Advice to Complementarians

As any regular readers will be only too aware I am generally not considered a complementarians (that is male headship supporter to the rest of us) best friend.

So I thought I would change this with some excellent advice. Two bits of advice in fact.

Advice 1. Protection

This is simple. Do not engage in a debate on complementarianis, (male headship) with a woman. You think it will be easy because in your universe women are not allowed to teach men. You are wrong. You stand a great chance of being totally decimatated.

Sadly for him Mike Seaver of Role Calling did not get this advice in time. Sadly for him he did not do his research before entering in a debate with Cheryl Schatz of Women in Ministry. If he had then he might have realised how knowledgable and skilled Cheryl is despite being a woman. He might then have realised that he was out of his depth. But he didn't.

So the first four parts of their debate are now available. Each part can be read on either blog, but Cheryl has collected many more comments which are worth reading.

The series so far is worth reading to see how gently but consistantly Cheryl demolishes Mike's arguments using Scripture leaving him floundering in a sea of vagueness.

Advice 2. Closed blogs don't protect.

Mike has a policy of strict moderation on his blog. He describes it as:

1. Please comment! But know that all comments will be approved and
possibly edited by me. 2. I won't be able to respond to many comments,
but look forward to conversations developing and good resources being
recommended. 3. I may not post your comment and simply answer it in a
later post. 4. I may delete it altogether if an attitude,
recommendation, or resource isn't something I think will be helpful to
readers. This is a public forum, but one that seeks to promote the
worship and glory of Jesus Christ both in content and attitude. Thanks!

He means it. Disagree with him and it is unlikely your comment will ever appear. This attempts to protect the sensitive men who read "Role Calling" from arguments that might demolish their bubble of superiority. But by the very nature of the internet such protection is useless. The open comments on Chreyl's posts are a good example.

So the advice is. You can't protect yourself from the truth. Don't try to close your blog to comments or feel that you can control things through moderation. The truth will get published elsewhere. Those who disagree won't disappear simply because you edit their comments or don't have comments. Instead the word will spread.


Don't take the advice very seriously. But read the posts to be reminded that complementarianism & male headship is built on sand and that sand cannot hold against knowledgeable debate. To paraphrase Dad's Army – "you are all doomed!"

5 thoughts on “Advice to Complementarians

  1. Daniel

    I don’t know that I would consider myself a “complementarian,” however I am beginning to suspect that there may be evidence to back up the notion of a sort of spiritual headship of a father in a Christian family. Have you seen the statistics about children whose fathers take them to church vs children whose mothers take them to church? In adulthood, those taken by their fathers are vastly more likely to remain church-goers than those whose father was absent (I’ll have to look for the study itself, I am recalling this from conversation). There may be a number of other social factors playing into that, but it could lend a bit of support to the idea that we are “hardwired” by God to look to our fathers as spiritual leaders (and perhaps, all the more hurt if they fail in that capacity).

  2. Dave

    Sorry but I don’t make the same connection as you do.
    Am I surprised that kids are more likely to remain church goers if their parents go to church?
    Of course not.
    Does that mean male headship has any standing?
    Of course not.
    Our parents are hugely influential. You don’t have to believe in male headship to believe that.

  3. Bridget Jack Meyers

    In our household, I’m very much the spiritual leader. If I don’t remind my husband that it’s time to say family prayers, read the scriptures or have Family Home Evening, it doesn’t get done. (My husband is Mormon and I’m an evangelical Christian, so take my story with a grain of salt if you like, but Mormonism is another religion which pretty clearly practices male headship.)
    For example: a couple of years ago when we moved back to Washington state after college, I stopped going to church because I really wasn’t fitting in well at my old Presbyterian church. Subsequently he didn’t go to the Mormon church, either. As soon as I found a congregation I liked which fit me better and began going back to an evangelical church, he began going back to his Mormon church, too. I was the one who set the pace.
    I would also point out that the reason Judaism traces a person’s Jewishness matrilineally is because they believe that it’s women who are primarily responsible for the spiritual nurturing of children. When a non-Jewish man marries a Jewish woman, the children are still considered Jewish. When a Jewish man marries a non-Jew, the children are not considered Jewish.
    I’d have to see this study to be sure, but I suspect that if it says children are more likely to attend church when the father attends, it has more to do with social constructs of paternal authority than some actual innate ability to be heads found in all men.

  4. dave perry

    Delicious post Dave; thanks for writing it. You have introduced me to a whole other world of male thinking which seems as surreal as that depicted by Dali. Truly bizarre. Makes ‘Dad’s Army’ look like The Paras in comparison. Maybe these guys need the NHS?


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