What Todd Pruitt Missed

In the continuing debate between complimentarianism/egalitarianism and patriarchy (although most are not debating for patriarchy, but running from anything that smacks of patriarchy), the ambiguity still reigns supreme.

A recent example of this is Todd Pruitt’s article: I Am Not A Complimentarian in which he argues for returning to the position of being simply confessional. I agree with his end result. Being confessional, as one holds to the Westminster Confession of Faith, is where Reformed Presbyterians should always be.

However, it seems to me, that either I’m missing something, or he is missing something because from how I read the WCF, and the Book of Church Order, neither expressly state what a woman’s role is to be in marriage. The closest the Confession comes is in WCF 14.2. This is the chapter dealing with marriage and divorce. Chapter 2 reads:

Marriage was ordained for the mutual help of husband and wife; for the increase of mankind with a legitimate issue, and of the Church with an holy seed; and for preventing of uncleanness.

This really isn’t speaking to the issue. But then again, it is. What most are missing in the entire argument is that the Bible is very clear about our roles in marriage. The man is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. The woman is to submit to her husband, as to the LORD, and bring forth children for the glory of God. I’ve written more about this here.

The greater truth is that those who lived during the days that the WCF was written, were not confused about our roles in marriage. They didn’t need a section in the Confession detailing these roles because it was so abundantly obvious to anyone who was reading the Bible. It is only confusing because we, the church and society in general, have moved so far away from those declared roles found in scripture.

I know that by saying this, people will accuse me of patriarchy. I’m not sure what to make of that. But the reality is: this debate will continue as long as we do not hold to what Scripture declares concerning these roles.

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7 thoughts on “What Todd Pruitt Missed

  1. I read Pruitt’s piece. He affirms complementarianism, but has separated himself from the current version which has been torn away from the simple “man and woman are complementary, not equivalent” and twisted in the recent (and bizarre) Trinity debates. He wants nothing to do with those debates about the Trinity, the Son’s eternal subordination to the Father, and what that means in the Kingdom for males and females (a rather lengthy, somewhat heated, and extremely convoluted debate amongst the “elites”). He is distancing himself from THAT complementarianism, not NORMAL complementarianism. (And why complementarians complain against patriarchy is beyond me. “Because it can be abused” doesn’t make it wrong; it makes the abuse wrong.)

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    1. Hi Stan, your abuse statement is music to our ears. Heidi has been complaining for sometime that just because something is abused, doesn’t make it wrong.

      She says that if we take their point of view, then we need to do away parental authority, since it has been abused… and governmental authority, along with ecclesiastical authority.

      I’m also of the opinion, that if we really look at what Scripture affirms, it comes down in the non-abusive patriarchy camp. Maybe we should call that the NAPC position. 🙂

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  2. Is Ephesians 5:25 the most ignored verse in the bible? Or is it the most overlooked? “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,” Christ loved his church so much he died for it = for us. When asked “Do you love your wife so much that you would gladly be tortured and executed for her?” our answer, if we are a Christian, is an honest and resounding “YES!” women are not compelled to such a high degree of love.

    Keep that in mind the next time someone bats around the term “Patriarchy” like it’s a bad thing. Abusive patriarchy is not patriarchy, it’s abuse. And did you happen to notice that those that complain about patriarchy the loudest are also the most silent about Islam’s abuse of women?

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    1. Hi Doug,

      I’m not sure about the silence on Islam, but agree that just because there are those who are abusive under a belief system, doesn’t mean that the belief system itself is in error.

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  3. I’m not a Presbyterian (and perhaps that’s some of the disconnect), but I’ve left the Southern Baptists which have become increasingly Reformed as Neo-Calvinism and Complementarianism have spread through the church like kudzu … the basics are the same.
    We would read Scripture and say “greeting with a kiss and washing one another’s feet were cultural. They were signs of hospitality common in that region.” Is not not possible that the patriarchy ‘confirmed’ in Scripture was also cultural?
    The Trinity debate seems to be understanding a description of the trinity as a prescription for all relationships in that God the Father is authority personified and Jesus the son is submission personified, so too must all relationships be that of authority/submission, with men being in positions of authority and women in positions of submission. The concept that men and women were equal and not second-class citizens was foreign to them. Only in the last few centuries have women made great strides to have equal rights as men – patriarchy has reigned through the millennia and has never not been abused. It feeds into the human tendency to seek control over others and the co-dependant’s tendency to be controlled by others
    Likewise, reading the description of patriarchy in a patriarchal culture as a prescription would be just as erroneous as saying that because slavery was ‘confirmed’ in Scripture, it’s a prescription for all time as well. It too, has never not been abused and it still is – primarily as sex trafficking in patriarchal countries.

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