This is one of my recent comments that was published on the very excellent site Wartburg Watch. I’m copying it as a post on my blog because it establishes a point that needs to be made clear, and consistently acknowledged, I think, for all of us who are struggling, or did struggle under the boot of neo-Reformed/neo-Calvinist religious despotism in the modern American Church:
The issue of who is inferior and who is superior in the male/female dichotomy is irrelevant. It is a slight-of-hand tactic the neo-Cals use in order to draw attention away from the real issue. They may be right that, strictly speaking, there is no greater than/lesser than relationship between men and women according to their teachings on the subject (and, really, who among the pervasive depraved is superior except for the gnostics “standing in the stead”?). But, again, that’s not the real issue. The real issue is that the whole complementarian doctrine is simply another way for church leadership to monopolize the power constructs and to enslave the laymen for their own benefit.
Anyone with even a base knowledge of neo-reformed teaching understands that the crux of their orthodoxy rests upon the idea that you do not belong to you, but you belong to them (because they are God to you). All doctrines are built around this idea: that YOU are irrelevant to your life, your salvation, and to God. You are worthless; and the only true good you can do is acknowledge that you must be a bystander to yourself and allow the proper ecclesiastical authorities to tell you who you really are and what you are really allowed to think and do as a proxy of the “Holy Spirit” (themselves, playing God)…assuming you are actually one of the elect; it is impossible for you to really know until you die. The false and fabricated doctrine of complementarianism is wholly devoted to this endeavor. By demanding that women and men (for men are equally tyrannized by this doctrine) fulfill “roles”, they demand that you accept that you are not who you want to be, or who you are, but who THEY want you to be and who THEY say you are.
So the problem has nothing to do with the subterfuge of “superiority”; the problem is that by demanding women fulfill their “proper biblical roles” (a lie), they effectively, as with other doctrines, remove humanity from itself. By agreeing that we are obligated to a role based solely on THEIR interpretation of what is “orthodox”, we agree that they OWN us. We are slaves to the ecclesiastical authority. Our “God” is no further than the random neo-Cal despot behind the plexiglass.
You think this is hyperbole. After all, your neo-Cal pastor has never said such a thing. They love women; and value them.
Wrong. They hate women, they hate men. The love they have for humans extends no further than whatever “role” they demand people fall into. Look at every point of TULIP. Every single one boils down to this premise:
You have NO RIGHT to YOU. You are a troublesome bit of filth which constantly stands in the way of some external force (either God or sin nature) which, by divine “election”, claims true, biblical right of ownership of your soul, mind, and body.
So, for those arguing that complementarianism doesn’t advocate superiority of roles…well, first, that’s a lie and you know it. Because all of the “greater gifts” are, for the reformed crowd, a men-only club. So stop lying and at least have the guts to say what you really mean. And second, it doesn’t matter anyway because the inherent evil in your doctrine isn’t with a definition of one human being being superior to another (which IS evil, and which is exactly what complementarianism defends) it is the lie of “biblical roles”.