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Grudem recants everything he has said about women

October 17, 2013

Update: Grudem recants everything he has said about women  well almost everything … This makes me cry to think of how so many of us lived without these freedoms and now so easily, poof, all that reasoning is gone. We can now have all of this. A little late for some of us. 

Believe it or not, he really has. In his new book, Poverty of Nations, coauthored by Barry Asmus, Grudem takes a strong position on equality for women. First he lists the freedoms of men,

1. Freedom to own property
2. Freedom to buy and sell
3. Freedom to travel and transport goods anywhere within the nation
[freedoms 4 and 5 are not available in google books.]
6. Freedom to start businesses
7. Freedom from excessive government regulation
8. Freedom from demands for bribes
9. Freedom for a person to work in any job.
10. Freedom for workers to be rewarded for their work
11. Freedom for employers to hire and fire
12.  Freedom for employers to hire and fire employees based on merit
13. Freedom to utilize energy resources
14. Freedom to change and modernize
15. Freedom to access useful knowledge, freedom of information

Then he writes, or Asmus writes,

If a nation truly wants to move from poverty towards greater prosperity, it must ensure that all of the freedoms that we have discussed up to this point in this chapter are available to women as well as to men. page 292

Women must have the above mentioned freedoms available to them as well as to men. But in the past, no women had any freedoms at all that were not given to her by her husband. She only had the freedoms accorded under his leadership. Now a woman has all these freedoms. As someone who lived without most of these freedoms, it is very emotional for me to read this. Of course, I gave up complementation restrictions some time ago, but nonetheless, now complementation women have the freedom to own businesses, to do all that a business entails, to make decisions, to change and modernize, to have access to any education or information they want.

In the past, Grudem summarized complementarian practice as “boys and girls both educated, but different preferences, abilities, and sense of calling respected.” What different abilities?? Oh brother! Grudem also had a list of about 80 things that women could or could not do, all of them things that men could do. Grudem also said that a women as a boss had to nurture men in leadership according to their gender. Women as boss was a little touchy because this emasculated men, so he seemed to say in RBMW, page 43,

The God-given sense of responsibility for leadership in a mature man will not generally allow him to flourish under personal, directive leadership of a female superior.

But here is what Grudem and Asmus write in Poverty of Nations,

Screen Shot 2013-10-17 at 7.50.36 PM

13 Comments leave one →
  1. October 18, 2013 1:22 pm

    He just now calls for women to pursue these activities? He’s a little behind the times if Judges 4:4 and Acts 16:14 are any indication.

    But if he really wants to promote biblical femininity, he should adopt these practices:

  2. Sue permalink
    October 18, 2013 3:16 pm

    I heard that he wrote the politics book because he doesn’t want his ministerial legacy to be that his ministry was all about the subordination of women. It seems like this book may be part of that legacy concern as well.

    He has been in the forefront of books, sermons, podcasts, seminars–you name it–that promote female subordination. If he has a book out there that sounds different than what he has been saying about women, we should not be left to wonder about whether he is recanting, contradicting or talking about a completely different situation. He has had tremendous impact on countless Christian women by the teachings about them that he has promoted. He owes an explanation to the Christian world, and he should be held accountable to explain himself. He should be interviewed, he should be asked straight questions, and he should be held accountable to give straight answers.

    Considering the harm he has worked hard to do, he should not be permitted to graciously back away from what he has taught. He needs to be honest and straight-forward about where he has been and where he is going.

  3. October 18, 2013 3:18 pm

    Good points, Sue. I beg to differ on one though. It would be an extremely gracious way to back off his teachings if he did exactly what you suggest: “be honest and straight-forward about where he has been and where he is going.” Now that would be a model of graciousness.

  4. October 19, 2013 6:16 pm

    Suzanne, I believe Wayne Grudem — because he’s writing with Barry Asmus — has come across the important works of women on economics, on poverty on a global scale influenced by internationalism. In particular, he (and his co-author) quote much from Dambisa Moyo and her very compelling book Dead Aid. (By the way, Dambisa Moyo is going to be on my campus in the spring, and I hope to blog some about her research and teachings then. Inderpal Grewal, Professor of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, at Yale had lunch with a few of us on our campus yesterday and talked a good bit not only about Dambisa Moyo’s thesis of “dead aid” [which Wayne Grudem rightly recognizes] but also her reconfiguration of the globe in terms of being transnational.)

    At any rate, I’m not sure Wayne Grudem has really changed much, even in his or by his newest book. On page 292, he writes:

    This means that women should have the same opportunities as men to hold jobs, to be educated, to be trained for careers, to inherit, and to own property or businesses.

    However, we must emphasize the important role of mothers in raising and nurturing children. We understand this to be a God-given responsibility, one we hope many women will choose to pursue full time while they have children at home and are able to do so.

  5. October 20, 2013 11:45 am

    Grudem – like to many others – seem to forget the teaching of the ‘authority, leadership’ definition they have dreamed up for themselves. In Muslim countries the government enables them to have this attitude. Grudem and pals don’t have that luxury here, and have blamed culture, feminists, and everyone else under the sun because they can’t have it too. “Biblically’ of course. They know they will be called sexist – among other labels, and have dreamed up this politically correct version called the complementarian version instead. You know we are all equal BUT (insert your favorite) stuff.

    If women in those Muslim countries are NOT illiterate it is because the males in their lifes have allowed this to be. Most countries don’t truly ‘allow’ for such an attitude to keep girls ignorant in that way, nor do they believe in enabling it. If it was allowed here? Illiteracy would be present here as well.

    He seems to forget WHOM fought for those freedoms he lists. It certainly wasn’t the ‘biblical’ men of the day that also loved to blast their authority and leadership traits! It was the women that did the hard work, and pushed HARD – like they were attacked, called names, demeaned, etc.

    Its quite amazing that he finally woke up a little to see the harm that is caused to ‘families’ in general when the power perch attitude is shown in its full glory. His “Chrisitan” Flavor wouldn’t be all that different.

    Women ‘bosses’ only emasculate certain men – those with the power perch attitude. Most of the time it would have NOTHING to do with what she did to him, but all because she is a ‘she’. There are plenty of examples of women in leadership – with men flourishing as he puts it – and he refuses to see it.

    Women are people – not just ‘she’ for goodness sakes. They differ as much as men do. They can be a tyrant just as much as a man can be in employment – per his example. They can be experts in their fields of knowledge – if allowed to study and thrive in the same manner as a man.

    Women that work do NOT ‘most of the time’ not love, care and nourish their children as much as the non workers. When you look at men – those that are ‘required’ to work? Notice some are good parents, and others are not. What’s up with that? (crickets) Yes, she is a person – not just a SHE. Yes, just like he is more than just ‘he’.

    Will wonders ever ease!

  6. Victorious permalink
    October 21, 2013 3:33 pm

    This man needs serious help…he obviously has a serious problem. Scripture says what’s in our hearts comes out of our mouths and Wayne has a problem with strong, intelligent women. His efforts to marginalize women picking and choosing scripture that seem to support his agenda, but ignores those that clearly contradict his agenda. He apparently has learned this anti-female behavior as a means of protecting his obviously fragile male ego.

  7. October 21, 2013 4:54 pm

    Thanks for the various comments. I do want to ask that you please focus your criticism of Dr. Grudem’s theology and hermeneutics on his ideas and not his person. We can psychologize all day, but if that only descends into name calling and ad hominem arguments, then this only darkens our understanding.

    Somebody who goes by NorrinRadd left the following comment at the following site:

    I posted a brief comment, but it was promptly deleted. Apparently they are interested only in dry, polite comments, not ones that employ such rib-tickling wit as “brain droppings” and “83 feces” nailed to the cyber-door.

    I’m not sure if any of us here at BLT saw this comment that NorrinRadd refers to, but I do want this commenter to know that we don’t routinely delete comments like this. If any of us objects to something someone says in comments at BLT, then we will get in touch with the commenter first to discuss in private the issue. I’m sorry if that didn’t happen. I really don’t know. I don’t find the comment in spam or in the trash (although much automatically gets spammed). I’d enourage NorrinRadd to repost the comment, if it’s humor that is the goal. Please focus the humor — not at the person of Dr. Grudem — but rather at his sexist ideas.

    Sexism is a profoundly difficult topic to unravel. Conversation can help. We believe this or else we wouldn’t try to encourage it here.

    J. K. Gayle

  8. October 21, 2013 4:56 pm

    Well said, JKG.

  9. Suzanne McCarthy permalink*
    October 21, 2013 5:20 pm

    I read that comment and laughed. It seemed to be focused on Grudem’s ideas not his person. I did not delete it and don’t know what happened to it. I do think we need to realize that Grudem articulates what most complementarians believe, he is not unique, but nonetheless has been dedicated for much of his life to teaching women to be subordinate in one way or another. It is his most recognized legacy.

  10. Norrin Radd permalink
    November 16, 2018 3:11 am

    😀 I just happened to wander back here five years later. That is exactly the sort of thing I’m wont to post. Unfortunately I no longer recall the exchange in which it occurred.

    The only reason I stumbled back here was that, because of an item that popped up in a discussion on my Facebook Newsfeed, I went looking for Grudem’s (in)famous 83 Rules. The original list seems to have vanished from the ‘net. The most complete copy I’ve been able to find — and it is not at all complete — is at The Wartburg Wall. This page came up among the other Google hits.


  1. Mutual Submission is not a Myth
  2. Ms. Rev. Grudem | BLT
  3. “ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ” in “Aristotle,” “Moses,” and Paul | BLT

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