This article is written in conjunction with the video message, “Cross-Dressing Pastors And Biblical Manhood: Who’s Teaching You?“
“Watch out for false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are voracious wolves… So then, you will recognize them by their fruit.” (Matthew 7:15, 20 NET)
Complementarians want to tell you how to be a real man…and now, it’s getting personal.
These experts on “Biblical Manhood” are questioning yours – even if you say you agree with them.
Today Jesus is going to give you a simple test to find out if these are leaders you should follow.
Are these men Biblical examples of “real manhood”?
If you follow their example, will you become as “manly” as they say you should be?
Let’s look at the evidence.
The Low Down On Complementarianism
Complementarianism is the view that men and women have been created “equally” in God’s image, but have different yet “complementary” roles.
That doesn’t sound so bad, right? After all, girls and boys are different.
We could all use a break from the gender insanity.
But don’t be fooled by the euphemisms.
These men define “biblical manhood” NOT by a man’s own godly behavior, but by how successful he is in forcing his wife into submission.
Likewise, their measure of a “biblical woman” is NOT whether she emulates the example of the actual women in the Bible. On the contrary, leaders and conscientious objectors of the female kind (with which the Bible is replete) are not only frowned upon— they are to be silenced.
Complementarianism goes far beyond celebrating the beautiful gift of mothers, the treasure of a supportive wife, and the great value of full-time homemaking in a society that no longer reveres it. Make no mistake— this philosophy is not celebratory. It’s prohibitive.
Complementarianism prohibits women from having positions in the church or public life that give them authority over men, and limits women to domestic roles like raising children and keeping house.
Unfortunately for its proponents, these limits are not spelled out in the Bible. So, building on two mistranslated verses and Christian psychology, they dismiss the women in the Bible who held these very positions— and the modern women who follow their example.
Russell Moore Insults Your Manhood
In a video put out by the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission titled “Gender Roles: What Does the Bible Teach?”, ERLC President Russell Moore teams up with Ligon Duncan to explain why their religious policy of female submission and male-only leadership is actually “a happy issue”.
In this video, Moore and Duncan try to play it cool as they attempt to find a nice way to say that though it “sounds so crazy”, it’s God’s will for women to stay in their place and shut up.
After asserting that all people fall into one of two categories— “complementarian” or “egalitarian”—Moore throws down the gauntlet in an unexpected twist.
According to Moore, not only are egalitarians rebelling against God’s Word by insisting that woman have equal rights with men, but most complementarian men are guilty of not being…well, complementarian enough. He says to Duncan:
“One of the things I find, I’m sure you do as well, is there are a lot of people who think they are complementarians [Duncan laughs]…But actually, you sit down at dinner with them, or you see how they run their homes, and you realize, they’re actually not.” (3:35)
If you’re just tuning in, “complementarian” is a synonym for “manly man”. So yes, Moore and Duncan are making fun of their less manly bros— the ones who come to a consensus with their wives instead of dominating them into submission. As he asserts elsewhere:
“Egalitarians are winning the gender debate because evangelical complementarian men have largely abdicated their biblically ordained roles as head of the home and have, in practice, embraced contemporary pagan feminism.”
“Evangelicals maintain headship in the sphere of ideas, but practical decisions are made in most evangelical homes through a process of negotiation, mutual submission, and consensus. That’s what our forefathers would have called ‘feminism’—and our foremothers, too.”
If you can’t tell, “feminism” is a bad word to these guys (along with “egalitarianism”).
The problem is that these words lack clear definition, because they’re not found in the Bible.
That means these men are speaking without Biblical authority.
Take the word “feminism” for example. On the one hand, a feminist may be a person who fights for the rights of girls to have an education in Muslim countries, like Malala Yousafzai; to end the practice of genital mutilation (“female circumcision”) or the exploitation of child brides; to stand up for the rights of widows and even prostitutes, like Jesus Christ did— or even someone who simply promotes women’s suffrage.
Moore’s Baptist forefathers would call that feminism, too. Indeed, they called early suffragists “semi-masculine Minervas” and “sexless women”.
Maybe Russell Moore agrees? Does he take the position that God doesn’t want women to vote?
On the other hand, a feminist who does these things doesn’t necessarily agree with “feminists” who promote abortion, extra-marital sex, homosexual marriage, or other practices that conflict with the Bible.
But to complementarians like Moore and Duncan, all feminists are the same. “Feminism” is the “F” word. In their world, it’s the worst thing you can call a woman.
It is the great evil…that God apparently forgot to mention.
In the same way, the word “complementarian” never appears in the Bible. And though Scripture prohibits adding to God’s words, those who hold to this doctrine can’t help themselves. Since the Bible stubbornly refuses to accommodate their pet theology with any definition, they did the obvious thing.
They looked to each other for one.
And so the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood was born.
The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Come on guys— look in a mirror. You are a man. This is not rocket science.
But I guess it’s like Jesus said:
“I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.” (Matthew 11:25 NIV)
Anyway, the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) is the flagship organization for complementarians. Russell Moore has served as the Chairman of its Board, for example, and Ligon Duncan is currently a Senior Fellow and Board Member.
Why should this matter to you? Because chances are they have influenced your pastor— and their goal is to mold you. To define you. To shape you into what they think a “biblical” man or woman should be.
But the Bible says that’s God’s job. He is the potter, you are the clay (Isaiah 64:8). It is God who calls those things that are not as though they were (Romans 4:17); God who has the power to make you what you are becoming (Phil. 1:6); God who will carry on to completion the good work that…who started in you?
Oh, right. GOD.
And by what power does God call, cleanse, and create you?
The power of His Word.
Does the human theology of complementarianism have the same power— to make you a Biblical man?
Or do these leaders have a form of godliness, with no real power?
Jesus doesn’t want you to wade through the thousands of words they put forth to find out. He gave you a simpler test.
You will know them by their fruit.
So let’s find out if these guys are really as manly as they say they are.
Discernment 101: Experts in Biblical Manhood?
The Bible says a man’s words come from the storehouse of his heart:
“…for out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45 NIV)
This is a key for discernment. Words reveal the contents of the heart.
So, Discernment 101: men who say that they’re trying to recover their manhood are not the authority on where to find yours.
The real authority lies in God’s Word. As Paul said,
“This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.” (1 Cor. 2:13 NIV)
In other words, “the one God has sent speaks God’s Words.” (John 3:34)
But the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood does the opposite. Publishing a glut of papers, articles, and books attacking non-complementarian positions, they habitually point to the opinions of men for their authority.
One of those men is reparative therapy psychologist George Alan Rekers.
The Psychology Behind the Theology: Its All Feminists’ Fault
George Rekers wrote “Shaping Your Child’s Sexual Identity”, and “Psychological Foundations for Rearing Masculine Boys and Feminine Girls”— an article included in “Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood”.
Ligon Duncan refers to Rekers in a sermon titled “Thinking and Living Biblically in a Gender-neutral Society”:
“There is a large volume, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem that is outstanding…one of the authors, George Rekers, a Southern Baptist lay person, on the teaching faculty of the University of South Carolina medical school in the area of psychiatry, perhaps the major research psychiatrist on the issue of homosexuality, an evangelical and Reformed Christian, also has a theology degree, has an article on raising masculine boys and feminine girls. So this gives you some idea of the practicality of the book; it’s not just theoretical…” (emphasis added)
So you get the drift. This Rekers guy comes highly recommended, and Duncan points to him as an expert on gender roles.
The CBMW also looks to him as an authority on the psychology behind their theories: that there are certain roles men and women are supposed to take, and to step outside of those roles (as defined by CBMW) will result in all kinds of evil.
In an article posted on CBMW.org, “50 Crucial Questions…About Manhood and Womanhood”, Rekers’ clinical research is used as the basis for the conclusion that homosexual behavior is the result of feminism.
“We also see the clinical evidence that there is no such thing as a “homosexual child.” George Rekers, Professor in the Department of Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Medical School of the University of South Carolina, has argued this in many technical journals and some popular works….that there are dynamics in the home that direct the sexual preferences of the child. Especially crucial is a father’s firm and loving affirmation of a son’s masculinity or a daughter’s femininity. But, we ask, how can this kind of affirmation be cultivated in an atmosphere where role differences between masculinity and femininity are constantly denied or minimized?”
“We believe that the feminist minimization of sexual role differentiation contributes to the confusion of sexual identity that, especially in second and third generations, gives rise to more homosexuality in society.”
“To us it is increasingly and painfully clear that Biblical feminism is an unwitting partner in unravelling the fabric of complementary manhood and womanhood that provides the foundation not only for Biblical marriage and Biblical church order, but also for heterosexuality itself.”
First of all, the Bible never names feminism as a sin.
Further, if there’s a brand of feminism that is biblical, by definition it would have to be good.
But according to these men, even biblical feminism has the power to unravel the fabric of the universe.
The question is, are these guys right? Does feminism cause homosexual or effeminate behavior in men?
More importantly, if we follow Rekers’ and the CBMW’s recommendations, will we end up with more masculine boys?
Ask Jo-Vanni Roman— the male prostitute George Rekers was busted with in 2010.
Rentboy Scandal: Who’s “Causing” Homosexuality Now?
Roman (who went by the name “Lucien”) had the pleasure of receiving a first-hand education in “Biblical manhood” when he was hired to accompany Rekers on a 10-day vacation. (Wikipedia):
The Miami New Times reported on May 4, 2010, that Rekers had been photographed at Miami International Airport with a twenty-year-old “rent boy” who was using the name “Lucien” (later identified as Jo-Vanni Roman). Roman was available for hire through the Rentboy.com website. Rekers acknowledged hiring Roman for the 10-day European vacation as a “travel assistant” and denies any impropriety. He said that Roman was there to help carry his luggage since he had surgery…and was unable to carry it himself, although the photograph clearly showed Rekers lifting his own luggage.
In subsequent interviews, Roman said Rekers had paid him to provide nude massages daily during the trip, which included genital touching. “It’s a situation,” Roman said, “where he’s going against homosexuality when he is a homosexual.” According to the New Times, Roman “made it clear they met through Rentboy.com”, and denied that he had been hired to carry luggage. Rentboy.com offers clients a wide range of choices, from ‘rentboy’ and ‘sugar daddy’ to ‘masseur’.
On May 11, 2010, the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) announced that Rekers had resigned from its board.
Rekers stated on his personal website “I confessed to the Lord and to my family that I was unwise and wrong to hire this travel assistant after knowing him only one month before the trip”… Rekers explained that he was being advised by “an experienced pastor and counselor from my church, so I can more fully understand my weaknesses and prevent this kind of unwise decision-making in the future”. On his resignation from NARTH he said “I am not gay and never have been.”
Following the first report about Rekers, New York magazine reported that another individual said that Rekers had hired him in a similar capacity in 1992.
Rekers said on his Facebook page:
“Like John the Baptist and Jesus, I have a loving Christian ministry to homosexuals and prostitutes in which I share the Good News of Jesus Christ with them…I seek to lovingly share two types of messages to them, as I did with the young man called “Lucien” in the news story: If you talk with [him] you will find I spent a great deal of time sharing scientific information on the desirability of abandoning homosexual intercourse, and I shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with him in great detail.”
Yes, you heard that right.
This is the psychologist who says that the reason people develop homosexuality and become confused about their sexual identity is feminism.
That’s right. Feminists are to blame.
This from the guy who hired a young man to perform nude genital massages, while preaching the Gospel to him, and giving scientific information as to why it would be desirable for this male prostitute to give up homosexual sex.
At the time that he’s using the young man for sexual acts!
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the end of complementarianism. This is where it led George Rekers, and where it will lead you.
This is the fruit.
You Will Know Them By their Fruit
Every time you hear John Piper’s name; every time you hear Wayne Grudem’s name; every time you hear about Russell Moore, Ligon Duncan, the ERLC, the Southern Baptist Convention, or the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, you need to remember this name: George Rekers.
And you need to remember that this is the authority that complementarians point to.
You would think that the CBMW would have distanced itself from Rekers after such a scandal.
But no— though the scandal happened in 2010, CBMW.org has posted articles that point to his research… as late as 2014.
Now. Go back to the ERLC video for a minute.
Russell Moore’s getting up there and making fun of you if you’re not “complementarian” enough…and then pointing to a guy who’s hiring a male prostitute as an authority on “how to be a biblical man”?
Think about it: who’s fault is it that their boys are turning out to be effeminate?
They say it’s the feminists’ fault.
Could it maybe, just possibly, be these spiritual authorities who are using young men for homosexual sex acts that are confusing them about their sexual identity?
Maybe it’s not Mom getting the vote that’s causing them to be confused after all.
The New Emangelization Project
Protestants are not alone in this resurgence of anti-woman sentiment and theology. The Catholic Church – also “complementarian”— now has their own version of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. It’s called The New Emangelization Project, and its goal is to de-feminize the church.
Matthew James Christoff of the NEP did an interview with Cardinal Raymond Burke to discuss the “Man-crisis” in the Catholic Church. Christoff starts off by asking the Cardinal to describe the state of men in the Catholic Church today. Burke states:
“The radical feminism which has assaulted the Church and society since the 1960s has left men very marginalized.
Unfortunately, the radical feminist movement strongly influenced the Church, leading the Church to constantly address women’s issues at the expense of addressing critical issues important to men.”
Wait…have we heard this before? It sounds like Catholic and Protestant leaders have found some common ground— they both agree that the devastating losses in church membership are not due to the exclusively male leadership at the helm, but those darned feminists, who have assaulted and marginalized the men.
Did anybody see the pope at St. Matthews last week? Reality check.
THAT is a room full of guys. There are no women.
Those poor, marginalized men.
Cardinal Burke continues:
“The goodness and importance of men became very obscured, and for all practical purposes, were not emphasized at all.
All of those virtuous characteristics of the male sex are very important for a child to observe as they grow up and mature. The healthy relationship with the father helps the child to prepare to move from the intimate love of the mother, building a discipline so that the child can avoid excessive self‑love. This ensures that the child is able to identify himself or herself properly as a person in relationship with others; this is critical for both boys and girls.
A child’s relationship with their father is key to a child’s self‑identification, which takes place when we are growing up.”
Obviously, Burke is not pointing to Scripture. Not even once.
He is, however, looking to the same psychological theories as CBMW, George Rekers, and Russell Moore.
The Cardinal goes on to talk about how men need to come back to the Church to learn how to become more manly.
“The Church becomes very feminized.
As an example, it became politically incorrect to talk about the Knights of the Altar, an idea that is highly appealing to young men. The Knights of the Altar emphasize the idea that young men offer their chivalrous service at the altar to defend Christ in the sacred realities of the Church. This idea is not welcome in many places today.
The introduction of girl servers also led many boys to abandon altar service. Young boys don’t want to do things with girls. It’s just natural…So many boys drifted away over time. I want to emphasize that the practice of having exclusively boys as altar servers has nothing to do with inequality of women in the Church.”
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that gay Catholic priests prefer to abuse young boys?
Burke goes on to say he is encouraged because,
“[Catholic] seminaries are beginning to attract many strong young men who desire to serve God as priests. The new crop of young men are manly and confident about their identity. This is a welcome development, for there was a period of time when men who were feminized and confused about their own sexual identity had entered the priesthood; sadly some of these disordered men sexually abused minors; a terrible tragedy for which the Church mourns.”
Notice how conveniently he minimizes the extent of the abuse. You know—”there was a period of time when men who were feminized…sexually abused minors.”
Fact: The Catholic Church has paid out over $3 billion in damages to victims of sexual assaults by priests.
That’s not an anomaly folks. That’s a culture of abuse.
“We have to be very clear with men about purity, chastity, modesty and even the way men dress and present themselves. Men’s behaviors and dress matter, for it affects how they relate to the world and it affects the culture. Men need to dress and act like men in a way that is respectful to themselves, to women and to children.”
So thank goodness for Cardinal Burke, because he’s going to teach you men how to act like men, how to be really masculine, and especially… how to dress like men.
“Dress” being the operative word. In these pictures, Cardinal Burke is wearing a beautiful red silky one.
The frilly lace pinafore is a nice addition, as well as this gorgeous fur wrap.
Burke is looking particularly manly in this one, as I think he’s wearing my Grandma’s garden hat.
In fact, honestly, if you were to glance at these pictures… you would think this was a woman.
Just listen to how these complementarian leaders talk. Listen to their rhetoric… then compare it to their fruit.
How about it guys— is this the person to teach you to dress like a man?
Is this the person to entrust your young men to?
Of course this drag queen is excited about your manly young men becoming altar boys and coming to seminary.
Catholic moms and dads, don’t be stupid.
Jesus didn’t say to trust these men just because they hold a position in the Church. He said, “you will know them by their fruit.”
That means that Jesus expects you to test them.
And if they are blind, you must leave them. If you follow them, you will fall into the same pit, and their “normal” will become yours.
“Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:14 NIV)
Cardinal Raymond Burke told you what his “normal” is. He said:
“Young boys don’t want to do things with girls. It’s just natural.”
As a priest who has sworn off women, Burke thinks that his aversion to girls is normal. He is projecting his lack of natural affection for females on you.
Shake off the insanity, and remember simple truth.
- In the heterosexual universe, it’s actually quite normal for boys to want to do things with girls.
- What is not normal is for grown men to don dresses and garden hats, whilst preaching against homosexuality and abusing little boys. All the while blaming women for the sexual confusion and effeminate men in the church.
Let that sanity continue to reign when you hear complementarians like Raymond Burke, Russell Moore, John Piper, Wayne Grudem, and George Rekers speak against your women—in the name of God. Like this conclusion from Cardinal Burke:
“My generation let all of this nonsense of sexual confusion, radical feminism and the breakdown of the family go on, not realizing that we were robbing the next generations of the most treasured gifts that we had been blessed to receive.
We have gravely wounded the current generations.”
Again, out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.
These men have indeed gravely wounded the current generations.
But is the destruction the result of respecting your women too much? Or is it the result of the leadership of these men?
Well, just look at their administrations. Let the fruit decide.
More Than Manly: The Example Of Jesus
It is sometimes true that those who can’t do, teach. People who struggle with mental health often become psychologists. Men who struggle with sinful behavior often become the most condemning preachers.
And men who are insecure in their own manhood make themselves the experts on how to “recover” yours.
God has called you to more than manliness. He’s called you to godliness.
So don’t be following men to become a godly man. Follow Jesus.
“And just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, let us also bear the image of the man of heaven.” (1 Cor. 15:49 NET)
Picture Attribution: “Russell D. Moore Preaching” by Theology147 – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons -https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Russell_D._Moore_Preaching.jpg#/media/File:Russell_D._Moore_Preaching.jpg