Disclaimer: This post doesn’t apply to married women.
There is a common theme among pastors and church leaders that the Bible only applies to men, and women are justified in disregarding it because anything they do that is wrong or that backfires can be blamed on men.
For example, here’s Mark Driscoll explaining how men are to blame for single motherhood:
Part of it is the unintended consequences of divorce. Forty percent of kids go to bed at night without a father. Not to be disparaging toward single moms, but if you’re a single mom and you’re working 60 hours a week, and you’ve got a boy, and he’s home all by himself with no parents and no dad, he’s just going to be hanging out with his buddies, feeding himself pizza rolls.
The number one consumer of online pornography is 12- to 17-year-old boys. What that means is he’s home eating junk food, drinking Monster energy drinks, downloading porn, masturbating and screwing around with his friends. That really doesn’t prepare you for responsible adulthood. That’s a really sad picture, especially if you’re a single gal hoping to get married someday. You’re like: “Seriously, that’s the candidate pool? You’ve got to be kidding me.” That’s why 41 percent of births right now are to unmarried women. A lot of women have decided: “I’m never going to find a guy who is actually dependable and responsible to have a life with. So I’ll just get a career and have a baby and just intentionally be a single mother because there are no guys worth spending life with.”
The Bible says that premarital sex is wrong, but Mark Driscoll knows better – he thinks that it is only wrong for men. If women do it, then it’s not wrong – it’s actually men’s fault. He has also told women who have premarital sex that men should be expected to marry them. This man-blaming for the mistakes that women freely make is not an anomaly, this is the standard practice of most pastors and Christian leaders – who are otherwise perfectly fine. And then these leaders are perplexed about why men don’t marry women who have learned that men are to blame for everything. Men don’t like to be around women who blame them for everything.
So, here is a post was written by a woman – Lindsay from Lindsay’s Logic.
First the picture she posted:
Note that the Bible does not qualify the command in Ephesians 5 that women should submit to their husbands by making it conditional on anything that a man has to do. A man has separate duties, and those are not conditional on anything a woman has to do first. But Focus on the Family doesn’t quote the Bible – they change what the Bible says in order to appeal to their predominantly female audience (Note: I agree with Focus on the Family on 99% of their views). And this is why men don’t touch Christianity with a ten-foot pole these days. It’s not manly Christianity they don’t like – they’ve never encountered it. It’s the feminized Christianity they find in the church, which blames them for everything, that they reject.
Now, the full text of Lindsay’s post:
Focus on the Family recently posted this meme on their page.
At first glance, many people might be tempted to agree with it. But the statement in the poster is actually false.
The truth is that there are plenty of loving, gentle men who are worthy of respect but whose wives are not responding properly to their love and gentleness. Plenty of women have fallen for the feminist ideas that they should never submit or let a man lead them and will be difficult to live with, no matter how wonderful their man is. Even among women who are not feminists, it’s difficult for many women to follow a husband’s leadership because our sinful nature is in rebellion against God’s plan.
Submission and following our husbands is something that must be learned, not something we’re born with or develop naturally. Women aren’t naturally good and kind any more than men are. We’re all fallen. We have to work to develop good habits and learn to do what God wants of us.
It certainly is easier for women to follow a loving, gentle man, but the poster is wrong in assuming that the only barriers to a woman following her man are his flaws. That simply isn’t true. Women also have to overcome their own flaws that stand in the way of the proper relationship they were meant to have.
Unfortunately, this attitude that women are naturally good and that men are the flawed ones that need to change is very prevalent, even among Christians. Imagine the outrage people would have if the scenario was reversed and the poster said something like this:
“Men are usually comfortable being kind and loving to their wives if their wives are submissive, keep up their appearance, and respect them.”
People would be up in arms over such a statement that assumes that men are always wonderful if women will just behave as they should. Why is it any different if the assumption is that women are always wonderful if men are behaving properly? Both are wrong. Both sexes are responsible for their own actions, regardless of what the other person in the marriage does.
So about the post.
Perhaps the best way to test whether a women has corrected her natural tendency towards selfishness is the same way you’d test a man. Show her how doing a particular act is good, even though she may not want to do it. Then encourage her to do it. For example, encourage her to sacrifice her time to volunteer at the church when she’d rather be at home. If she always makes up excuses and never puts in any sacrifice, then that’s a bad sign.
Men are also not naturally good, but everyone knows that already. No blog post needs to be written on what everyone knows and accepts already. And I’ll go even further than that and say that a good man should take responsibility to help a woman to grow and be better for God’s purposes. But if he does everything he can to lead her and she still prefers self-centeredness, then he is not responsible for the outcome. This is important. We are responsible – practically-speaking – to help other people grow. But we are not responsible for whether they actually do grow. In fact, that goes for men and women. Both sexes should take responsibility for helping Christians grow – especially spouses. But do it right – it if works, then you’re doing it right. The goal here is to take responsibility and to do what works. Not to make excuses.
Note: Lindsay almost certainly does not go as far as I go on this issue. My opinions are my own.
UPDATE: Lee sent me this The Resurgence post to provide a balanced view of Mark Driscoll. Please check out my quote above in context and then check out her link, too. I like Mark Driscoll on almost every issue except this one issue.