Monday, November 07, 2011

Upcoming new book

I just ordered Voddie Baucham's new book, Family Shepherds: Calling and Equipping Men to Lead Their Homes. Voddie Baucham is one of my favorite authors and speakers and if he is anything he is bold and unapologetic. That sort of candor is far too uncommon. Family Shepherds, not having read it yet, seems to be a natural follow-up to his other books like What He Must Be...If He Wants To Marry My Daughter and Family Driven Faith in calling the church back to a Bible centered view of the family rather than a culturally molded model.

You can watch a brief video of Voddie talking about why he wrote this book and why it is so important.

I am eagerly anticipating this book! Some people in the more "organic" spectrum of the church might get jittery at some of the things Baucham says when he starts talking about the unique role of fathers in the home. Any hint of male leadership or *gasp!* patriarchy makes some people break out in a cold sweat. I get that. I just disagree. Vehemently.

If we have organic, participatory, whatever terminology you use to describe the gathering of the church but have homes that are not as representative of the Biblical model and command as our church gatherings are, we will continue to have serious issues and confusion in the church. If our homes are not as Biblically ordered as our church gatherings we are being dangerously inconsistent. How we view families within the church is critical if we are to have a church that functions as a family. The parallels between the two are unmistakable and critical. This is again a matter of consistency. To say that Paul's example and admonition for a voluntary, functioning priesthood of all believers is normative for the church today but then to reject his teachings, often in the same chapter, on gender relationships and roles is not only inconsistent, it is disingenuous. I don't see simple, organic church models and family integrated gatherings with traditional gender roles being incompatible with one another. I rather see them as perfectly compatible and consistent interpretations and applications of Scripture.

I am sure that Family Shepherds will be purchased and loved by many in the Family Integrated Church segment of the church and by many families in the homeschooling wing. I hope it gets an audience beyond that because the questions and issues it raises are crucial in this day and age. I don't expect everyone to agree. Heck I haven't even read the book yet! I do hope that it will lead to more conversation that is focused on Scripture and the unique role of fathers in the family and the church.


Aussie John said...


For the first time I have to disagree with you. Vehemently!

I taught my children that there is one Patriarch in the Christian home, and who is God, as He is revealed in the Scriptures and especially in Jesus Christ. It was my task to teach them what He expects of those who are His, as part of His New Covenant people.

I have to agree with Pastor Wade Burleson, who writes in the forward of Jon Zens, book "No Will of my Own":

"Patriachalists say that the last portion of Genesis 3:16 means that (1). God commands that a woman should display sexual desire for her man (i.e. “your desire shall be for your husband”), and that (2). The male is to be the head, authority and ruler over the women in his home (i.e. “and he shall rule over you”). Women should be subservient to the men, and the Christian home ought to be governed by men, because God commands it to be that way, say those Christians who hold to patriarchy.

However, using basic principles of interpretation, one can easily see Genesis 3:16 is a consequence of sin and not a commandment from God. The woman’s desire for her husband in Genesis 3:16 is not, at least linguistically and contextually, a sexual desire. The word translated "desire" (teshuqah) is used in the next chapter, Genesis 4:7, where teshuquah refers to sin’s desire to control Cain. Thus, letting the Bible interpret itself, the word “desire” in both both Genesis 3:16 and Genesis 4:7 means “a desire to control.”

Simply put, sin causes a desire to dominate or control. The curse of sin becomes a constant battle for control. This is not how God created relationships between men and women to be. Many conservative Christians, though, have made the mistake of interpreting Genesis 3:16 to teach that God commands the woman to stay home, give sexual fulfillment to her man, while God has given the man complete authority to control and govern the women in his life. This theology of male domination can, left unchecked, lead to incest and sexual abuse.

When the God of all grace, however, gets a grip on the home, no longer will there be a fight to see who dominates and controls the other. Rather, there will be mutual submission between the husband and the wife because there is mutual equaility (i.e. Ephesians 5:21 – “submitting to one another in reverence to Christ”). Mutual submission, with no thought of control, is God's design for the home. It should be the effort of every Bible-believing church, pastor and teacher to instruct husbands and wives on the sinful nature of any husband or wife who seeks to dominate the home.

Dr. Richard Hess, Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages at Denver Theological Seminary comments on Genesis 3:16. Dr. Hess said all Christians should attempt to pull down any patriarchal system of domination and control in the Christian home, and then responds to those who object to any attempt to end patriarchy:

"It is no more a sin to end this consequence of the fall than it is to use weed killer to end the promised weeds and thorns in the following verses. No, the emphasis (in Genesis 3:16) is on the terrible effects of sin, and the destruction of a harmonious relationship that once existed. In its place comes a harmful struggle of wills."

Arthur Sido said...

Hi John

I expected some disagreement on what I wrote. I am actually writing up a full length post on the topic of "mutual submission".

I would certainly agree that we should seek to oppose any system of domination of one Christian over another. I also reject the idea that patriarchy or male headship, whatever one calls it, is inherently a system of domination. My calling is to lead in the home, not to make my wife submit to me. In fact if I seek to make her submit, by defintion she is not submitting! Her calling is to submit gracefully to me "as to the Lord". I would welcome your further comments on the post I am preparing!

If patriarchy was based strictly on Genesis 3:16, I would say that Wade and Dr. Hess have a point but as I have attempted to point out elsewhere, I find the New Testament far more patriarchal than the Old.

Aussie John said...


From your reply, may I submit, it would appear to me that it would be wise to not to use the term "patriarchy", because most who use it are speaking of domination,and subjection, which Jesus spoke against.

My Dictionary defines the word as " that form of social organization in which the father is the head of the family clan, or which power is held and transferred through males (and) the principles or philosophy upon which control by male authority is based. It is government, rule, power, and domination by men."

Patriarchy is hegemonic by nature, and was,as Jesus indicated, the way the Gentile ruler-chiefs always exercised "leadership" by "lording it over" others.

Jesus declared it was "not so among you,". Under the New Covenant leadership was to be very different,in fact the antithesis of the common hegemonic leadership style, which Jesus turned upside down: any follower of Him, whose task would be ruling or leading others (hegoumenos/hegeomai) must first be a ser­vant (diakonos) to others, humbling themself to the rank of a servant in his kingdom (Lk. 22:25-26).

I was raised under a patriarch, and I, and my siblings know, first hand, the physical and psychological harm that arises from such dominance.

On the other hand, it has been my joy to observe children of two generations,who grew up with Christ as the Head of the home, in which the father served his wife, by loving her as Christ loved His Church, and served his children, by loving discipline and teaching them, BY EXAMPLE,to follow and serve the One who is Head of the family.