Christian Gender Complementarianism, Lists, Rules, and Over-Promises
Evangelical Protestants and some Baptists have a strange habit of giving congregants lists, rules, or principles they imply will guarantee success. Success at life, marriage, work, dating, whatever it may be.
Very often I’ve heard Christian preachers on TV, and sometimes in person, deliver sermons with headings such as, “Fifteen Steps To Raising Godly Children,” or “Six Rules for Keeping the Sizzle in Your Marriage.”
I was never a part of Gothardism, but wasn’t Gothard rather infamous for promoting rule or biblical principle keeping as a recipe for Christian sanctification success?
Here are a few links about Gothardism, ones from other sites that mention some of the rules-defining and rules-based living this group endorsed:
Some complementarians also do this very thing.
Authors and complementarians Lori Alexander and Debi Pearl promote these sorts of views that if one just follows a certain set of complementarian- based principles or rules, that one’s marriage will last, thrive, and be successful.
Those complementarian-based rules are usually heavily predicated upon the idea that a wife will submit, submit, submit to a husband. It’s rather implied by complementarians that any Christian wife who follows complementarian principles will have a successful marriage.
You can read more about these complementarian ladies who promote these types of views at the following sites (please note: a link by me to another site is not an endorsement of all views of that site owner):
Not only does this sort of mindset – that following rules will keep one safe from harm – not match the Bible’s teaching, but if you look around you, if you search online, it’s not long before you can find forums or blog comments by Christian women who lived in complementarian marriages, and those marriages were unhappy or even violent.
Author and former complementarian Ruth Tucker is one example of this, a woman who submitted to the male headship of her Christian husband, and he abused her.
Please see the following links for more on that and related subjects:
The noxious Billy Graham Rule was in the national media a few months ago, thanks to American Vice President Mike Pence.
There are Christians who actually believe that basically keeping married men segregated from women will guarantee extra-marital affairs from happening (the basic premise of the Billy Graham Rule).
As in, a married man should never dine alone, not even in public, with another woman. Of course, a married man can get around such rules and still have affairs, but this Billy Graham Rule offers some kind of comfort, an illusion of control, I suppose.
While looking up articles for this blog post, I found some articles by Christians that contradicted one another on this matter. Here’s what I mean:
From Billy Graham’s Library’s site:
10 Guidelines for Christian Living
From Desiring God’s site:
The Golden Rule in Christian Dating | Desiring God
From Charisma News (Christian based site):
10 Rules of Christian Dating
From a web site called Radically Christian (link to the page):
Christianity is Not About Rule-Keeping
From Andrew Farley Ministries:
Christianity: A Rule-Based Religion?
There are Christians who are selling a rules-based version of Christianity, and as you can see above, other Christians disagree with this view.
People often wonder, why do good things happen to bad people?
Christians who have tried sincerely to follow God over their lives, who have tried consistently to follow their understanding of God’s rules and ethics as laid out in the Bible, sometimes wonder why they experience tragedy.
They may ask themselves or their preacher, why is it, even though I am doing my best to live a life pleasing to God, God is not protecting me? Why isn’t God answering my prayers? Why do bad things happen to me?
The Bible does not promise anyone a pain-free life. Jesus Christ said in the New Testament, “In this life you will have many troubles.”
The book of Job in the Old Testament stands as an example of what can happen to a godly individual who follows all the rules, does all the right things, one who is pleasing to God, but is still afflicted with pain.
I sometimes wonder why some complementarians feel the need to market complementarianism, as though it’s a box of soap flakes.
If complementarianism is really and truly God’s plan or design, why try to hype it by suggesting or stating that it will result in wonderful marriages?
Why do complementarians feel so threatened by secular feminism and try so hard to convince Christian women that God wants women to submit to men? If it were God-designed, one would think it would be clear and self-evident enough to women, so that women would not have to be convinced in complementarian books and blogs, and have complementarians promise them great marriages, if only they follow Male Headship.
Maybe complementarians realize in this day and age more and more Christian women are realizing that complementarianism is Christianized sexism, propped up by a handful of verses plucked out of context or out of historical context. That would perhaps explain this habit of selling complementarianism to women by pointing out its supposed benefits.
The Bible does not say that if one is a good person, follows a set of biblical principles and rules, that one will be safe in this lifetime and never face difficulties. I think it’s safe to say this applies to following any Christian gender complementarian advice, rules, or recipes, whereby the author promises women, if they just live by those precepts, they will have a happy and enduring marriage.