Jacqui Grey and I attended the Christians for Biblical Equality conference in Melbourne last weekend. An excellent paper was presented by Denise Cooper, who answered to the question, “Are Women More Prone to Error?” The Paper responds to the assertion of conservative exegetes of 1 Tim 2.12 that men are to be in authority because women are more prone to be deceived since.
Leaving aside the interpretation of this passage for another time, one would think that we are well beyond any suggestion that women are more gullible or open to deception then men. Stupidity, after all, is not a product of gender. Yet despite the fact that we live in the twenty first century, it seems there are still prominent Christian leaders arguing for male headship on the basis of the supposed female tendency to deception. Denise cited the following quote taken from Mark Driscoll’s truly horrible book, On Church Leadership (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2008), 45.
- Without blushing, Paul is simply stating that when it comes to leading in the church, women are unfit because they are more gullible and easier to deceive than men. While many irate women have disagreed with his assessment through the years, it does appear from this that such women who fail to trust his instruction and follow his teaching are much like their mother Eve and are well-intended but ill-informed. . . Before you get all emotional like a woman in hearing this, please consider the content of the women’s magazines at your local grocery store that encourages liberated women in our day to watch porno with their boyfriends, master oral sex for men who have no intention of marrying them, pay for their own dates in the name of equality, spend an average of three-fourths of their childbearing years having sex but trying not to get pregnant, and abort 1/3 of all babies – and ask yourself if it doesn’t look like the Serpent is still trolling the garden and that the daughters of Eve aren’t gullible in pronouncing progress, liberation, and equality
This nonsense certainly succeeds in making me irate and emotional. Apart from the fact that there is simply no empirical evidence that women are less intelligent and more gullible then men, the case made in the paragraph above is absurd on so many levels. Yes womens magazines contain much that is shallow and immoral, but so do the mens magazines sitting alongside. Sure, women read stories about mastering oral sex, but they do so because the society we live in has become increasingly sexualised – a fact that effects both men and women. In respect to childbirth, I can simply note the fact that at my wife and i have spent the bulk of our married life having sex but trying not to get pregnant. And to suggest that abortion has anything to do with a supposed female tendency to deception is simply offensive.
Driscoll sets himself up as a trendy contemporary Christian but while ever this sort of argument is presented in the name of the bible, the church is doomed to irrelevance.