Slate judges "soft patriarchalism" an "uneasy compromise"...

This Slate piece working to understand how Michele Bachmann's presidential candidacy can be harmonized with Christian sexuality is another proof of what Jesus said, that "the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light" (Luke 16:8). Slate turns to the "influential" Council on BIblical Manhood and Womanhood to do the parsing for them and here is their description of CBMW's position:

...the civic sphere is distinct from home and church and governed by different rules, (CBMW reasoned), and if the Bible didn't explicitly "prohibit [women] from exercising leadership in secular political fields," neither would they.

Slate points out that CBMW's "compromise was an uneasy one" quoting the New York Times which labelled the compromise "soft patriarchalism."

It's hard to tell what, exactly, the notion of wifely submission means in marriages where the wife in question has a high-powered career outside of the home. Last year's New York Times Magazine piece on female evangelical leaders described these unions as enacting a "soft patriarchalism."

Here's a principle I've learned in living for God. If you think you can negotiate with the Devil...

giving him some territory in exchange for his leaving you alone to be godly elsewhere, keep in mind you're negotiating with the Devil and lying is his native tongue. He'll take what you give him and after promising to leave you alone elsewhere, he'll come after the elsewhere and take it, too. The principle is seen in many battles.

As Lewis said, they'll tell you that you can have your religion in private, then they'll make sure you're never alone. While the radical two-kingdom error prides itself on protecting the Church by ceding the public square to nakedness, two things are happening: Jesus' "all authority in Heaven and on earth" has transmogrified into "some authority when the church assembles for corporate worship on the Lord's Day;" and even that authority is in the process of being gagged by habits carefully cultivated the other six days and twenty-three hours a week when we must avoid hate speech and do our best to end teen suicides.

It's the same with the "compromise (of) soft patriarchalism." Telling our daughters to cultivate the feminine deference of a quiet and gentle spirit while pushing them into law school and promoting their candidacy for the presidency of These United States is to deceive ourselves into thinking if we give the Devil everywhere but the Church and the home, we'll be able to hang onto our male perquisite of bossing our womenfolk where it really matters, where our private honor and comfort are most at stake. Thing is, Scripture never hints at sexuality being a perquisite at all, let alone a private matter for Christians in the Church and home, only. It says male leadership and authority is a duty. And it declares "Adam was created first, then Eve," applying that order to man's authority and woman's submission with no explanation of where sexual origin and identity don't matter and are not subject to God's order.

We can defy it at work and in our courts and in our presidential elections while desperately trying to cling to it at home and in corporate worship behind the pulpit, but our uneasy compromise will never stand, in this life or the next. For all time we will be known as the soft patriarchalists who thought they could win the war with hard feminists and stone-cold egalitarians who are taking their orders from Satan.

They have won. We have lost. And the casualties are our consciences and children.

(TB, w/thanks to Kamilla)


If you're going to deal with feminized leaders in the civil kingdom, you also must also deal with the feminized worship practices in the church. Lose that awful music and get some Psalters.


There are many adjectives you could use to describe the worship at ClearNote Church--I do not think effeminate is one of them.

Psalms are sung and guitars are used . . . often simultaneously.

I recommend seeing (and hearing) for yourself at the ClearNote Conference.

>>feminized leaders in the civil kingdom...

Not feminized, but female. As in the second sex God created.

Randall van der Sterren,

I do hope that the moderators of this blog will not let you continue to make inane comments.

A simple Google search shows that this is some kind of hobby of yours.

>>I do hope that the moderators of this blog will not let you continue to make inane comments.

Alright, Mr. van der Sterren, if instead of contributing an argument, you make another inane comment, your commenting privileges will be revoked.


Thanks for keeping this topic in the discourse, Pastors Bayly.

My husband and I have a hard time with this one. We have women such as Michelle Bachman running for office, who from all we've heard is very intelligent and qualified, pro-life, pro man-woman marriage, some good plans for reforming government etc. But we believe that biblically the call is for men to lead in all spheres including government. Every time I see these women doing their "rounds" of political stumping, I wonder "Where are their husbands?" and then I wonder how these ladies could be considered "keepers at home".

My husband and I would feel compelled to vote for Bachman over what we've got. However why should that be our only choice? May the Lord raise up needed wise leaders for this present evil age when it seems we're being shaken to the very foundations.

I make the mistake of listening to too much talk radio (it will eventually make your head explode!), and have noted that "conservatives" are just as excited over women running for office as the other side... And we also noted that there was very, very little talk from conservatives about the gay marriage fiasco in New York..


(Don't kick me off for clarifying my comment, OK?)

You're complaining because I used the term "feminized" and made an analogy between politics and church practice. I didn't think I needed to make a lengthy argument because the cultural facts of feminization are well-known.

1.) When I said "feminized," it implies something more than just having a female ruler. Without the femininization of politics, we wouldn't be talking about Michele Bachmann's presidential candidacy. One of her selling points is the off chance she might take some Hillary voters from Obamas.

2.) As to worship, our Reformed casuistry holds that first table errors precede second table. How we approach God in worship is a grave matter. As to CCM, not only does it fly in the face of our confessional practice (WCF 21.5 for starters), it is the feminized product of a feminizing culture.

Soft rock emotionalism is not actually contemporary anymore. It reflects the adult contemporary music of second-stage feminist culture, the 1970s and 1980s.

CCM took over the churches because Boomer ladies wanted it -- and Boomer ladies dominated the churches, they get what they want. That, by definition, is feminization.

3.) As teaching elders, you can't face femininization outside the church without facing the same forces within. That's my original point, which shouldn't need a whole stack of argumentation.

Randall van der Sterren,

We hate CCM.

We believe in decidedly masculine worship, and we have taken all kinds of heat for it--from TRs, mainstream Reformed, "missional" types, and run-of-the-mill evangelicals.

So, your claim that the moderators of this blog promote feminized worship just don't make sense.

But again, I see your name all over the blogosphere. It seems you are a graduate of sniper school. It is certainly clear that you haven't sought to understand anything about our commitments regarding worship.

>We believe in decidedly masculine worship, and we have taken all kinds of heat for it

You've certainly taken heat over worship but have people really criticized you because it is "decidedly masculine"? Doesn't the criticism generally center on the adoption of modern forms and styles?

@Randall van der Sterren #7:

>>Soft rock emotionalism
Mr. Van der Sterren,
Really, really, you must listen to Everlasting Word Band's Psalm 2 rendition ("Why Do the Heathen Nations Vainly Rage?") before you speak more. If there is something scripturally wrong with what these men are doing, it is as far from soft rock emotionalism as you can get.

As far as hitting the target, it's as if you are turned around backwards shooting the arrow off into the forest. It's like you've never listened to anything you're critiquing. It's like your pants are down. Please, understand what you're critiquing.

If instead you'd like to start with one that might give you some ammunition, listen to "Unseal My Eyes" from the Good Shepherd Band's Glorious Things album -- it's the femmiest of any of them and I'm not sure what to make of it -- and then blast away.

The commenter's mistake is understandable. He hears that Clearnote has rock music, and he leaps to the conclusion, correct for most churches, that it is feminized rock music. He's wrong, of course.

Probably he still wouldn't be happy with Clearnote's music, but as David Gray said, the reason would be different: that it is rock music, not that it is feminine. Indeed, it would be perhaps the opposite--- rock music's masculine connotations of sex and drugs, and perhaps some intrinsic connection with them.

Here again, in the common compromise position, is an example of rampant pharisaism in the evangelical Church. The Bible says that women shall not teach in church, so obey that-- strictly, for the real Pharisees, as loosely as possible, or the average Pharisee. But the Bible does not say that a woman shall not rule over Israel, or that a woman shall not be a soldier, or that a woman should take care of her children personally, so anything goes with those activities. Since the Bible says nothing explicitly, they are outside the realm of Christian belief. Or, rather, Christian belief requires us to be tolerant of any personal action anybody takes in those realms.

It's a vice evangelicals are particularly prone to because of our desire for Biblical backing for everything-- that is, being able to quote chapter and verse.

Dear Mr. van der Sterren,

Someone once said the man who considers few things has no trouble making up his mind. Listen to a couple cuts from our church musicians--songs I'd take any day over the safe and tame and soft CCM crud you inveigh against; songs I'd also take over the proud and well-bred and rich and cultured and highbrow classicism most Reformed churches aspire after; and songs I'd one hundred times out of one hundred times take over the tentative tickling of ivories with soft hesitant guitars and a couple brushes on cymbals most settle for.

My favorite is Hiding Place, which I've had the musicians sing after a sermon on the Day of Judgment surely coming. It's not a congregational hymn. It's an anthem of warning and praise.

Other favorites of mine are A Mighty Fortress; Immortal, Invisible; Where Are the Persecuted, and Wake, Awake.

Some of them you can find here (I can't figure out how to link to individual songs, so you'll have to simply google "Good Shepherd Band" to find the ones not linked on the following page):

If having listened to our worship musicians' songs, you have other objections that match the music we--not other churches--sing, please do note them here and we'll see that they are now from a man who's considered something other than his own misconceptions. And our musicians will be pleased to address those objections.


PS: One could argue this is us at our femmiest. It's a very olde carole and you can see it's the inspiration for our apple tree adorning the bare tip-up concrete walls of our sanctuary during this Christmas Sing-a-long. It's one of my favorites from the time I first heard the Hilliard Ensemble's recording.

Jesus Christ the Apple Tree

>>rock music's masculine connotations of sex and drugs, and perhaps some intrinsic connection with them.

Much like the cultural aspirational connotations of classical instrumentation and the gay denotations of the American Guild of Organists.

With affection,

>>Since the Bible says nothing explicitly, they are outside the realm of Christian belief. Or, rather, Christian belief requires us to be tolerant of any personal action anybody takes in those realms.

>>It's a vice evangelicals are particularly prone to because of our desire for Biblical backing for everything-- that is, being able to quote chapter and verse.

Dear Eric,

While agreeing with your general point, here are two proof texts I gave to Wayne Grudem regularly, but they never stuck; they were like water off the back of a duck.

First, this simple declaration of the universal Order of Creation and its unflinching application to woman teaching and exercising authority over man:

But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint. (1 Timothy 2:12-15)

And second, this lament over the abject condition of His People voiced by Almighty God:

O My people! Their oppressors are children, And women rule over them. O My people! Those who guide you lead you astray And confuse the direction of your paths. (Isaiah 3:12)

The problem is not Scripture's silence, but he who has no ears to hear.


I think I came across Randall seeking an exclusive psalmody rap battle:

Any man from Clear Note or CTW want to take up the rap mantle?

Your band does two Lutheran chorales, huh? I'm glad to hear that, since Lutherans have forgotten all their chorales and want to sing Amazing Grace every Sunday. I think you definitely got the better end of the deal in this cross pollination.

Tim and Kamilla, this issue of Biblical roles in and outside of the Church is a critical one with everyday practical implications. For those reading with know how hard the culture wants to define their lives by career and academics. And I don't mean some fuzzy and distant idea of culture. It's the culture in the safe zones too. I doubt one reader has been to a recent Christian school graduation and heard a charge to the lady graduates on pursuing godly motherhood. (If so, please share!) Honestly, the idea of such a public talk even makes me uncomfortable since I too have been taught to believe that my arcane beliefs are to be held in private. The Biblical truth is very unpopular in our times since we have lost the war on this one; and I, for one, prefer to be seen as relevant so I am tempted to keep my mouth shut!

I am highly encouraged by your delving into the issue in practical ways and continuing to hammer on Biblically-guided gender roles. The so-called reformed world has in practice conceded to the culture. News Flash...they have already experienced a gender liberation outside the church and now that liberation is refocused within the church. On the books (WCF and all) there is no such thing as women in church leadership. But get real, day-to-day in & out of the reformed-minded churches, men are handing the reigns over and its schools and colleges are training the next generation to be like Michele Bachmann – merely dreaming of being a “stay-at-home mother.” BTW, remind me how did the original post get turned into a debate on church music!?

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