Sunday, September 21, 2008

Luther and the complementarians

Here is an interesting piece from CBMW.

Luther clearly regards the subjection of women as the result of judgment that came upon Eve and her female descendants at the fall (cf. Genesis 3:16). He writes, "If Eve had persisted in the truth she would not only not have been subjected to the rule of her husband, but she herself would also have been a partner in the rule which is now entirely the concern of males."[21] While they cannot perform the functions of men in terms of teaching and ruling, Luther acknowledges that in procreation, feeding and nurturing their offspring, "they are masters." They rule over their children, but not in the church.

Luther saw the submission of women as a punishment resulting from the fall rather than part of creation order resulting from God's design. However, the fact that Adam was created before Eve (Gen. 2:7, 1 Tim. 2:13), charged with keeping the garden (Gen. 2:15), and named Eve "woman" (Gen. 2:23) suggests that God intended Adam to exercise leadership and authority over Eve before the events of the fall. While the ability of women to submit to authority was no doubt aggravated by the fall (Gen. 3:16),[22] the basis for female submission has its roots in creation order rather than the tragic events of Genesis 3.

This piece from CBMW demonstrates how modern complementarianism has turned classic theology on its head. Luther wrote that Eve was subjected to her husband by the fall, in Gen. 3:16; and Laney writes, that the fall made it difficult for women to accept submission.

Luther believed that women were inferior in nature, but he did not use scripture to prove this. It was a cultural presupposition. He did use Gen. 3:16 to show that women were made subject to their husbands by the fall. Luther represents the view of most theologians up to his time.

Modern complementarianism teaches that women are "equal" in nature although by disposition nurturers and not leaders. They are different by disposition. But in creation, women are subject to their husbands, and in the fall, women resist this natural and intended state of subjection.

The classic theologian has a possible ideal of an Eden without subjection, and the modern complementarian brings subjection by necessity into Eden. The modern complementarian has a world view that is diametrically opposed to classic theology. That both views end up with women under subjection is no surprise. But classic theology says woman is subjected to man by sin, and modern complementarians say that woman is subjected to man by God.

They claim to be the same religion. Oh well.


3 comments:

Don B. Johnson said...

CBMW agrees with Luther on his conclusion but not on his way to get to his conclusion. Their methods are mostly new, but they want to claim their results are old.

The old methods will not work today, but those in power devise new methods.

The answer is to "just say no" to their eisegesis of the Genesis origins stories.

Janice said...

Your link doesn't go to the CBMW article but I found it here.

I'm interested in the idea that Adam, by naming the woman "Ishah", was demonstrating his authority over her. Where does that idea come from? I read it ages ago and figured that whoever wrote that stuff must know what he or she was talking about but now I'm not so sure.

Smith's Revised Bible Dictionary says about naming,

particularly among the oriental nations, it is customary to mark one’s entrance into a new relation by a new name, in which case the acceptance of the new name involves the acknowledgement of the sovereignty of the name-giver.

We all know that "Ishah" (if it is indeed a name) was changed to "Eve" after the Fall. That looks to me like evidence that the Fall was the cause of her subordination to him, whose name is what? Adam? Ish?

Molly Aley said...

I like don's, "just say no," policy. Nice. Clear. Concise. I need to get it on a bumper sticker...