A blog for Christian men "going their own way."

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Headship Canard

Some of my readers are already discussing something that I wanted to ignore, then address, then ignore, then (yes) address again. What is it? The Headship Canard. Here is basically the thinking behind it: Whenever women do anything wrong or when relationships between the sexes go sour, it's because men supposedly did not exercise the "headship" or "biblical leadership" that God demands of them. There's not much difference between this line of thinking and feminists blaming men for the behavior of women (think "power differentials" and "patriarchy hurts men, too").

The Headship Canard recently reared its beaked head at Boundless, where Motte Brown made reference to Doug Wilson's beliefs on the matter. Adam aka "Puritan Calvinist" alleges that Wilson's views on headship stem from Federal Vision Theology (a belief system which is a controversial approach to Reformed Theology). However, there are others who have expressed similar sentiments about men being responsible for women's actions. Debbie Maken and Adrian Rogers come to my mind as examples.

Let me cut to the chase. The Headship Canard is a rank, theological error that is refuted by the Scriptures. Women are clearly at fault for their own sins. They must take responsibility for their actions and stop constantly blaming men when they get into a pickle. See the following scriptures ...

Genesis 3:16 (see also 1 Timothy 2:14)
Ezekiel 18:19-20
Proverbs 14:1

Enough said.


noseintheair said...

Rock on, Anakin.

wombatty said...

Great post Anakin. I get the impression that this position on headship grows out of a distortion of the Man/Initiator vs. Woman/Responder complimentarity idea. While I have no problem with that paradigm (I quite agree with it), it seems that there is an often unspoken premise, namely that:

While men are flawed initiators/leaders, women are faultless responders/followers.

This is absurd on its face. Women are just as flawed and sinful as men are. Why a woman's 'response module' should be expempt from the influence of sin, while a man's 'intiator module' is shot through with it is never explained by these people (at least I've never seen an explanation).

It never seems to ocurr to such people that the husband might well be leading properly while the wife is responding improperly to his leadership.

In fact, the bible itself assumes that this can happen. Some years ago, my former pastor was teaching on marriage. He cited Genesis 3:16

1To the woman he said, "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."

He pointed out that word 'desire' in the passage is that same word used in Genesis 4:6-7:

Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."

If I remember, he said that this word speaks of a destructive desire to destroy or 'tear down'. While it is crystal clear that this is the meaning in the second passage concerning Cain, I think it is also very clear in the passage concerning Eve. The context of that passage is one of judgment; this desire for her husband is a negative thing - a part of the punishment for her sin. My pastor termed it as the formal institution of 'the war of the sexes'.

Here, right at the beginning, Scripture refutes the whole notion that women are faultless or blameless concerning the inevitible conflict and friction that results while two sinful people work on becoming one flesh.

Amir Larijani said...


I absolutely agree. That has been one of my recent gripes with Boundless: their propensity to blame men for the shortcomings of women.

emarel said...

You can add Gary Smalley to that list of man-blamers.

wombatty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wombatty said...

In regard to my last post, I remember that my pastor said that the phrase 'Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you' specifically refers to a woman's desire to usurp her husband's authority in the home.

Again, this seems very clear from the context of this passage, especially given the following phrase '...and he will rule over you.'

How these people claim, in light of such contrary evidence, that a woman is all but blameless in regard to marital strife is beyond me.

Peter said...

How much longer are Christian men going to put up with all this anti-male garbage? I'm glad to see some men are fighting back. Well done, Anakin, great blog!