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CBMW: A Brave New Movement: Kevin DeYoung and the Eternal Subordination of Women

March 20, 2014

I am going to blog for a few days on the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. You can read up on some details at the Wartburg Watch. I was given a copy of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood in 1992, and have been familiar with the movement on and off from then until now. Here are some of it’s distinctive beliefs, and how they differ from the historic Reformation doctrines about women.

1. CBMW – Women are subordinate in creation, and that is a good thing.

The Reformers held widely varying beliefs about whether women were subordinate in creation, or as a consequence of the fall.

1b. Women will be subordinate in heaven, which is the new creation. CBMW from time to time tentatively proposes this. I have no idea what the Reformers thought about this. I don’t know if they wrote about it.

2. CBMW – The consequence of the fall for women is that they now desire to control their husbands. This is the meaning of the Hebrew word teshuqa, traditionally translated as “desire.” This new meaning was introduced by Susan Foh in 1974. 

In the Reformation, the Geneva Bible said “thy desire shall be subject to thine husband” and this was the basic belief of theologians at that time. I will post about this later with evidence. As you can see having one’s desire subject to someone else is the complete opposite of desiring to control someone. There is nothing traditional about complementarian beliefs about women.

Well, that’s it. That is the core. Women were subordinate in creation and in the new creation they will also be subordinate, and their sin is that they desire to control their husbands or men, in general. This sums up CBMW.

This is important because on April 8 CBMW is hosting a conference and one of the speakers, Kevin DeYoung will speak on the Beauty of Differences in Heaven and on Earth. We all know the difference, the beautiful difference is that men lead and women follow. At least, if women follow, then it is beautiful.

This is not new to CBMW. This is article which appeared in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, 1991, by John Frame  on the topic of gender in heaven. He asks, “Will We Be Male and Female in Heaven?” page 234.  He then affirms,

I am, however, inclined toward an affirmative answer: (1) Those who appear after death in Scripture always appear similar to their earthly forms (1 Samuel 28:11-15; Matthew 17:1-13; 27:52ff.; Revelation 11:1-12). I would assume that the men continued to appear as bearded (if they wore beards on earth), speaking with masculine voices. This fact seems to yield some presumption, at least, that we retain our sexual characteristics after death.

In Biblical Foundations for Manhood and Womanhood, 2002, on page 275, there is an article by Daniel R. Heimbach called, The Unchangeable Difference: Eternally Fixed Sexual Identity for an Age of Plastic Sexuality. He does not actually say that women will be subordinate, but the rest of the book does explain that sexual identity necessarily involves the “element of priority given to the male.” page 84 So that’s eternal. Here is an excerpt from Heimbach’s resumé. 

Professor Heimbach has been teaching Christian Ethics at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary since 1993. Before that he served 1 year as Executive Director of the Defense Readiness Council, 2 years as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower, 2 years on the White House staff under President George H. W. Bush both as Associate Director for Domestic Policy and as Deputy Executive Secretary to the Domestic Policy Council, and 2 years as Political Advisor and Legislative Assistant to Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana.

In JBMW Spring 2004, pages 17 – 28, Mark Walton wrote What We Shall Be: A Look at Gender and the New Creation, Walton concludes,

The only view that could be shown to have genuine biblical support was the sexual view, which maintains that gender distinctions will remain in the new creation.

Next, in JBMW Spring 2006, Relationships and Roles in the New Creation, page 14 – 15, Walton wrote,

First, consider the argument concerning man and woman as originally created. There is virtually universal agreement that man and woman are ontologically equal, equal in essence and worth, because both were created in the image of God. In the ordering of his creation, however, God formed the man first and gave him responsibility and authority as the head of the human race.41 This headship, far from being a result of the fall-feminist and egalitarian claims notwithstanding-is a central feature of the divine created order.42 Because the new creation is, fundamentally, a return to the divine order that prevailed before the fall, it follows that male headship will remain in the new creation.

Walton also expansively explains,

The social fabric of gender-based distinctions of roles was weaved in a pattern that accords with the prelapsarian decree of the Creator. In the new creation, that fabric will not be discarded or destroyed. The stains will be removed and rips mended. The fabric will be cleaned and pressed. But the pattern established in God’s “very good” creation will remain.

Okay, that’s enough. We shall wait and see what Kevin DeYoung has to say about this on April 8. Here is  hint from the conference coordinator, Grant Castleberry on what DeYoung might say,

God holds men accountable for what happens in their marriages, whether they want to be held accountable or not, because it is clear that God expects men to be the leaders of their households. …. Men and women are different, but we both bear the image of God (Gen. 1:27). We represent God’s rule on this earth in our differences. And in the new heavens and new earth we will finally break through the trappings of sin to experience creation as God intended.

I will post next about other arguments by DeYoung about the “desire to control” and how this has introduced me to an exciting new resource on Reformation theology.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. krwordgazer permalink
    March 21, 2014 12:34 pm

    Suzanne, this is a really fantastic overview. I wonder if you’d mind if I contributed to the topic by cross-posting my most recent blog post, which is a response to the “Relationships and Roles in the New Creation” article? It is found here:

  2. Suzanne McCarthy permalink*
    March 21, 2014 12:45 pm

    Please, run with it. I would like the connection. Many of the posts on your own blog would be great also posted here.

  3. March 22, 2014 2:11 pm

    I can’t help but notice the similiarities between complementarian dogma and that of Mormonism.

  4. Anna permalink
    June 11, 2014 7:35 pm

    I can’t help but notice the similiarities between complementarian dogma and that of Sharia

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  1. The Logical Fallacy of “Equal But Subordinate” | BLT

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