Confusing Sexism with “the Gospel”

The following is an excerpt from an article shared on the website for a complementarian organization known as “Together 4 the Gospel”:

“The future of the church lies in reaching young men. I think it was Mark Driscoll who recently said or wrote something like that. And he is not alone in making such observations. Given the way that God has made us, men do have a leadership role to fulfill in the church, and our not fulfilling it will be to the detriment of the churches.”  (http://t4g.org/2006/08/man-less-christianity/)

Who does the author of this article reference to support his view that “the future of the church lies in reaching young men,” so that they can fulfill their allegedly God-given responsibility of providing leadership in the church? Mark Driscoll. Here are Mark Driscoll’s much publicized views on male and female roles. (Trigger alert—I personally find this material very disturbing; you may as well. Please read the following quotations at your own discretion):

“Without blushing, Paul is simply stating that when it comes to leading in the church, women are unfit because they are more gullible and easier to deceive than men. Before you get all emotional like a woman in hearing this, please consider the content of the women’s magazines at your local grocery store that encourages liberated women in our day to watch porno with their boyfriends, master oral sex for men who have no intention of marrying them, pay for their own dates in the name of equality, spend an average of three-fourths of their childbearing years having sex but trying not to get pregnant, and abort 1/3 of all babies – and ask yourself if it doesn’t look like the Serpent is still trolling the garden and that the daughters of Eve aren’t gullible in pronouncing progress, liberation, and equality.”(http://thewartburgwatch.com/2012/07/05/danger-flee-churches-which-teach-that-women-are-easily-deceived/)

and,

“Men, I am glad to report to you that oral sex is biblical…The wife performing oral sex on the husband is biblical. God’s men said, Amen. Ladies, your husbands appreciate oral sex. They do. So, serve them, love them well. It’s biblical. Right here. We have a verse. ‘The fruit of her husband is sweet to her taste and she delights to be beneath him.’

She [the wife] says, ‘I’ve never performed oral sex on my husband. I’ve refused to.’ I said, ‘You need to go home and tell your husband that you’ve met Jesus and you’ve been studying the Bible, and that you’re convicted of a terrible sin in your life. And then you need to drop his trousers, and you need to serve your husband. And when he asks why, say, ‘Because I’m a repentant woman. God has changed my heart and I’m supposed to be a biblical wife.’ She says, ‘Really?’ I said, ‘Yeah. First Peter 3 says if your husband is an unbeliever to serve him with deeds of kindness.’ [Laughter from audience] How many men would agree, that is a deed of kindness. He doesn’t want tracts. Those won’t do anything. What we’re talking about here could really help.  (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/christianpiatt/2013/04/mark-driscolls-oral-fixation/)

Also cited in the article on Together 4 the Gospel’s website is David Murrow, author of a book entitled, “What Your Husband Isn’t Telling You.”  Here are the views on male and female roles that he shares in his book:

“If a man is not allowed to be the spiritual leader in his home, he won’t know what role to play because men are hierarchical thinkers” (p. 152).

“Men are like ‘chocoholics’ when it comes to sex. If a man is unable to come home after work and ‘indulge [his] fantasy,’ he will believe his wife is saying, ‘get your ya-yas somewhere else, buddy.’ Wives shouldn’t be surprised to later find their husbands ‘engaged in masturbation, porn, or an extramarital affair.’ Men, according to Murrow, need wives to be ‘generous with the chocolate’” (p. 118).

“Men actually get a cocaine-like shot of pleasure from looking at a beautiful woman. So here’s your assignment: Give your husband as many cocaine shots as possible. Satisfy his addiction by looking your best” (pp. 163-164).

“And why are looks so important to men?” “Men compare. Men compete. Men size each other up by their spouses” (p. 164).

“Having a knockout wife raises your social standing at work, among your relatives, and even a bit at church” (p. 165).

One of the leaders and organizers for Together 4 the Gospel is well-known preacher and author, John Piper. His views on women are as follows:

“Yet in passing through ‘helpful’ animals to woman, God teaches us that the woman is a man’s ‘helper’ in the sense of a loyal and suitable assistant in the life of the garden.”  (http://www.wacmm.org/Piper-Grudem-50-Questions.html)

“And God intends for all the ‘weaknesses’ that characteristically belong to woman to call forth and highlight man’s strengths.”

“God created man first…and then created woman as his partner and assistant…” (http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/affirming-the-goodness-of-manhood-and-womanhood-in-all-of-life)

Another complementarian leader and speaker at Together 4 the Gospel Conferences is Owen Strachan. Here is a sample of his views on women:

“To be a woman is to support, to nurture, and to strengthen men in order that they would flourish and fulfill their God-given role as leaders.” (http://www.9marks.org/journal/genesis-gender-and-ecclesial-womanhood)

In summary, what are the messages regarding men and women that are being shared by these participants in “Together 4 the Gospel”?

Men are hierarchical,
-Men need sex; it is the cornerstone of their psyche,
-The future of the church depends on male leadership.

Women are not fit to be leaders,
-Women are more gullible than men,
-Women are obligated to perform oral sex on their husbands as an act of Christian service,
-Women are obligated to perform oral sex on non-believing husbands to win them to Christ,
-If wives do not provide enough sex, husbands will inevitably sin,
-A woman’s role is comparable to that of a “helpful animal,”
-Women are not able to share authority with men because of their “characteristic weaknesses,”
-To “be a woman” is to help men become leaders, as God allegedly intends.

Many words come to mind as I reflect on these messages. “Gospel” isn’t one of them.

Simply put, the gospel is the “good news” that God loves us. In his love he sent Jesus Christ to die on a cross to take away the sins of the world. Every person, male or female, is welcome to receive from God the gift of salvation. Practically speaking, that means we can each know that we are loved by God and forgiven for any hurtful choices we have made in our lives. We can also know that God sends the Holy Spirit to us, to help us know his love, and be loving towards one another. Jesus taught his disciples that knowing the love of God and loving one another is something that we can do in this life, and in the life to come—in heaven—for eternity.  (John 3:1-21, 1 John 4:7-21)

That’s “the gospel” according to Jesus Christ and the authors of the New Testament, as I understand it.

Furthermore, contrary to what the supporters of “Together 4 the Gospel” claim (see above), the Bible tells us, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28, NIV).

Those who believe in “the gospel” are not compelled to follow any culturally prescribed gender-stereotypes. We are simply encouraged to express God’s love through the gifts and talents he has given us (1 Corinthians 12).

Insisting that God made men to be hierarchical rulers over women who must submit to male authority isn’t “the gospel.” It is sexism.

Insisting that women are not fit to share leadership responsibilities with men, but rather that they are obligated to cater to a man’s sexual preferences is not “the gospel.” Blaming a woman for a man’s sinful behavior isn’t “the gospel.” Insisting that women are more gullible than men or that they should follow the example set by “helpful animals” is not “the gospel.” In my opinion, these statements are examples of outright misogyny.

Sadly, sexism and misogyny have been part of church tradition for centuries:

“It is the natural order among people that women serve their husbands and children their parents, because the justice of this lies in (the principle that) the lesser serves the greater…. This is the natural justice that the weaker brain serve the stronger. This therefore is the evident justice in the relationships between slaves and their masters, that they who excel in reason, excel in power.” (St. Augustine, Questions on the Heptateuch, Book I, § 153, http://www.womenpriests.org/traditio/august.asp)

“Augustine is so wholly with me, that if I wished to write a confession of my faith, I could do so with all fullness and satisfaction to myself out of his writings.”  (John Calvin, http://blog.logos.com/2012/01/5-things-you-didnt-know-about-john-calvin-and-should/)

“Let the woman be satisfied with her state of subjection, and not take it amiss that she is made inferior to the more distinguished sex.” (John Calvin, in Oliphant, J. (2011). AQA Religious Ethics for AS and A2. New York, NY: Routledge.)

Sexism and misogyny are not “the gospel.” They are examples of sinful attitudes and behavior that grieve the heart of God.

“You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” (Mark 7:6-8, NIV)

“Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.  Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar” (Proverbs 30:5-6, NIV).

 

Endnotes:

gos•pel (g s p l)
n.
1.
Gospel The proclamation of the redemption preached by Jesus and the Apostles, which is the central content of Christian revelation.

2.
a. Gospel Bible One of the first four New Testament books, describing the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and recording his teaching.
b. A similar narrative. (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/gospel)

sex•ism (s k s z m)
n.
1.
Discrimination based on gender, especially discrimination against women.

2.
Attitudes, conditions, or behaviors that promote stereotyping of social roles based on gender. (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/sexism)

mi•sog•y•ny (mɪˈsɒdʒ ə ni, maɪ-)
n.
hatred of or hostility toward women.
[1650–60; < Greek mīsogynía= mīsogyn(ēs) a woman-hater (mīso- miso- + -gynēs, adj. derivative of gynḗ woman) + -ia -y3]

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