Tag Archive: Complementarianism

Why Would Any Woman Want to be an Evangelical Christian?

mans world

Repost from 2015. Edited, rewritten, and corrected.

Why would any woman want to be an Evangelical Christian? If the Bible is the inspired Word of God and every word is true, why would any modern, thinking woman ever darken the door of an Evangelical church?

Over the past hundred years women have continued to gain rights and privileges kept from them by men, law, and social propriety: the right to vote, equal pay for equal work, the right to use birth control, the right to have an abortion, the right to divorce. While women do not yet have equal rights and privileges in this country, huge progress has been made toward that end.

Why don’t women have true equal rights and privileges in America? Don’t deceive yourself into thinking they do. There are still places in our society where the signs say Men Only. The primary reason women are denied basic civil rights and social privileges is that Christian patriarchal thinking still permeates our society.

Evangelical Christianity teaches that women are inferior to men. The Bible calls women weaker vessels. The Bible teaches that women are to be married, keepers of the home, bearers of children, and sex partners for their husband (unless the husband goes Old Testament and has multiple wives and concubines). Simply put, the Bible teaches that the world of women revolves around husband, food, children, and sex.

If the Bible is meant to be taken as written, women have no part in the governance of society or the church. Women are relegated to teaching children, and as women age, they are given the task of teaching younger women how to be good wives.

1 Timothy 5:14 says:

I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.

Titus 2:2-4 says:

That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

keep women where they belong

The Bible teaches women are to keep silent in the church:

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. 1 Corinthians 14:33-35

Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. 1 Timothy 2:11,12

The Bible also regulates how women are to dress and wear their hair:

In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. I Timothy 2:9,10

But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.

For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. 1 Corinthians 11:5,6

Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering. 1 Corinthians 11:13-15

The Bible teaches that women are to be in subjection to their husband:

For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. 1 Peter 4:5,6

But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. 1 Corinthians 11:3

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Ephesians 5:22-24

The Bible teaches that having a wife is a sure way to avoid fornication:

Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 1 Corinthians 7:1-3

And finally, the Bible says women were created for men:

Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. 1 Corinthians 11:9

And this is just the New Testament. The Old Testament portrays women as chattel, not much different from livestock. Women should be thrilled to have all the liberties the New Testament gives them (this is sarcasm, by the way).

chase sanborn coffee

Liberal and progressive Christians try to make all these verses go away by saying they are no longer applicable or that they must be interpreted in their historical context. Fine, let’s do the same with Jesus. A case can be made for Jesus being no longer applicable, and surely we must interpret the teachings of Christ in their historical context. Of course, this would result in Jesus being more irrelevant than he already is. I am all for people moving away from Evangelical Christianity. I do, however, wonder if liberal and progressive Christianity is the long-term answer. A halfway house? Perhaps. But a long-term solution to the continued subjugation of women? I have my doubts.

Millions of women attend Evangelical churches that believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God. The churches they attend proudly claim themselves to be bible-believing churches. Some churches follow the above-mentioned verses to the letter while other churches pretend the verses are not in the Bible. The latter are bible-believers lite. If they taught these verses as written, there would be empty houses and beds by nightfall.

del monte ad

Many Christian women, those not indoctrinated by Bible-thumping pastors and husbands, ignore the verses mentioned above. They tend to love Jesus and say screw the rest. Many women are not into theology. Theology is what men do, their male overlords tell them. Best to let men do the hard thinking. Cook the meals, clean the house, do the laundry, and spread your legs whenever your husband asks. That’s your calling, Pastor Blowhard says.

I am of the opinion that many women embrace Evangelical Christianity and continue in the church because of the social and family connections they have with others in the church. They are willing to put up with being considered second class citizens as long as they can maintain those connections. I suspect this is due to the maternal instinct that most women have. Others have been so indoctrinated by the men in their lives that they actually think they are inferior to men and meant to be their husbands’ slaves. I’ve had more than a few conversations with women who cannot or will not see that they deserve far better lives than they now have.

Some Evangelical women realize they’ve been taken captive by the Bible, a book men use to dominate and control them. Remember the “hell hath no fury” line that talks about a woman scorned? Once a woman realizes she can be free from the control and domination of men . . . watch out! Many women, once free, leave Christianity altogether. Others make their peace with God and the church, often seeking out expressions of faith that are not demeaning to women. If their marriages survive, they adopt an egalitarian way of life. Marriage becomes a shared relationship. Gone are the religious and social strictures meant to keep women in their place.

For those of you who have left Christianity, how did your marriage and the relationship with your husband change?

Bruce Gerencser, 62, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 41 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

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Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Lori Alexander Asks a Rhetorical Question

neanderthal family

Do I Teach a Neanderthal Concept of Women?

“Entitled husbands thinking their wife should remain inside the home as a ‘homemaker’ or ‘housewife’ leads to depression, isolation, anxiety, and more. Stop encouraging the Neanderthal concept of women should remain barefoot and pregnant and take care of their man’s needs and balance their entire family and household on her shoulders.” This was a comment left on my Facebook page. Apparently, she’s bought the feminist’s lies hook, line, and sinker.

Are husbands “entitled” who want their wives to be full-time homemakers? No, they are godly men who understand that God’s role for women is good, therefore, home is the best place for their wives. They work hard so their wives can be home full time. This doesn’t entitle them at all. They want their children to be raised by their children’s mother. They know this is not only protection for their wives but for their children. They know that no one can love and care for their children like their wives.

No, being a homemaker doesn’t lead to depression. Since women have left the home and tried to have it all, women are more depressed than ever before. Look up how many women are on anti-depressants and the numerous articles trying to explain why depression has skyrocketed among women. Women aren’t designed to do men’s work plus their own. The only reasons homemakers are depressed (other than a chemical imbalance) is because they have not been taught that it’s okay to not have a career and bring home a paycheck. They are right where God wants them to be and it is good. They need to learn that godliness with contentment is great gain and that as they love and serve their husbands and children, they are loving and serving Christ.

Is it a Neanderthal concept for women being barefoot, pregnant, taking care of their men’s needs, and balancing the entire family and household on her shoulders? No, it’s God’s concept for women and it’s perfect! Fertility is a short window in women’s life. By 30 years old, 90 percent of their eggs are gone so I always encourage women to NOT take their fertility for granted since children are the best blessings on this earth. Women were created to have children and it’s good!

I am sure she means by “taking care of their men’s needs” that she is referring to sex and yes, wives are commanded to not deprive their husbands in this area. Men have other needs too, however. They need good food, clean clothes, a clean home, someone to help raise their children, love, affection, respect, and so on. Generous, kind, and loving wives will provide these things for their husbands and they will do it with thankfulness. Good husbands are a huge blessing in their wives’ lives.

— Lori Alexander, The Transformed Wife, Do I Teach a Neanderthal Concept of Women?, March 2, 2020

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Men are so Easy to Sexually Manipulate

jezebel and ruth

There’s a young women from Philia Ministries who shared her testimony on YouTube a few months ago. She lived a godless life before coming to the Lord. She was a model and was living high according to the world’s standards. She was a Jezebel with a feminist spirit as many women are these days. They are seeking their own pleasures regardless of the cost to others. One phrase she said stood out to me. She admitted how easy it was to manipulate men sexually and she grieved deeply over this past sin and the men she hurt in the process. She told how she would get high off of manipulating them to want and need her. She was addicted to the attention.

….

Women, men are easy to manipulate because of our sexual natures. They have ten times the testosterone flowing through their bodies than us. They are highly visual and attracted to the female body. Most of you know this. You know how easy it is to manipulate men in the area of sex and may use it for your own selfish interests. Why do women wear thongs to the beaches and immodest clothing? They know it gains attention from the males around them.

Wives manipulate their husbands in the area of sex. If they’re unhappy with their husbands, they won’t give sex. They’ll use it to get what they want. This is sinful, women! We should never use anything manipulative to get what we want. This is not from the Lord and it reaps ugly fruit. It doesn’t build up a marriage but tears it down instead.

….

Are you a Jezebel [feminist] or a Ruth [femininity]? Do you try to control your husband as is the inclination for most of us since we want our way or do you willingly and cheerfully submit to his leadership? Instead of trying to manipulate your husband to get your own way, do you serve him and do what you can to make his life better? Do you love the Lord and His ways or are you more attracted to the world and its ways? Do you live a modest and quiet life in full assurance that the Lord is in control and His ways are best or do you fight for your own way and will?

Do you walk the talk or are you a hypocrite, claiming to be a “Christian” but failing to obey what God commands? Do you study His Word to know how to live or are you more involved in the Hollywood gossip and soap operas? What do you dwell upon? Do you understand that you are NOTHING without Christ and it’s only because of Him that you are who you are, or do you take pride in what you’ve accomplished without giving any glory to God? Are you thankful for the work that He has done in your life and give Him all the praise, or do you continue to walk on the broad path that leads to destruction?

— Lori Alexander, The Transformed Wife, Women Easily Manipulating Men, September 23, 2019

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: How to Hook a Man

lori and ken alexander

Brometheus tweeted this recently: “Steps for women looking to get engaged: 1) Wear a nice sundress; 2) Smile a lot; 3) Carry a plate of bacon; 4) When people mention the bacon, say, ‘Yes, I made it.’ Men will instantly rate you far above the vast majority of modern women. This ain’t rocket science. It’s that simple.”

Most men aren’t that complicated. Women are much more complicated because we tend to be led by our emotions and feelings which change frequently. I know there are many young women who would love to be married so this is great advice for you!

Many women don’t dress feminine anymore. Most wear leggings ALL the time which are NOT feminine. Everywhere I go, women are wearing leggings. On a few women, they are very sexy since they outline the body parts clearly. On other women, they are not attractive at all. Few women have perfect bodies. Women, leggings are not feminine nor modest in the least. A pretty sundress or skirt are much more feminine and attractive to men.

….

Finding a godly man isn’t easy in this culture, I know, but there will always be a remnant (Romans 11:5). Always dress and act feminine. Learn to be cheerful and cook good food. Ask the Lord to bring a godly man into your life and then wait upon Him. Find the best Bible believing and teaching church around and get involved. Do what you can and leave the results up to Him. In the meantime, concentrate on being holy in body and spirit as God commands (1 Corinthians 7:34). Oh, and most men do prefer debt-free virgins without tattoos!

— Lori Alexander, The Transformed Wife, Men are Attracted to Women Who are Feminine, Cheerful, and Good Cooks, September 10, 2019

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Ways Women Take On Masculine Roles

captain marvel

Women take on masculine roles when they enter the workforce and compete with men for greater achievement, higher positions, and earning more money.  We learn all the way back in Genesis that it is the man’s role to be a provider and not a woman’s (Genesis 3:16, 19).  If a woman is working, a man will not feel as great a need, if any, to work by the sweat of his brow to provide for his family.

Women also take on masculine roles when they try to take over leadership in the home instead of trustingly looking to their husbands for guidance and a strong arm to lean on.  The leadership position was given to husbands by God Himself.  This doesn’t mean that we have no opinions or wisdom, especially in our own sphere of the home, but often women neglect looking to their own husbands for guidance.  Even taking over the masculine chores around the house takes over something a husband can and should be doing, unless there is a real emergency where he is unable.

Some women think they are “helping” their husbands by doing these things.  But really, they are hindering their husbands, because the wives are taking on the husbands’ role instead of focusing on their own duties.  When we take on masculine roles instead of letting our husbands do them, it harms the family.  It is detrimental to our husbands’ feeling of being needed as the leader, protector, and provider for his family, which God created him to be.

— Blessed Homemaking, Ways Women Take on a Masculine Role, May 2, 2019

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Women Are Emotionally Weaker Than Men Says Ken Alexander

lori and ken alexander

Now, pastor, I have to call you out here as you try not to offend your audience. You know full well that most women are weaker emotionally than their Christian husbands, but you just can’t say it out of fear. You make no reference to anything that the Greek text or context may have to defend this assertion that emotional weakness is not part of the context.

Here, let me help you out and give you some empirical evidence, even as you know from your experience that men and women process emotions differently and women struggle more with their emotional nature than men do in general. God forbid that your audience find out what they already know and have known almost all of their lives. It’s not by accident that 70 percent or more of divorces are sought by unhappy women who allow their emotions to rule over their once godly values for family, children, and most of all their Lord Jesus.

— Ken Alexander, The Transformed Wife, Pastors, Please Teach Wifely Submission Biblically, April 22, 2019

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Peter Jones Says We Must Return to Patriarchal Family Structures

peter jones

Christian believers must make known with care and respect that destroying patriarchy eliminates the reality of fatherhood, without which there is no family. It is also a rejection of the amazing revelation taught by Jesus regarding God as loving Father, which is at the very basis of the Christian message. Fatherhood is the basis of the success of the Western Christendom, which, with all its faults, has lasted down the centuries, based on a belief in God as Father and Creator. Rejection of patriarchy is a form of Gnosticism, since the Gnostics rejected the given-ness of creation for their own subjective views of reality. Philosopher Eric Voegelin (1901–85) noted: “All gnostic movements are involved in the project of abolishing the constitution of being, with its origin in divine, transcendent being.”

As Christians, we must show by our lives and our words that distinction-making is the objective, Twoist key to the created cosmos and is the only way to approach God the holy Creator and Redeemer. The temptation is to “self-censor” by falling silent. But to demand silence of believers is like asking the early Christians to burn incense to Caesar as Lord in an active expression of polytheism. We must show love to “non-gender” people while loving our Creator and Father first. We must explain to our Christian children the god-denying essence of “a-sexuality” while teaching them to respect every human being, since they are all made in God’s image. Christ’s love is available to all. The church must show the love of Jesus to homosexual and “a-gendered” people, even if our testimony means losing one’s job or reputation. In a time of deliberate rejection of homes and fathers, may we use our families as places of welcome for those in need. The Christian message must not be silenced, but it must be accompanied by courageous acts of love and bold expressions of care. Though this post-patriarchal culture may be unlike any we have known, it is the place where God has put us to preach the gospel with great clarity.

This utopian culture, headed for dystopia, will only be a utopia for God-denying progressives who feel called to save their world by eliminating all creational structures. It will fail. It will implode. Thus, we need to pray that God will have mercy on us, use our courageous witness to his truth, and bring about a hunger in the culture for his Word, his Will and his Honor, from which derives all human dignity. One day the final utopia will come in the marriage supper of the Lamb, where Christ the husband and patriarch will take his bride, the church, in a renewed reality that will bring eternal glory to God its Creator and Savior. In that day the concluding words of Scripture will be heard ringing throughout the cosmos from the lips of the renewed family of God:”Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created”.

— Dr. Peter Jones, Truth Exchange,The End of the Family, April 5, 2019

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Lori Alexander Glories in Ignorance

lori alexander

Women, do you know that God’s chain of authority is for our good? Yes, women are more gullible than men. Recently, my husband and I were out front with a few couples from the neighborhood chatting in the street together. Ken brought up that I had been deceived into thinking my brand new iPhone was “free” by the salesman. Then my daughter saw that we were being charged $25 more a month until the $650 phone was paid off! One of the wives said that she would have easily been deceived in this way, too, but said her husband never would have. My husband would not be either, but he was out of town and my phone broke so I needed a  new phone and they guy assured me that my monthly costs wouldn’t go up. I am wondering if the Apple sign of the bite into apple is a sign to remind their salesmen that women are more easily deceived…

Men are for our protection, women, in more than one way. God created them to be our protectors and not as easily deceived as we are. Women were created to be soft, trusting, and nurturing in order to be home and raise children. Women coming out from under the authority of men has caused chaos!

I mentioned in the chat room that I cringe every time I see women as policemen, firefighters, or in the military. They are dressed as men and act masculine but they aren’t men! They have been deceived into thinking that they can do a man’s job as good as men can but they can’t. Men are the ones who are to be in the protective roles in culture. This doesn’t make us second class citizens. It makes us women who should be thankful for their protection.

— Lori Alexander, The Transformed Wife, Are Submissive Wives Second Class Citizens?, April 9, 2019

Was Jesus a “Real”Man?

american jesus

It is not uncommon to hear Evangelicals say that Jesus was a “real” man; that Jesus understood while on the earth, and in Heaven today, what it means to be a “real” man. Evangelical churches and parachurch groups frequently have services and conferences where the manly Jesus is worshiped. In this world, Jesus scratched his balls, farted and laughed, watched football, hunted deer, fished, and loved MMA. You know, all the things “real,” red-blooded, bark-at-the-moon-crazy American Evangelical men do. Feminists and unsubmissive, bossy wives are blamed for turning Evangelical men into pansies — limp-wristed men who cower in fear. Feminists live disobedient lives, choosing careers over marriage and family. Complementarianism is God’s standard, “real” men say. “Time for Evangelical women to return to their homes and start cleaning, cooking, spreading their legs on demand, and having lots of babies.” “Let “real” men do all the hard thinking and lifting.” Let “real” men run things.” “We’re here to love and protect you, ladies.”

For “real” men, macho masculinity is the gold standard. Dare to deviate from this standard as a man and your masculinity will be called into question. Worse, behind your back these “real” men will wonder if you are gay — the unpardonable sin. The cure for effeminate behavior, macho men say, is for light-in-the-loafers men to follow after Jesus — a “real” man. Makes sense, right? If there was ever a “real” man, it was Jesus. Or so Evangelicals believe, anyway.

Think for a moment about the life of Jesus. Ask yourself, “was Jesus a “real” man — as defined by modern Evangelical ball-scratching finger sniffers”? Consider:

  • Jesus had long hair — effeminate, sinful hair according to the social standards of many Evangelical sects
  • Jesus wore women’s clothing — women wore long dresses, men wore shorter dresses, a violation of the Law of God
  • Jesus spent three years traveling the countryside with a group of mostly single men. (Do that today and your heterosexual manliness will be called into question.)
  • Jesus spent three years sleeping with men
  • Jesus never had a girlfriend
  • Jesus never masturbated
  • Jesus never had sex
  • Jesus never had a boner
  • Jesus never romantically kissed a woman
  • Jesus never attended a sporting event

Shall I go on? You see, Jesus was nothing like the “real” Evangelical men of today. We don’t even know for sure if Jesus ever urinated or defecated. The Bible, in fact, tells us very little about Jesus’ humanity. We know Jesus had a mother, father, siblings, and likely grew up in a poor home. We also know Jesus drank wine. We know Jesus’ father was a carpenter, but we don’t know if Jesus had any physical skills. The Bible records all sorts of miraculous things Jesus purportedly did, yet after three years he had less than 200 followers. His own family didn’t follow him, and even went so far as to ask him to take his magic show away from their town. “Jesus, you are embarrassing Mom and Dad,” his brother James allegedly said. “Please go to somewhere else and heal the sick!”

manly jesus

I am sure that “real” men will be incensed upon reading this post. How dare I besmirch the “manliness” of the Son of God. “Look at all that Jesus suffered on the cross,” “real” men say. “Look at his pain and suffering!” I dealt with this violent porn fantasy in a post titled I Wish Christians Would be Honest About Jesus’ Three Day Weekend:

The narrative [Kirsten] Ryken [a writer for the Fundamentalist website The Gospel Coalition] spins is one often heard when Evangelicals try to explain pain and suffering: my suffering is next to nothing compared to the pain and agony Jesus suffered on the cross. In the minds of Christians such as Ryken, there’s no human suffering that can be compared to what Jesus faced on Calvary. This worn-out, tiresome trope gets repeated over and again by Evangelicals who never THINK about what they are actually saying. Jesus is the bad-ass suffering servant, Evangelicals would have us believe; but in fact Jesus’ suffering was minuscule compared to what countless people face every day.

Yes, Jesus was beaten and his beard was plucked from face. Yes, he was nailed to a Roman cross and suffered great indignity (that is, assuming the gospel narratives are true). But how long did Jesus actually suffer? Days? Weeks? Months? Years? Nope. How about less than a day? Then he died, descended to hell and hung out with its inhabitants, and then he resurrected from the dead good as new save the nail prints in his hands and feet. Pray tell, based on what the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God says about Jesus’ suffering, how was his pain in any way worse than that which any human has ever experienced? By all means, compare Christ’s suffering to what children face when having radiation and chemotherapy treatments to eradicate cancer from their bodies. Go ahead, compare his suffering to that of people in burn units with third degree burns over most their bodies. Jesus may have faced intense levels of pain for a short amount of time, but how does his suffering compare to the pain of people who suffer with debilitating, chronic illnesses for years?

Jesus knew that his time of suffering would be short and sweet, and then he would die. Imagine a body wracked with pain day in and day out, years on end, with no relief in sight. I suspect such people might be willing to suffer what Jesus did if they knew afterward their bodies would be free from pain. I know I would. I would trade places in a heartbeat with the “suffering” Son of God if it meant come Sunday morning my body was no longer wracked with pain. And I suspect I am not alone in my blasphemy.

I don’t think for a moment that my short post will change Christian thinking on this subject. Ryken desperately needs a suffering Jesus to make sense of her own pain. Without Jesus, she is left with what? Shit happens? And to that I say “yes.” None of us is guaranteed a pain-free life. Genetics, environmental factors, personal choices, and yet-unknown factors go into what diseases we contract and what pain we suffer. The late Christopher Hitchens was right when he said in his book Mortality, ” . . . To the dumb question ‘Why me?’ the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply: Why not? . . .”  Why me, indeed.

According to the man standard set by “real” Evangelical men, Jesus was not a “real” man. In fact, one could argue that Jesus might have been gay. Can you imagine what would happen to the heads of “real” men if Jesus was, indeed, queer? Why, they would explode like those of the Martians in Mars Attacks! You see, “real” men have molded and shaped Jesus into their own images. And it’s not just “real” men Evangelicals. All followers of the Son of God follow a Jesus that looks, thinks, and acts just like them. This is why there are millions and millions of Jesuses (and Christianities). Throw in buffet-style readings and interpretations of the Bible, and what we end up with are Jesuses that seem an awful lot like us. Jesus is the ultimate chameleon, able to fit every sect, church, and Christian’s view of the world. This is why many Christians believe God hates LGBTQ people, Muslims, and liberals, yet other Christians believe Jesus loves LGBT people, Muslims, and liberals. And between these two worldviews are countless points of difference. Jesus, then, is like a paint-by-number portrait where each painter chooses what color corresponds with each number. “Jesus was white!” Megyn Kelly famously said. For her paint-by-number portrait of Jesus, she changed the brown/olive Mediterranean skin color to European white.

Theology and social conditioning force “real” Evangelical men to paint a mental and physical picture a certain way. Too bad there weren’t digital cameras back in 30 CE. Too bad a contemporary didn’t sketch Jesus or describe him. Too bad Jesus — who was likely illiterate — didn’t leave behind any writings. All we have are the gospels, none of which were written by Jesus, none of which were written during his lifetime. That’s why modern Christians are forced to make a Jesus in their own image, according to their own beliefs and experiences. And that’s fine, by the way. Thousands and thousands of people “know” Bruce Gerencser. They read this blog, and having never met me, they develop a mental picture of who and what I am. The same goes for the readers of this blog. I have met a few of you face to face, but I will go to the cremation furnace without ever truly “knowing” 99.9 percent of you. I interact with a small number of readers in the comments, on social media, and through text messages. I have made judgements about who and what you are. Now, these impressions of mine might bear a resemblance to the “real” you, but then again, maybe not. The only sure way I can know you (and you me) is for us to meet face to face and for us to spend significant time with each other. And even then, can we really totally and completely know someone?

“Real” men nonsense actually causes great psychological and societal harm. Instead of letting men be themselves, with unique wants, needs, and desires, Evangelical “real” men force other men to play according to their rules. Countless men endure sports because “real” men demand they do so. Countless men are married to women because “real” men love breasts and vaginas. And on and on it goes. And the worst part about all of this is that males who don’t fit the Evangelical “real” man standard suffer in silence, unable to say publicly they wept at the end of The Notebook or love Project Runway.

Life is too short to live in ways that deny who and what we really are. It’s okay to be different. It’s okay to have different wants, needs, and desires. Love monster trucks? Super! Love quiet walks in the woods and sunsets? That’s fine too. There’s no need for any of us to conform to a religious or cultural norm. Love others and be true to self. Dare we ask any more of anyone?

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 61, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 40 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so.

Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

Christian Patriarchy: Should Wives Obey Their Husbands No Matter What?

husbands beat their wives

According to Evangelical complementarianism, husbands are their head of their homes. Wives are to submit to their husbands in all things. If husbands ask their wives to do something they think is wrong or they don’t want to do, wives should obey their masters’ commands anyway. Come judgment day, complementarians say, God will judge husbands and they will have to give an account for commanding their wives to do wrong. Most complementarians have two caveats of sorts: no, you don’t have to allow your husband to beat you, and no, you are not obligated to so anything that is “sin.” Outside of these two exceptions, wives are expected to woman-up and do exactly what their husbands tell them the to do. Take the issue of sex. Tired after caring for six children, cooking meals, cleaning the house, washing three million dirty cloth diapers, ironing your husband’s underwear, and making soap for your home-based business? Tough shit. When husbands want sex, wives are expected to give it to them — even during their periods — on demand. Simply put, wives are children with whom husbands can have sex. In every other way, there’s little difference between how wives are treated and how children are treated.

Today. Lori Alexander, defended the aforementioned belief this way:

What do women do who are completely against vaccinating their children but their husbands want their children to be vaccinated? They believe that vaccines contain aborted babies and can cause harm to their children. They are even afraid that their children could die from them since some have. Can they disobey their husbands’ will in this circumstance? Are the husbands asking their wives to sin? (Yes, some believe that vaccinating children is sinful.)

….

God commands that wives submit to their husbands in everything. No, they don’t submit to physical abuse or if their husbands ask them to do something evil but in everything else, yes, they submit. Some wives believe that injecting their children with vaccinations is evil but in this case, I believe they must submit. The Bible doesn’t say that vaccinating children is evil. Yes, abortion is evil and if, in fact, it is found out that most vaccinations are indeed filled with aborted fetuses, then they may have a case but as I stated, there is no way that they can prevent their husbands from vaccinating their children without causing much harm to their marriage. Children NEED a father and a mother. Children need their mothers loving their fathers. They don’t need conflict and chaos in their homes. They need a home filled with peace and love. This is much more likely to happen when the wife is obeying the Lord and her husband.

When a wife is living in loving submission to her husband on a continual basis, her husband will be much more willing to listen to her appeals. If she has researched vaccinations and feels strongly against them, she can share these with him after praying. Then she must give it to the Lord and live by faith instead of by fear.

Now, the husband in Alexander’s story wants to do what’s best for his children. Alexander, I believe, is an anti-vaxxer. What she is saying here is that wives should refrain from doing right by their children if their husbands ask them to do something that might harm them. And believe me, not getting vaccinations harms not only children, but society at large. The general principle is this: Wives are to do whatever their husbands command them to do as long they are not physically assaulting them or asking them to do something “evil.” Since the Bible doesn’t mention vaccinating children, wives should have their children vaccinated even if they think it may harm them. After all, God is in charge and he will protect them, right?

Anyone with an ounce of critical thinking can discern that this kind of thinking is psychologically and physically harmful, and could even cause death. Wives are turned into lemmings who can’t think for themselves. If I asked my wife what is the biggest “hangover” from our Evangelical days, she would say, “my hesitancy to make my own decisions.” We are more than a decade removed from our complementarian days, yet we still struggle with what I call the vestigial beliefs from our past. As much as we have tried to change our thinking, Polly and I still, at times, revert to our old ways. We are a long way from where we were, but fifty years of complementarian indoctrination will not be undone overnight. It takes time.

I have talked to my counselor many times about this — my frustration with our inability to move towards a more egalitarian marriage. “Well, Bruce, you like making decisions, and maybe Polly likes you making them,” he told me. I suspect he is right. I know I DO like making decisions. I am quite capable of making snap decisions, of being able to quickly size up a matter and decide accordingly. After forty years of marriage to me, Polly likes that I can do this, if for no other reason than that I am to blame if a decision has a bad outcome. Of course, I think it is important Polly think for herself and make her own decisions. This means that I often refrain from making decisions on her behalf, reminding her that she doesn’t need my permission to do something/buy something.

We remain a work in progress. Polly now has a supervisory position at her place of employment. Having this job has forced her to make decisions and be accountable for them. I remember her coming home filled with grief, telling about someone getting upset with her over a decision she made. I laughed, and said, “Welcome to making decisions. Every decision you make has the possibility of pissing someone off.”

The Lori Alexanders of the world want to keep women enslaved. “As long as your husbands don’t beat your ass or ask you to rob a bank, shut the fuck up and do what they say!” Crude? Yes, but this is exactly what Alexander is saying. Worse yet, some Evangelical preachers believe that wives should stay with their husbands even if they beat them — especially if they are unsaved. Why? The Bible says:

Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. (1 Peter 3:1-4)

In the 1980s, the church I was pastoring at the time joined together with other Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) and Bible churches to hold a crusade (revival) in Newark, Ohio. Jim Dennis, my wife’s uncle and the pastor of the Newark Baptist Temple in Heath, Ohio, was the chairman of the crusade. Pete (or it might have been Bill) Rice of Sword of the Lord/Bill Rice Ranch fame was brought in to be the speaker for the crusade. Several days into the meeting, Rice preached on marriage. Now, I knew he held to a “no divorce” position, so I knew we would disagree on that point. However, I was shocked when he said that Christian wives who were being beaten by their unsaved husbands should consider staying in their homes. Since being beaten by your husband is NOT, according to Rice, grounds for divorce, might it not be better for wives to endure the beatings and, through their godly testimonies win their husbands to Christ? Granted, Rice believed it was okay for wives to separate from their abusive husbands. He had to make such a grudging allowance due to what the Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7:

But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn. And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife. But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace. For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife? (1 Corinthians 7:9-16)

Now, there are all sorts of ways to interpret this passage of Scripture, but Evangelicals who believe there are NO grounds for divorce say wives can separate from an abusive spouse, but then can never divorce and remarry. In their minds, remarriage is the same as committing adultery. Rice’s words so incensed me that I withdrew our church from participating in the crusade. That decision made for a bit of family controversy, but I didn’t care. I may have been a complementarian at the time, but I thought wrong to suggest wives couldn’t file for divorce even if their husbands were beating them or abusing them in other ways.

Regular commenter Brian is right when he asserts religion is harmful — especially Evangelical Christianity. Complementarianism is foundational to Evangelical beliefs about marriage and the family. As long as this is so, wives will be considered inferior to their husbands, best suited for bearing children, cooking meals, doing domestic work, and putting out when their husbands ask. Husbands will continue to rule their kingdoms, thinking that doing so is what God commands. And children, seeing this sort of dysfunctional, harmful marriage modeled to them, will follow in their parents’ steps. Until the cycle is broken, complementarianism will live on.

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 61, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 40 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so.

Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

How My Relationships With Women Have Changed Post-Jesus

temptress

I grew up in a system of religious faith that taught me a negative view of women. Every Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) pastor and professor who instructed me in the True Christian Faith® taught me the following:

  • Women were created by God to be their husbands’ helpmeets.
  • Women are commanded by God to be keepers of their homes. Their primary tasks are housekeeping, cooking meals, caring for children, and spreading their legs whenever their husbands want sex.
  • Women, when compared to men, are weaker vessels and need the protection of males.
  • Men are the head of their homes and their wives are to submit to their rule and authority.
  • Women are temptresses, leading men (and teen boys) into sexual immorality.
  • Women have the duty to dress in ways to keep men from lusting after them. Women, then, are sexual gatekeepers.
  • Women cannot be pastors or serve in any church capacity that puts them in authority over men. Some of pastors and professors taught me that women were to be silent in church and were not permitted to participate in church governance.

These beliefs were modeled — albeit imperfectly and hypocritically — to me throughout my primary, secondary, and post-secondary years. It should come as no surprise, then, that once I began preaching and pastoring churches, I taught these beliefs to congregants. Multiple generations of people were taught by me that women were inferior, dangerous beings best suited for domestic work, teaching women, preparing church dinners, and staffing the nursery.  Women who violated these Biblical truths were viewed as rebellious towards God, their churches, and their husbands.

My wife and I lived by these beliefs for many years. Our home was what I would call a traditional IFB home. Not only did Polly care for the home, she also home schooled our six children. For five years, she taught our children and others in our church’s private Christian school. Polly did work in a church day care (Temple Tots, a ministry of the Newark Baptist Temple) and taught third grade one year at Licking County Christian Academy in Heath, Ohio. Polly received a lesser wage than male teachers because I was the head of our home; she was  not.

Ten years before we deconverted, Polly took a job cleaning offices at a local manufacturing concern. She works for this company today as a manager, recently celebrating twenty years on the job. By the time Polly started working at Sauder Woodworking, our marriage had evolved, taking on more of an egalitarian quality. Our quest for true marital equality and egalitarianism continues to this day. Old habits die hard, but we do work presenting an egalitarian model to our children and grandchildren. I suspect this late in the game we will never outlive the deep marks complementarianism has made on us personally and on our marriage.

It wasn’t until I deconverted that I was able to have female friends. As long as Jesus and I were best friends, I had no female friends. How could I, since I believed that some women were temptresses out to seduce and bed me? I had women I considered acquaintances, but I always kept them at arm’s length out of fear of being tempted to sin. I was taught to avoid the very appearance of evil. Thus, I was not permitted to enjoy the company of women if my wife was not present. No social interaction whatsoever was permitted. Of course, this kind of thinking cut me off from a wealth of wisdom and knowledge. When it came to the churches I pastored, I ran the show, and when serious decisions had to be made, it was the men who made them. Women were permitted to vote in business meetings, but there was no doubt about which sex and which member of that sex was in charge.

in 2008, I divorced Jesus. Once free of Christianity, I was then free to be friends with whomever I wanted, regardless of their sex (or sexual orientation). Now, this doesn’t mean that I am oblivious to the fact that close company with the opposite sex can and does lead to moral compromise. That said, I don’t “fear” women. I own my sexuality, so it’s up to me how and to what degree I interact with women. Both Polly and I are free to enjoy the company of the opposite (or same) sex, even though, quite frankly, we enjoy one another’s company the most.

Earlier this week, I had my beard trimmed. I was starting to look a lot more like Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomer, than Santa Claus. Prior to this appointment, my hair — when I had any — and beard had always been trimmed by men. This time a woman trimmed my beard. I became casually acquainted with her (and her husband) several years ago as I photographed my grandson’s baseball games. Her son played on my grandson’s team. I have run into her many times since at baseball games, high school games, and school events. A month or so ago, I ran into her at a local high school basketball game. I knew that she cut hair, so I asked her if she trimmed beards. I told her my previous barber was quite a hack, and I was looking for someone to care for Santa’s beard. She told me she trimmed beards, so this week I had her cut mine. She did a wonderful job. I must admit that it felt strange having a woman not named Polly run her fingers through my beard. That said, she’s the beard trimmer for me.

As Polly and I were leaving, I told the woman who trimmed my beard, “you are the first woman to ever cut my hair or trim my beard in almost sixty-two years.” I did not tell her that it took divorcing Jesus for me to be comfortable with a woman who is not my wife touching my hair and/or beard. I believe she is religious, so I don’t want to have THAT discussion while she has scissors in her hand.

Did you avoid relationships with the opposite sex due to your religious beliefs? Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 61, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 40 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so.

Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Why Men Want Their Wives to Work

lori alexander

1. They’ve been brainwashed by decades of feminist social engineering into believing that a wife not working full time outside the home is a freeloader not contributing to the household.

2. Related to number 1, they realize that their own ability to adequately provide for a family on their income alone has been deliberately undermined and destroyed by the existing feminist order, which has saturated the workplace with women, thus driving wages downward to levels incapable of supporting a family. For this reason, they’re determined that their wives should “live the ‘feminist dream’” and work full time (“you and your feminist sisters have made your – and our – beds hard, now sleep in them!”).

3. They know how miserable, “unfulfilled,” and “oppressed” their wives will feel having to stay at home and raise the children they’ve spat out because they felt some vague societal obligation to do so (“I gave birth to them, isn’t that enough?! … What, you want me to RAISE them too??!! Are you nuts???!!!”). These men know that they’ll be in for nothing but misery, contentiousness, and marital strife if they “oppress” their wives by making them stay at home, so they make them go to work in the (vain and misplaced) hope of ensuring some domestic tranquility.

4. Sadly, most husbands today don’t seem to give significantly more thought or priority to their children’s long-term spiritual and emotional well-being than do their wives. Children, in the modern western world, and for both sexes, are a commodity, an abstraction, and ultimately a burden, not joys or treasures to be delighted in, cared for, and nurtured to grow up in God’s image. Making mom stay at home to raise them is just not an option for most dads, for all the reasons cited above.

— Lori Alexander, The Transformed Wife, Why Men Want Their Wives to Work, January 30, 2019

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