Complementarianism Gone CrazyJuly 18, 2012
Just to be clear. I am not a complementarian. I am an Egalitarian. The Complementarian believes that God ordained that men rule over women in the marital relationship. This position points to Genesis 3 and the Fall of Man where God tells Eve that her desire will be for her husband and he will rule over her. An Egalitarian believes that the Death and Resurrection of Jesus changes many of the relationships broken by the Fall. And that includes the marriage relationship.
I respect the Complementarian position, but I don’t subscribe to it. I believe that God gives both men and women in a marriage the same mandate to love one another, the same command to submit to one another and the same Holy Spirit to live in harmony with each other. Equal. Together. Holy.
And even though I respect the other position, sometimes it is hard to do so. In a recent article from the Gospel Coalition (a mainstream Complementarian group), Jared Wilson talks about one area that has always been seen as equal ground by both the Complementarians and Egalitarians: Sex and Sexual Pleasure.
Here is the article, and here is a selection of what he says (it is not taken out of context):
When we quarrel with the way the world is, we find that the world has ways of getting back at us. In other words, however we try, the sexual act cannot be made into an egalitarian pleasuring party. A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts. This is of course offensive to all egalitarians, and so our culture has rebelled against the concept of authority and submission in marriage. This means that we have sought to suppress the concepts of authority and submission as they relate to the marriage bed.
This is outrageous! He is basically saying that sex is all about a man conquering and taking charge of a woman. The other side he calls “egalitarian pleasure party”. What he is saying is that the desire of a man to pleasure his wife is unbiblical.
Apparently, he is forgetting that the Apostle Paul is the one who says,
The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife” (1 Cor. 7:3-4).
Many of my complementarian friends will be outraged by this article and how badly he portrays their position, but I need to point out one thing. This is where all of the Complementarian philosophy logically ends: Men are in charge and women have to submit. That adheres completely to Genesis 3 and does not recognize the power of the Cross to change human relationships broken by the selfishness of Humankind.
I am not presenting this man’s teaching as a Straw Man argument on why Complementarianism is wrong. I am presenting it as a caution to where this teaching is often applied. And as a counselor, I do mean “often”.
This idiotic article may help some of you to rethink your position. I hope it does.
UPDATE: Jared has published an apology. Read it here. His original link no longer works…he has taken down the article. What is interesting is that the person he was quoting in his egregious statements about sex is now angry at him for taking down the quote.