.


Oh, by the way, @ascryans, have you read Daddy Tried by Tim Bayly?

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Yes I have (I also recommended it to recent fathers) although it was a little while ago now.

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This is a very important point. If the purpose of your church isn’t God and His glory, isn’t teaching and preaching the whole counsel of God’s Word, then you will inevitably fall into imbalance.

This is as true of man pleasing “seeker sensitive” churches as it is of man pleasing “patriarchal” churches. When your focus is scratching a particular itch, or fighting a particular battle, you will inevitably create a hyper-focus on that, and attract those who get their itch scratched and want nothing more from the church.

This is why the Reformers didn’t just focus on the RC Church, or limit themselves to being a malcontent movement against RC practices they didn’t like, but instead taught on all of scripture and Christian life. It’s why their writings remain so relevant and helpful centuries later, despite the fact that our situations and circumstances have changed greatly.