FAQ on Sexuality & Patriarchy
I get a lot of FAQ in regards my views on sexuality and patriarchy. Some want to know if I subscribe to all the “tenets of patriarchy.” As far as I know, there aren’t monolithic tenets of patriarchy. There isn’t even a true centralized “patriarchy movement” as much as there is general cultural interest and decentralized move towards patriarchy.
In terms of my general theological beliefs, I am a presbyterian who subscribes to the system of biblical doctrine summarize in the ecumenical creeds, the Westminster Confession of Faith (1646), The Larger Catechism, and Shorter Catechism.
Here are my brief answers to some of the common questions I get. I’ll update it from time to time. I added five or six this morning.
1. Does patriarchy believe a woman can work outside the home?
I do believe a woman can work outside the home. I think the lost of the productive household is the main source of the problem. Historically speaking, the idea that work only happens “outside the home” is a new one. Proverbs 31 presents a woman neither as a stereotypical 1950s housewife nor as a modern career woman. All forms of productivity and the household were deeply intwined. I think we should take the steps we can to reclaim that.
2.Do you believe in the “quiverful teaching?
Not as I understand it. I don’t believe we are required to have as many children as possible and I don’t think all forms of contraceptive are sinful.
3. Do you believe women should hold public office?
It would depend on the office but, no, not normally. Debra is an exceptional situation.
4. Do you believe all women must submit all men?
5. Do you believe a husband can force his wife to submit?
6. Do you believe fathers should let their daughters be educated?
Yes, I think we must educate our daughters. I think we need to be careful about what form that education takes for both our sons and daughters.
7. Do you believe women are ontologically inferior to men?
No, they both bear the image of God. Mankind comes in two varieties: male and female. They, however, are both equally mankind.
8. If a woman is a leader at work, can she lead men?
Depends on the nature of the work. I think she could in many but not all cases.
9. Do you believe daughters must remain in their father’s home until they are married?
No, I actually think this can be bad in many situations.
10. Do you believe men and women are equally intelligent?
The research shows that intelligence averages out the same in both sexes. So, yes.
11. Do you believe all women should homeschool their children?
No. I think all families should pursue the Christian education to the best of their ability. That can take many forms. We homeschool all our children.
12. Do you believe in courtship?
No, not in the way I see it normally practiced. I recommend something a little more like traditional dating.
13. Can women hold leadership roles in the church, pastor/elder excluded?
It depends on the nature the leadership. I would take no issue with women leading certain types of committees, teaching children Sunday school, or being involved in counseling and discipling other women. You’d want to carefully consider whether or not the position is a violation of 1 Timothy 2:12. So, again, it really depends. I wish we had more older women following the commands of Titus 2.
14. In regards to political or church voting, do both spouses get to vote or does patriarchy hold to household voting?”
We allow all adult members of both sexes to vote in our church. In our church, we only vote on officers and changes or additions to our constitution and bylaws. Women, like men, ought to have say in those whom they submit to and the nature of that submission. I don’t see that as a violation of 1 Timothy 2:12 for the same reason I don’t think a woman having a choice in who she marries and the terms of the covenant is a violation of 1 Timothy 2:12.
In terms of civil voting, I think universal suffrage has had a lot of bad fruit and would lean towards some sort of requirement based on something like land ownership or paying taxes. So, in that scheme, women would still be allowed to vote. It’s not a firm position. I haven’t put a lot of thought into it.
15. Do you require women to wear head-coverings in worship?
No. I think there is a strong argument for them but it isn't our practice.
16. What do you think about purity culture?
I think it was a mixed bag that led to a lot of bad stuff. My wife and I converted in our lates teens during the 90s. We saw firsthand the destruction that can be brought on by creating structures designed to curbed lusts which don’t ultimately address the matters of the heart.
17. Are women sex objects?
Women want to be seen as beautiful. That, in itself, is good and natural. It would be wrong for a woman to reduce herself to a mere sex object or for a man to do the same. Beauty being a desirable attribute is good so long as it isn't twisted.
18. Do you believe in spousal corporal punishment?
19. Do you believe in the permanence view of marriage?
I do not. I believe Scripture allows for divorce on the grounds of sexual immorality and abandonment. Furthermore, I believe remarriage is allowed if the divorce was on biblical grounds.
20. What constitutes sexual immorality which severe enough to justify a lawful divorce?
It’s not an easy question to answer. It’s more than holding hands but it certainly can be less than actual intercourse. The PCA has a position paper on divorce and remarriage that explores that topic in detail. It’s worth a read. I’d urge you to work through that issue with elders and Titus 2 women.
21. What constitutes abandonment which justifies a lawful divorce?
Much like the question of sexual immorality, this isn’t an easy question to answer. If a spouse physically abandons their marriage with no discernible desire to reconcile, that is grounds for a divorce. But not all situations are as clear. What if a spouse refuses to fulfill some part of their marriage vows but remains physically present in the home? What if a husband refuses to provide and just sits on the couch as the home falls apart? What if a wife refuses to be sexually intimate and the marriage is sexless? What if one spouse repeatedly beats the other spouse? Could these cases be the equivalent of abandonment? Again, I urge you to work through these issue with elders and Titus 2 women.
22. Do you believe a wife must stay in a marriage even when her husband physically abuses her?
I do think that both husbands and wives can separate and potentially divorce a spouse on the grounds of physical abuse. Again, I urge you to work through these issue with elders and Titus 2 women.
23. Do you think its okay for a Christian couples to practice BDSM in their marriage?
BDSM is an abbreviation for bondage, discipline (or domination), sadism (or submission), masochism. There is a broad spectrum of practices which fall into this category. Some are fairly benign and others much more bizarre and twisted. As I understand it, a drive to practice BDSM is often rooted in a desire to reclaim a sense of sexual freedom and thrill that has been lost due to past sexual trauma and/or a disordered marriage relationship. Consequently, I see BDSM as unhealthy and potentially sinful depending of the variety.
24. Is the use of pornography the equivalent of adultery?
Maybe. It’s always sinful and wrong. Christ says to lust at a woman in your heart is adultery. Hence, some say that any lust equals adultery. However, Christ also says to hate your brother in your heart is murder. We clearly wouldn’t punish a man with hatred in his heart as we would a man who actually murdered someone. The point here then is that lust and adultery belong to the same family of sins. Lust is the seed form of adultery just as hate is the seed form of murder. So they aren’t exact equivalents.
That being said, porn use is more than mere lust. It’s lust acted on. But static images and non-live pornographic videos aren’t identical to intercourse with a flesh and blood person. This is obvious and intuitive. Thus, porn use needs to be treated as it is, the severe sexual sin of fornication. It is a sure precursor to physical adultery. At this point someone will want to know if I think it is grounds for divorce, see the answer to question 20.
25. Do you believe people should marry as young as possible?
No. I believe that marriage should be tied to a base level of maturity not to a hard number. Marriage should neither be rushed or unduly delayed.
26. Do you believe singleness is a gift?
No. Scripture never speaks of singleness by itself as a gift. Singleness can be a great thing if it is accompanied with the gift of celibacy. It allows an individual to be all the more focused in their direct devotions to God. However, singleness without the gift celibacy has the opposite effect. It will lead to an individual who is distracted by their desire to be married and have the benefits of marriage.
27. Do you subscribe the doctrine of the eternal subordination of the son (aka ESS)?
28. Do you believe women can’t have a mission without being married?
No. Men and women both have missions which are nested in greater missions which should all be keyed towards the Missio Dei.
29. Do you have any books you recommend to study biblical sexuality?
Yes, I recommend Stephen B. Clark’s Men and Women in Christ, William Mouser’s The Story of Sex in Scripture, and It’s Good to Be a Man.
Pastor, thank you for this. I appreciate the notes on dating and female roles... It seems that a lot of these answers are simply biblical answers without adding traditional American thinking into the mix.