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Woman was merely man’s helpmate, a function which pertains to her alone. She is not the image of God but as far as man is concerned, he is by himself the image of God. — Saint Augustine
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Woman was made for only one reason, to serve and obey man. — John Knox
Yesterday’s New York Times article, Muslim Brotherhood’s Statement on Women Stirs Liberals’ Fears, sent shivers down my spine. You tell me if it does not sound like Christian Patriarchy in stories we have read from Sovereign Grace Ministries, Doug Phillips, Doug Wilson, and even Piper:
“A woman needs to be confined within a framework that is controlled by the man of the house,” Osama Yehia Abu Salama, a Brotherhood family expert, said of the group’s general approach, speaking in a recent seminar for women training to become marriage counselors. Even if a wife were beaten by her husband, he advised, “Show her how she had a role in what happened to her.”
“If he is to blame,” Mr. Abu Salama added, “she shares 30 percent or 40 percent of the fault.”
Alrighty – – let’s put things in perspective here. At SGMSurvivors.com, we repeatedly read accounts wherein the victims in abuse cases were counseled that they played a part in the abuse by their sin nature. Muslims actually seem to be treating the women better in this regard: “she shares 30 percent or 40 percent of the fault.” In reading survivor stories, church leaders seemed to deal with the sin (crime) of the abuse equally if not less than the so-called “sin” of the victim. What, you may ask, was the sin of the victim? The sin was an unforgiving or bitter heart. Yes, the sin of not forgiving one’s perpetrator was paramount to SGM church leaders. It appears that perhaps women who convert to Islam may fare better when considering cases of domestic violence or abuse – not that I’m endorsing any such conversion – – – just sayin’.
In its statement, the Brotherhood said that wives should not have the right to file legal complaints against their husbands for rape, and husbands should not be subject to the punishments meted out for the rape of a stranger.
Well, of course not. Because we all know that churches handle things better than civil authorities. Pardon the sarcasm. This is the standard modus operandi in many spiritually abusive churches – to keep things under wraps at the church and avoid involvement with civil authorities. The justification is that civil authorities don’t understand God and His Word, and consequently, the hierarchical structure that men are supposed to have over women, so they would naturally side with women.
The statement appeared in many ways to reflect the Brotherhood’s longstanding doctrine, still discussed in classes like Mr. Abu Salama’s and in the group’s women’s forums. Feminists said its statement also may reflect the views of most women in Egypt’s conservative, traditionalist culture.
Doctrine based on whose interpretation? Are men or women interpreting the doctrine? I know who is interpreting the doctrine in Christian Patriarchal circles. It surely is not women. I found the Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy from the Vision Forum website. Doug Phillips is a well-known proponent of Christian Patriarchy. Notice how the word “Biblical” precedes Patriarchy in the title. A more appropriate title would be: “Tenets of Doug Phillip’s Biblical Interpretation of Patriarchy”. Here are a couple of ideas from the Tenants of Biblical Patriarchy so you can get the flavor:
A God-honoring society will likewise prefer male leadership in civil and other spheres as an application of and support for God’s order in the formative institutions of family and church.(1 Tim. 3:5)
14. While unmarried women may have more flexibility in applying the principle that women were created for a domestic calling, it is not the ordinary and fitting role of women to work alongside men as their functional equals in public spheres of dominion (industry, commerce, civil government, the military, etc.). The exceptional circumstance (singleness) ought not redefine the ordinary, God-ordained social roles of men and women as created. (Gen. 2:18ff.; Josh. 1:14; Jdg. 4; Acts 16:14)
Going back to the New York Times article on the Muslim Brotherhood statement:
“They do not believe that when domestic violence is present, the women should resort to the justice system or the legal process,” said Ghada Shahbandar of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights. “It should be kept at home and under the protection of the family — that is their claim. And there is no such thing as marital rape because a husband is entitled to have sex with his wife any time that he wants.”
Christian Patriarch Douglas Wilson’s quote from his book, Fidelity: What It Means To Be a One-Woman Man, created quite a firestorm a few months ago :
A final aspect of rape that should be briefly mentioned is perhaps closer to home. Because we have forgotten the biblical concepts of true authority and submission, or more accurately, have rebelled against them, we have created a climate in which caricatures of authority and submission intrude upon our lives with violence.
When we quarrel with the way the world is, we find that the world has ways of getting back at us. In other words, however we try, the sexual act cannot be made into an egalitarian pleasuring party. A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts.
Sex entitlement from husbands reminded me of this account I read a while back on SGMSurvivors.com blog. Long-time SGMSurvivors.com readers know that C.J. Mahaney expected his wife, Carolyn to “serve” him and I’m not talking about “serving” him a glass of Southern icy cold sweet tea:
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More from the New York Times article:
In his seminar for prospective Islamist marriage counselors, Mr. Abu Salama justified the group’s approach to marriage by explaining that Islam also required husbands to be compassionate, just as it required women to be obedient.
This reminds me about the verse that husbands are supposed to love their wives as Christ loves the church. Ok.
But Mr. Abu Salam also argued that husbands should keep their wives under tight control. “It’s the nature of the weak to overstep the required framework if she is given the space and the freedom, like children,” he said in the seminar. Most of the women nodded in agreement.
But yes, time and again we see where pastors are told to have “heads of households” meetings to discuss keeping wives in order – especially in the “gossip” department which really meant “no talk”.
There was another incident I recall regarding husbands being in control of their wives. I asked the pastor why a certain family had left the church. He mentioned something about the wife not being happy there and then also said something derogatory about the husband as being “weak”. The implication by my pastor was that the husband should have stepped up to the plate as spiritual head and told her “no” regarding leaving the church. Did his conclusion consider that the wife should have a voice in the matter? Or perhaps the husband maybe agreed with the wife? Do you see what kind of environment this is? In Patriarchy, women are not treated as valuable. Women should not be able to sway or influence her husband. Men should wear the spiritual pants. Where do women fit in these families? Well, they probably feel like they are the same level in hierarchy as her children.
One more incident just came to mind. My husband and I went to a seminar put on by Mike and Debi Pearl who also support Christian Patriarchy. I remember seeing a cassette tape (yes, it was quite a few years ago) that was clearly marked “For Men Only!” I remember hearing Mike talk about it at the conference and he warned the women that they were absolutely not to listen to this cassette. My husband bought it and brought it home. I didn’t listen to it for years. One time I saw it on a shelf. Why did Michael Pearl not want women to listen this tape? What was on that tape that I shouldn’t listen to? What could there be in that tape that wasn’t already discussed in the Bible? Why was this tape so special that Mike had to exercise his Patriarchal authority over all women and tell them to not listen to it? This annoyed me. It really annoyed me. I behaved like Eve. I picked it. And I ate it. Funny, thing, I don’t remember a thing from that tape now. It obviously was no big deal, but the idea that I allowed this man, who had no authority over me, tell me what I could not do that really irritated me. Who was he to me? Now I understand. He was a Patriarch. And in Patriarchy, the men rule not only over their wives, but over women in general. Women are expected to serve and obey all men.
All women are born that they may acknowledge themselves as inferior to the male.