If I wanted to be mean, I would have titled this post Where’s Anakin Niceguy When You Need Him??? I mean goodness…he’d be having a stroke right about now if he had read this piece from Deidrea DeWitt, an intern at Boundless.
In fairness to DeWitt, she’s young, and hasn’t had the depth of experience–in both Scripture and fleshing out the implications–to discern some of the more nuanced issues. And what she is writing about is one of those dicey, nuanced issues.
OTOH, the folks at Boundless–yes, that’s you, Lisa and Martha. I love you gals, but sometimes I get puzzled at how some of this gets past the editors. Last year, poor Chelsey Munneke got pounded. This year, I promise to be good. I’ll take it easy on DeWitt.
Now let’s look at how she opens:
Men are called to lead and love such as Christ did (Ephesians 5:22-24). That is a huge responsibility. Leadership involves many elements: humility, foresight, courage and empathy, to name some. But it also involves a key element that isn’t thought about often: protection.
Deidrea, that passage is about husbands and wives in particular, not men and women in general. To use that passage to impose a general expectation of protection from men is quite a stretch.
She then tries to build a case for men being protectors, using Genesis 3. (Note: Mark Driscoll uses the same approach)
Let’s do a quick recap of Genesis 2 and 3: Adam and Eve are told not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but Eve is deceived by the serpent and takes the fruit. If you look at Genesis 3:6, you’ll notice something very interesting. It says, “[Eve] gave some to her husband, who was with her” (ESV, emphasis mine). Adam was there. He wasn’t hanging out on the other side of the Garden like we tend to think he was. He was with Eve the entire time. Could he hear the conversation between them? Was he paying attention? Was he on his guard? Why didn’t he step between the woman and the serpent?
While I certainly agree that Adam was with Eve at the time–although an exegetical blogger, Adam, provides a case that this might not have been the scenario–we must also be honest about the entirety of the passage.
Of the sins that God confronts Adam over, failure to provide protection is not among them. What did God punish Adam for? Eating the fruit!
In fact, along those lines, what would proper leadership/protection had looked like?
(a) Reminding her of God’s command, irrespective of what the serpent is saying;
(b) Calling on God for permission to kill and eat the serpent;
(c) Physically restraining her from taking the fruit;
(d) Threatening her with bodily harm if she eats of the fruit?
My vote would be on (a) and (b). Fact is, even if Adam provides perfect direction, that doesn’t guarantee that she won’t partake of the fruit. If she is inclined to disobey, she’ll find a way to do it.
Adam’s sin was partaking of the fruit. He knew better, and he ate anyway.
Adam failed to protect Eve, and the results were tragic: Sin entered in.
No, Deidrea. Adam and Eve disobeyed God, and the results were tragic: Sin entered in.
Men should look at this passage and realize that man’s role as protector is a serious one. As leaders, women are put into your care. If a woman is called to submit to you, then part of your job as a leader is to protect her.
Unless a woman is either (a) my wife, (b) my daughter, or (c) has placed herself under my protection, then she is not called to submit to me, and–in such a case–my “protector” role is nebulous at best.
As a single, you cannot be led by men unless you place yourself under their protection.
When MrsLarijani was single, she could have gone church-hopping and skipped out on accountability. Had she done this, she may still be single today. She would have been under neither accountability nor protection. (BTW: I’ve seen many singles–both sexes–do exactly this.)
But she didn’t do that: instead, she settled in with a local Body, and accepted the accountability of the families within that Body. They got into her business, she accepted many hours of counsel from the pastor, and she grew substantially.
While she was under their protection, that required not just them acting as protectors, but also her placing herself under their protection.
The same is true when you are married, which you probably will experience within the next couple years: your husband can only be your protector to the extent that you place yourself under his protection.
But DeWitt–in writing her column–does a good job of stoking a larger debate, one in which she seems to be on the right page, even if she hasn’t quite fleshed out all the details. What is that larger issue? The egalitarian-complimentarian debate!
My observation is that women–even ones who are egalitarians–want men to protect them in some form or other. The dilemma is that this desire is anything but egalitarian!
Fact is, under an egalitarian framework, a woman has no more right to the protection of man, than does another man.