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This blog post is going to require some active participation. The other day, some blogger friends and I were e-mailing back and forth on the topic of Patriarchy. I jokingly said I wondered if there was a Patriarchal version of the Bible that we weren’t aware of. It must exist – – well, we know it does exist in at least some people’s minds.
So, as I was writing this blog article, I reached out to some other friends who shall remain nameless (for obvious reasons) to discuss this article. We were mulling over that Patriarchal Bible translation, trying to come up with the perfect translation title. My idea was Men’s Patriarchal Version (MPV) and my friends came up with some others, too. I thought it would be cool to vote on the best sounding Patriarchal translation so that from here on out, whenever we quote certain self-proclaimed Patriarchs, we can be sure to identify that they use their own Patriarchal Bible translation.
Would you mind helping us out by voting for the best sounding Patriarchal Bible translation name? This is all in good fun. I want you to know that in some Patriarchal families, the men don’t allow their wives to vote (true story). But here, ladies, you get to vote. Your vote counts and I’ll even let you vote for your kids, too, and any future kids you might have (being sympathetic to any full-quiver mamas in the audience, see-ins how I am a quasi full-quiver mama if you bend some rules here and there).
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Spiritual abusers often twist scripture to abuse. So, A Cry for Justice, The Wartburg Watch, and I Will Stand, all which deal with abusive in churches, are participating in this “syncrhoblog” in an effort to bring light to spiritual abuse and Patriarchy.
Jeff Crippen from A Cry for Justice blog wrote up a great description for us:
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The term “patriarch” is a valid, historic word with a simple, non-philosophical meaning. A patriarch is a “first father” and it refers to the “fathers” or founders of some movement, institution, or political entity. George Washington was a “founding father” of the U.S.A. and thus, a patriarch. In this sense, “patriarch” can be a broad term that theoretically could include a woman who was one of the founders of something.
But when we use the word “patriarch” and add various suffixes to it, the thing morphs into something else entirely. Patriarchal, patriarchy, patriarchalism, and so on. These words describe a society of some kind (a family, a nation, a local church, etc) in which father not only knows best, but is best. And, more properly, where men are best. in contrast to women. Patriarchy in a family, for instance, exalts the husband to a innately (by virtue of being male) superior status above his wife (by virtue of her being female). In a patriarchal society then, men are seen as entitled to power and control over women. It is the man, the husband, the father whose mission in life truly matters to God, and therefore the woman, the wife, the mother, the children exist to further that mission. Their personhood, in other words, does not exist independently, nor even symbiotically, but rather as an “attachment” to the main program.
This is all in contrast to the biblical teaching that both men and women are created in the image of God. Neither is it an accurate application of the scripture’s doctrine of a husband being the head of his wife which, in contrast, emphasizes that headship as working itself out in loving, sacrificial service apart from a lording it over. Patriarchy denies the reality of the Apostle Paul’s words:
Gal 3:28-29 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (29) And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
This text is distorted frequently of course. There ARE differences between men and women! But Paul reminds us here that there is no “—archy” of any kind in Christ. There is no “power over.” In fact, other scriptures tell us that the “archy-ites” (the ones who are first now) will be last in the kingdom. Men and women, husbands and wives, parents and children, all who are truly in Christ are full heirs of every blessing in the heavenly places, and in the new creation which is on its way. ~Jeff Crippen
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I’d like to give you a few glimpses of how certain Patriarchal men think about their roles, showing the diminished role of their wives in a Patriarchal home. I don’t know if anyone has bothered to ask wives what they think of these rules. Maybe the wives’ opinion don’t matter. Below is an excerpt from an article written by Doug Wilson who endorses Patriarchy. The article is entitled, “Not Where She Should Be.” (:::::JA momentarily shivered typing those words:::::)
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The first time the dishes are not done, he must sit down with his wife immediately, and gently remind her that this is something which has to be done. At no time may he lose his temper, badger her, call her names, etc. He must constantly remember and confess that she is not the problem, he is. By bringing this gently to her attention, he is not to be primarily pointing to her need to repent; rather, he is exhibiting the fruit of his repentance.
He does this, without rancour and without an accusative spirit, until she complies or rebels. If she complies, he must move up one step, now requiring that another of her duties be done. If she rebels, he must call the elders of the church and ask them for a pastoral visit. When the government of the home has failed to such an extent, and a godly and consistent attempt by the husband to restore the situation has broken down, then the involvement of the elders is fully appropriate.
(Doug Wilson, Not Where She Should Be)
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Patriarchy extends beyond the marriage and into the whole family. Even younger brothers are elevated and their sisters (including older sisters) are taught to revere them, setting the framework for the young boys’ minds and what they should expect for the next patriarchal generation in which they will rule.
The Botkin sisters, Anna Sophia and Elizabeth are daughters in a very public Patriarchal family. They are single, still under their father’s roof, and are 30 and 28 years old. They spoke at a father/daughter retreat in 2007. Their father raised them to be a showcase for Patriarchy, they have their own blog, speak at conferences/retreats, and write books on how they serve their father/men. The retreat reportedly came at a cost of nearly $500 per father/daughter. On stage, the sisters taught about the role of daughters in a family:
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They should teach their younger sisters in the Titus 2 spirit and should honor and defer to their brothers—older and younger—in recognition that even young boys need to be treated as wise leaders by their older sisters in order to gain the confidence to be leaders of their future families. They should wear feminine clothes to prove to their fathers that they are virtuous women worthy of protection. They should not learn career skills as emergency “backups” to support themselves, as “learning to ‘survive’ can teach girls attitudes of independence, hardness.” They should understand that singleness is a very rare calling from God, and so they must prepare to marry and conduct war on “the home front”: in other words, they must understand there is no opting out of this revolution without turning their backs on the faith. But most of all, the Botkins explain, a virtuous daughter should “turn her heart to her father” in the spirit of Malachi 4:6: “And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” ( Kathryn Joyce from Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement.)
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Ok, with Jeff’s defiscription (definition/description combined) above and the examples shown of Patriarchy within a marriage and a family, can you think of other verses a Patriarch might twist in order to elevate and/or abuse his self-appointed authority?
1 Peter 3:6 – like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord.You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
This verse could be twisted to insist that wives are to always call their husbands names like “lord, “sir,” which elevate them to a position over them.
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Special thanks to Tori of Designs by Tori who graciously allowed us to use her compelling “Smash Patriarchy” design for these articles. Please check out Tori’s t-shirts, car magnets, buttons, etc.