Muslim Brotherhood and Christian Patriarchy: They Look the Same to Me

*     *     *

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

*    *     *

*     *     *

*     *     *

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:

*     *     *

*     *     *

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.

—Calvin

36 comments on “Muslim Brotherhood and Christian Patriarchy: They Look the Same to Me

  1. Julie Anne, thank you for this well researched and well written post. It must have taken you quite a while to put all these quotes together. So as one researcher to another, I am giving you a big pat on the back.

    It reminds me of what I heard a few years ago from an African evangelical woman. She said that in African, the Muslim men, the Christian men and the men who follow animist tribal religions all agree on one thing: the subordination of women. They consciously and happily link arms there, even though the rest of their religious beliefs may be diametrically opposed.
    It’s chilling.

    Like

  2. Whoa… good one here Julie Anne!
    these comments by Augustine, Calvin, and Knox disgust me and these are becoming pervasive throughout the church. The elders of the Reformed church I use to go to ( this was a JMac runned church) told my friend (who was single) that she needed to go out with this certain guy seriously who was attending the church- in fact they continually berated her and asked her why? she would not. Unfortunately, she also believed that since she was single and female she needed to be under the submission of the elders. This guy was creepy and even asked her how many guns she had in her home. She asked me for advise and I told her no way, she had to listen to the church elders on who she had to date- this is ridiculous! and thankfully she also asked her dad. That put that to rest- thank goodness.
    Oh I am so glad I left….:)

    Like

  3. “…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.)…”

    I think I just threw up a little in my mouth. Sexist much? Men are Not superior to women. Women aren’t superior to men. Each gender has their gifts, talents, strengths, and weaknesses. It’s a partnership if you’re a couple, and even if one’s single, there’s no reason to think you’re “beneath” someone or are required to “serve” someone – in the domestic sphere or in the public spheres. Bunch of bull-honky.

    Like

  4. “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.”

    I could swear like a sailor after reading this, & not just because of the quote I posted, but also all the careful research that you did Julie…Sigh and throw up, & rage… This is so maddening. My heart hurts, I long for the day when our Lord sets the record straight… That’s all good-night.

    Like

  5. I DID swear like a sailor reading this 😉 Trust4himonly- Being a single woman within SG was equally weird and suffocating as you describe in JMac’s brand of churches (I’ve never heard that shorthand reference- funny mental picture of McArthur, gangsta style…). Sounds like you have your friend great advice! Hope she took it. One of the most most difficult things being in SG was that my dating life and sexuality was considered free game to comment on and offer advice on. To borrow one of CJ Mahaney’s favorite phrases, they simply don’t “have a category” for single women who are independent and have minds of their own, or women in general for that matter.

    Like

  6. Here is the contrast gender list, according to a Power and Control Belief System, usually a male headship model. This is both cultural and has been incorporated into various church groups that hold to a male headship model.

    Male Female
    Central Peripheral
    Superior Inferior
    Deserving Undeserving/Serving

    A good and a biblical corrective is the Relationship Belief System.

    Central –> Connected
    Superior –> Equal
    Deserving –> Mutual

    Like

  7. When you have any culture that holds to the fact that males are: CENTRAL, SUPERIOR, and DESERVING you generate all kinds of problems–starting with marriage and then trickling down into the rest of society. Women and children become the victims.

    After all, you can only have One Boss. Everything becomes a power struggle from the beginning as to who is the ‘boss’. There can be no room for equality and mutuality. What is lost is being connected. The relationship simply becomes pretty pathetic.

    Like

  8. The following supposed quotations of so called church fathers can be found at http://catholicforum.fisheaters.com/index.php?topic=3427505.0;wap2:

    Clement of Alexandria (150?-215?): “Every woman should be filled with shame by the thought that she is a woman.”

    Tertullian (160?-220?): “Woman is a temple built over a sewer, the gateway to the devil. Woman, you are the devil’s doorway. You led astray one whom the devil would not dare attack directly. It was your fault that the Son of God had to die; you should always go in mourning and rags.”

    Ambrose (339-97): “Adam was deceived by Eve, not Eve by Adam… it is right that he whom that woman induced to sin should assume the role of guide lest he fall again through feminine instability.”

    Pope Gregory I (540-604): “Woman is slow in understanding and her unstable and naive mind renders her by way of natural weakness to the necessity of a strong hand in her husband. Her ‘use’ is two fold; [carnal] sex and motherhood.”

    Thomas Aquinas (1225-74): “[Woman] was made only to assist with procreation.”

    Whether or not these quotes are accurate, and I have made no effort to confirm one way or the other, what is truly disturbing is how the commentators on this web page justify them. Actually, I hope that the quotes, which are attributed to an atheist website, are not accurate. Either way, how can the sentiments they express possibly be justified?

    Like

  9. For over 30 years I’ve been listening to right-wing Christians blame feminists for so many of the world’s problems. Yes, there are certainly some women who are over the top. But when you look at the basic message of equal rights for voting, work salaries, etc, that is not the problem. Is it any wonder women are angry when reading quotes like the above?

    What’s bizarre to me is that I did drink this Kool-Aid. I remember that Mike Pearl incident and although I thought it was strange that he had a tape “For Men Only,” I did not question “should I obey him” – – – it was expected. And when my pastor said “weak men” regarding the family who left – my anger was towards that man who “allowed” his wife to have a voice in their family. Little did I know that months later, I would be the one saying, “I’m outta here.” to a shocked husband. I can’t believe I lived in this environment.

    And BTW, Gary, I only selected a few of the quotes from my source. I did find the quotes on other sites. If you find the same quotes on another site, does it mean they are accurate? I do not know, but there they are and they are disgusting.

    Like

  10. I am curious about something. Husbands love your wives as Christ loves the Church.

    It would be interesting to see Jesus treat the BRIDE OF CHRIST as the Husbands actually treat their wives. After all, ALL OF MANKIND is the Bride of Christ. Men are females in that sense. A bride is a woman, am I right? Well, maybe Seth might disagree with that…just kidding Seth.

    For all the men out there who treat the women with such contempt, remember, Christ does not treat women in such manner, as all of mankind is the bride, a woman.

    Jesus didn’t even treat the woman at the well with such contempt. Or the prostitute, or the one caught in adultery. She never even asked for her sins to be forgiven, but they were, without her asking. Jesus could have agreed with the others, and said to them, STONE HER.

    Jesus was without sin, and therefore, he could have stoned her, by the law of Moses.

    Men, wake up, and swallow your pride, knowing that there are women out there that are more intelligent than you are, more closer to God than you are, more spiritual than you are, filled with the Holy Spirit more than you are. Men have too much pride, and pride is a sin that clouds judgment.

    Like

  11. Quick question, my ex-pastor shared at one point he was being mentored by John MacArthur, eventually he left the church because God had a “new call on his life” (whatever) to write a book & do marriage seminars. Has anyone ever heard of Love & Respect? I am so freakin confused, trying to come to grips with my past church experiences. It was a non-denominational church, but it sure is starting to smell like reformed, but I am unsure.
    And a ? trust for him only: Are you referring to: Grace to You with John MacArthur when you wrote? JMac runned church

    I might be slow getting back my daughter’s water broke late last night, she hasn’t left for hospital yet, so I am on call to babysit. I would appreciate prayer for her, if she doesn’t go into labor within 24 hrs, they will do a C-section which is ok, but difficult because bedrooms & bathrooms are on 2nd floor.

    I am posting under a different name, because for some weird reason I feel scared to even ask this question, hopefully one day I can be brave! Thank-you all, it has been so helpful to read others stories.

    Like

  12. As to accuracy of quotes, I suggest that some modicum of caution is merited unless and until one has actually seen the quoted language in the published works of the quoted speaker or author. There is a lot of stuff floating around out there, and not just on the Internet, that may or may not be accurate. For example, in both sermon and video presentation I have heard the notion, supposedly originating with 18th century professor Alexander Tytler, to the effect that civilizations cycle from bondage, to faith, to courage, to liberty, to abundance, to selfishness, to apathy, to dependency, and back to bondage. However insightful this notion of a cycle of history may be, if the article at http://www.lorencollins.net/tytler.html has merit, nobody will be able to tell us where, in the published works of Alexander Tytler, the idea is expressed by him. I’m not saying we shouldn’t use information just because we found it on the Internet. Rather, I say consider the sources, put the information out there, and if somebody successfully challenges it, so much the better for our having been brought closer to the truth. “. . . [T]est everything; hold fast what is good.” 1Thess. 5:21 (ESV).

    And, lest it be thought that this post isn’t particularly relevant to the topic at hand, I submit that the idea of a cycle of history, whatever its origin, has application to our interpersonal and spiritual journeys, both corporately and individually. For example, to the extent that a congregation or individual allows themselves to become dependent, in whatever way, on a dominating, controlling pastor, to that same extent, the congregation or individual will find themselves in bondage; albeit, one may hope, a bondage leading, even compelling, to renewed faith (as in obedient trust) in Jesus.

    Like

  13. Welcome scared: Are you saying your ex-pastor is the author of Love and Respect? I am familiar with it.

    You are correct, JMac is John MacArthur of Grace to You/Grace Community Church.

    Prayers being said for your daughter. Walking up and down those stairs might help baby to settle into a good position for labor/birthing (I’m mom of 7 and sometimes doula). Praying that labor progresses nicely for her.

    No worries about using a pseudonym. A lot of people are scared. I’m glad to know the stories have helped.

    Like

  14. Yes Julie,

    My pastor was Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. I have posted here before under my real name, but need to be scared because of my past history with him. Can you help me to understand what he is? I know what I experienced by him: shamed into submission through his sermons, told more than once “that I needed to submit myself to those who were in authority over me.” Got raked over the coal for using an anti-depressant and not trusting in the sufficiency of the scriptures, I could go on and on, but I think you get my drift.

    I suppose I am slowly coming out of denial, but still struggling to call it abuse. Someone else used the term “spiritual malpractice”

    I am comfortable in saying that is what happened for sure.

    Holy macaroni you have seven? God’s perfect number! Thank-You for your prayers for my girl.

    Like

  15. Scared: I haven’t done research on him to know, but from what you shared above, I would be concerned. Most of us have gone through a process of trying to understand what we went through before we got to the point of labeling it “abuse.” There is no race to figure things out – it happens over time. Removing yourself from that environment is helpful. Keep reading, keep learning. Keep commenting and let others share their experiences with you. I have learned so much from others as I read their stories.

    Please let me know how things go with your daughter. Exciting time for you, I’m sure!

    Like

  16. Thank-You Julie for your good words: “no hurry to figure it out”
    I have been out of it for more than 10 years, but I carry so much damage, it almost destroyed my love for Jesus. Took me about six years of being pewless before I could open my heart again to Him. Love His patience & His tender mercy. He knows what happened.

    Like

  17. Scared – You are not alone. So many have stories similar to yours. It’s like a detoxing process or peeling off layer after layer like an onion. I’m still learning. And sometimes I’m shocked at what I’ve just discovered – after studying this for so long now.

    Like

  18. Oh Scared i know how you feel…….I am in the same place in church as you are. I do not think I can ever trust in a church again. I use to feel guilty about it, but the Holy Spirit has given me such peace. In fact, funny thing is that I have more of a desire to be more like Christ then I did while I was in church- go figure. So I know that I am not going against His will or that desire would not be there. Just your comment of loving Him and His character is very encouraging.

    Like

  19. Julie Anne,

    You’ve already made the obvious comparisons between Patrirchal Islam and Patriarchal Christianity. Very good article.

    I just finished reading a BBC news article about a Swiss woman who was gang-raped in central India. (Another Patriarchal culture) Bride-burning also still thrives there. http://www.examiner.com/article/bride-burning-india-pakistan-and-bangladesh-is-acceptable-murder Most of us in western cultures view this with abject horror. So, why have so many Christians fallen for the same paradigms? Followed to its logical conclusions it has potential to produce horrendous abuse. Must we erase from the Bible what Jesus says are the greatest commandments in order to twist the scriptures to fit such views?

    Like

  20. I remember a time when I was confused about muslim countries and how they treated women. As a submissive-minded woman, I thought they actually practiced biblical roles better than Christians did! Yet, I could see the oppression they lived under. I thought the problem is un-loving men (that is a problem too) not obedient women, but in truth its the gender system that is wrong. I see now I was suffereing from congnitive dissonance, and I’m definetely not confused anymore.

    About the Mahaney quote, that is terrible. Now, I understand a recent comment I received on my blog under a post I wrote about 1 cor 7:3-6. I really thought Complementarians followed that Scripture, but I guess it gets relegated to the back seat after Eph 5:22.

    Like

  21. @kbonikowsky – very, very few people with ultra-conservative values even know what “cognitive dissonance” is, let alone realize they suffer from it and grow past it to understand reality. You should be congratulated!

    Like

  22. Julie said : Please let me know how things go with your daughter. Exciting time for you, I’m sure!

    My (2nd) grand baby girl was born at 4:30 am. All is well with mama & baby. She is a red head born on St. Patti’s day! Joy! Thrilled!

    Like

  23. WooHOOO – the world obviously needs more redheads!!! Funny thing, I was labor coach for a friend whose baby was also born on St. Patty’s day AND a redhead (dad was in the military on deployment overseas at the time of birth). That baby is now 21 yrs old.

    Congratulations to your family!

    Like

  24. Good article, Julie Anne. I’m reminded of a line from an old TV commercial in my home country: “No, I can’t see the difference. Can you see the difference?” And the quotes you cited are just sickening.

    Congratulations, Scared! So wonderful to hear that your daughter and granddaughter are OK. Thanks be to God.

    And Happy St. Pat’s Day! (It’s not even on the radar here.)

    Like

  25. Thank-You both! My heart is exploding with joy, I just met her… My youngest (24) b-day is today too. It is sweet that both I and my oldest daughter gave birth to babies on the same day…I need to check into Saint Patrick, lol. Bless the Lord, O my soul.

    Like

  26. Yes, a name change would be appropriate, something along the lines of thrilled!

    I am only scared when it comes to the guys with the bully pulpit ( :

    Thank-You Julie & trust4himonly, there really is nothing that comes close to the glory of holding a newborn. Thank-You Lord.

    Like

  27. But yet the most strident critics of radical Islam come from the hardline Patriarchal wing of Evangelicalism. The irony!

    Like

  28. I was in a ‘church’ for 15 years which insisted that women were resopnsible for everything bad that happened in the family. Children rebellious? The wife is to blame. Husband’s business not doing well? It’s her fault. My son was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, but not before my husband went to discuss his situation with one of our elders. This man by the way had been one of my high school teachers. He had had a history of teaching teenagers, and had five sons of his own, the youngest with some kind of mental disability which left him mentally far younger than his actual age. They did not know what or why. This man told my husband that our son had the worst kind of emotional dysfunction that he had ever seen (an outright lie), and he had been a youth pastor for a couple of decades. He then told my husband that it was because I didn’t love him enough. Now ironically, Aspergers’ used to be called (in the fifties) ‘refrigerator mother syndrome’. When we finally got our brains together and had him diagnosed, my husband went and told this elder who replied with a three word sentence and then got on with the job of ‘shepherding’ his flock. That three word sentence was ‘it is hard’. One wonders whether his wife was made to feel responsible for her son’s disabilities. I think not. Elder’s families were given a special dispensation.

    You will understand why we left this place about a year later. Women were often the cause of people leaving that church apparently. In fact, I went to find one of my friends whom I had not seen for a few months and was accused by her husband of consorting with the enemy. Apparently she was a ‘bad influence’ and I, by association was now also, a bad influence. Her husband told my husband that I had phoned her up to talk about why she wasn’t at church and when my husband told her husband to pull his head in, he went to one of the church elders and told them that my husband was now ‘under the influence’ of both his wife and the other ‘bad influence’. If anyone wonders how witch hunts are started, this situation would be a good example.

    If it weren’t so pathetic, it would have been hilarious. Grown men running around phoning each other up and discussing issues which aren’t even issues, but innuendo and insinuation. My friend had been told to stay at home for a couple of months until she could get her head around the fact that she had to ‘obey’ the elders who also controlled her husband. They cottoned on to the fact that he was in fact weak and easily persuaded because, guess what, they could bully and coerce him. The fact that his wife was not able to be bullied and coerced (she had come from an abusive background so was well versed in these tactics and had developed a pretty strong psychological core) made her a roadblock which had to be removed.

    It was repulsive, unjustified, completely abhominable and based on nothing at all except the arbitrary fantasies of a group of power drunk misogynists.

    In the end, my friend left the church, divorced her husband, remarried some years later and has raised her three kids with only a few visits to her husband’s hometown every year by plane. You have to wonder how it is that these men ever manage to face their own kids knowing that they basically abandoned their wives on the whims of their handlers. This particular ‘church’ has a history of creating divorces and then magically finding suitable alternative wives who then marry these men in quickie courtships, supervised by the elders of course.

    Like

Thanks for participating in the SSB community. Please be sure to leave a name/pseudonym (not "Anonymous"). Thx :)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s