Al Mohler, a Southern Baptist seminary president who once compared homosexuality to cancer, isn’t typically considered a feminist.
So it’s almost surprising to see him admit during a recent chapel message that complementarian theology — the idea that men and women have God-ordained, gender-specific roles in the world — can enable abuse.
“It can be, and it sometimes is,” Mohler admitted. “Sinful men will use anything in vanity and in anger, in sin of every form. Sinful men will distort anything and will take advantage of any argument that seems to their advantage, even to the abuse of women.
“Some men have cited complementarian doctrine as an excuse for lording over their wives rather than leading and serving,” he said, “and even taking advantage to the point of abuse and denying that abuse is abuse.”
“We need to recognize that we have sinned against women when we have allowed complementarian to be presented in a way that implies male superiority and leads in sinfulness to male tyranny and terror and sin,” Mohler declared.
Mohler here is at least better than most of his peers, who won’t admit there’s even a crisis at all, but don’t mistake his rhetoric for “wokeness.” He still seems to think the problem lies with “sinners,” not harmful doctrine. It’s the same mistake people make when they believe some people can’t be abusive because they seem so nice in public.
The problem isn’t sin. The problem is the theology.
Complementarians must ask themselves: Does this belief help women more than it hurts them? Are stories of men abusing their power in the name of Jesus pretty rare or are they the norm?
As many women who grew up in complementarian homes — and have since left — could tell you, they felt limited in their options and restricted with their freedoms. For every Lori Alexander, there are countless women who long to escape that situation. Even the most well-intentioned Southern Baptist men, then, can be abusive without ever laying a hand on their wives.
Mohler can’t bring himself to say that. He says that complementarianism is a problem only when it “implies male superiority.” But complementarianism is synonymous with male superiority regardless of what its practitioners say.
The theology not only enables abuse, but prevents women with certain talents and gifts from using them fully in church. The belief, not the believer, is the problem.
(via The Christian Post)