Why They Won't Dance
When as an evangelistic tactic one tries to lure modernized people into Christianity by assuring them of how egalitarian it is—a common practice these days—they're bound eventually to see that you're selling them a bill of goods to get them in the door, for if they go through, they will only discover that real Christianity is patriarchal to the core. When the First Article of the Creed or the first line of the Lord's Prayer finally sinks in, they're bound to feel they've been practiced upon, and their last hostility will be worse than the first.
What you've proposed to them is not only dishonest and bound in the long run to be counter-productive in Christian-making, but requires the would-be evangelist to contort into a position where he's constantly adjusting his thought and discourse to conform to something fundamentally anti-Christian, so that over time his own Christianity deteriorates into egalitarianism—the lie he has been serving in his professed attempt to evangelize. It's undeniable that this artful dodging is characteristic of a good many segments of the Church now, having spread from the defining institutions—the schools, the parachurch organizations, theologians, liturgists, hymnal revisers, and preachers—to constituencies anxious to be relieved of the burden of resisting the world on this point.
However the problem is approached—and it is a very great problem because the lie is now well fixed in a culture that automatically associates patriarchy with abuse—the way forward can never be to answer one falsehood with another, that is, to pretend that Christianity, while regarding men and women as equal in substance as the members of the Holy Trinity are, is in any way egalitarian—that there is no hierarchy, no higher and lower, no right expectation of obedience or of following, but only bare functional differences in the relations.
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S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.
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