Question: About Men “Leading” Women

ideas42morrow asked:

What are your views on “men leading women”. I’m right now trying to figure out what the bible is trying to say. Is it only in marriage that this is the case or is this the case throughout. The reason I am asking this is because I’m checking out some southern baptist churches and there is a heavy emphasis on men leading the women. I’m not sure what to believe because in my heart I feel the intent of “men leading women” comes from a place of controlling leadership vs inspirational leadership.

Hey my friend: my thoughts on this have evolved over time, but I wrote a post covering some of it here —

– Mega-Post: Female Pastors, Neo-Feminism, and The Scary Words Submission, Quiet, and Penis

I agree that a lot of the “men leading women” mentality comes from chauvinistic motives and taking verses out of context.

So here are some thoughts to consider:

1) No one anywhere intuitively respects a man who doesn’t lead.  In other words, I’ve never really heard a woman say, “I like men who are lazy and lack goals and are scared of taking charge.”

2) I think the Bible is way more nuanced about this than we are.  In Scripture, there are men leading women, men leading men, women leading men, and women leading women.  God lays down principles for all these scenarios, and because men and women are different, there are occasionally different principles for each.

3) Leadership is not primarily defined by gender.  I don’t know why we turn it into a battle of the sexes so quickly — except you know, people love to take sides.

4) Ephesians 5:22-33 and 1 Timothy 2:11 are some of the most misquoted twisted-up verses in Scripture.  I cover that in the first link up top.

5) I was once part of the SBC, and though they say they’re complementarian (men and women are equal with different roles), it almost never feels like they’re close to the lofty theology they claim.  But just because the SBC messes it up doesn’t mean we can dismiss what Scripture says about men leading.

6) I cannot, cannot, cannot stand neo-feminism.  It’s different than feminism, which is good stuff.  I cover that in the link above too.

7) If we’re talking about just gender roles then the bottom line is: Women are looking for men who can lead, but more importantly, looking for men who are led by Christ.  There is NO automatic deference to a man just because he is a man, and it’s not like leading is some kind of fun gig you can do for a while.  Men have an extra burden of responsibility.  Any time a man wields some verse about “authority,” I always wonder if he realizes he’s instantly putting expectations on himself.  From many of the wimpy Christian men I’ve seen: they don’t get it.  Leadership is serious, and requires more than just Bible-verse-bombing.

— J.S.


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