Monday, October 8, 2007

Gold and Dross

My previous post on Vision Forum Ministries' Biblical Patriarchy document highlighted its sloppy logic and fundie tendencies, but I wanted to be clear that VFM makes certain assertions in that statement with which I wholeheartedly agree. Baptists (and Christians in general) have an unnerving tendency to throw the baby out with the bathwater (see any comments thread on Wade Burleson's blog, for example), and I don't want to fall prey to the temptation to write off this group just because I think they are on dangerous ground with some of their claims.

I mentioned in my previous post my admiration for the carefully-crafted section on the authority of fathers in their homes, and wanted to give ye few but faithful the chance to take a look. I may draw some ire for "coming out" as a proponent of patriarchy, but I'm with Russ Moore on this one: there is no option other than patriarchy. The choice we face is whether to promote and embrace "good" patriarchy, informed by Scripture and redeemed at the cross, or "bad" patriarchy -- the abdication or abuse of power by men.

So here are what I consider the best bits of the whole statement:

A husband and father is the head of his household, a family leader, provider, and protector, with the authority and mandate to direct his household in paths of obedience to God.

A man’s authority in the home should be exercised with gentleness, grace, and love as a servant-leader, following the example of Jesus Christ. Leadership is a stewardship from God.

The authority of fathers is limited by the law of God and the lawful authority of church and state. Christian fathers cannot escape the jurisdiction of church and state and must be subject to both.

Woot! I don't know about you, ladies, but that's the kind of husband I'm praying for. Provider. Protector. Servant-leader. Sounds good to me.


Jonny said...

It is fairly easy to escape the jurisdiction of church, if you go to a different one. Maybe it depends if the differences are to do with real sin or a difference of opinion/interpretation.

Laura said...

I think it means that fathers ultimately can't escape the jurisdiction of the Church and that the Church as a whole and individual churches must intervene in cases of abuse of parental authority.

MaLady said...

Hi! I think I found you through Ruth's blog "the little children" a little while back. I do enjoy checking in every now and then...

I am all for biblical patriarchy - in practice it doesn't look at all like patriarchy as we know it.

I do think Jonny is right; prideful men will just move their family to another church and distance all of them from the necessary accountability. What then is a community to do? So often the family just becomes collateral damage...

Unfortunately we need effective boundaries for dealing with what shouldn't be happening as well as embracing "good" pariarchy - the reality of "bad" patriarchy won't go away.

Thanks for letting me throw my two cents in, however late. I love that you're not afraid to "come out" and draw some ire - :-)

Ma Lady