Terms of Avoidance

Concepts such as that of the "servant leader" have been employed to soften the teaching [about the headship of the man]. Where the concept is most emphasized, it can be attended more by blame than by honor. (Alastair Roberts, theopolisinstitute.com, Oct. 20, 2020)

Far worse is the adjective "loving," which, when applied in the current semantic milieu to the intentions of a man, robs everything it modifies of virility and command and transforms it into something domesticated according to the instincts of those inclined to deny him his office and responsibility—the latter an idea much emphasized by Jordan Peterson, to whom Roberts aptly refers as a strong influence among young men—of headship over the woman.

(This, Peterson, who professes an egalitarianism outlook, does not teach, but many believe, I think rightly, that it is supported by his teaching, in which sexual egalitarianism is in fact placed on a background palette of natural hierarchies. This is sensed by his feminist interlocutors and accounts for much of their frequently violent hostility toward him. They intuit that if they buy into his way of understanding, their own is at grave risk.)

Almost as bad is the invention, "complementarianism," another softening term that contains in itself no denial of sexual egalitarianism and displays on its face only "co-operation," to which the offensive notion of male headship must be then appended apologetically. That is why Touchstone doesn't identify itself as complementarian and doesn't aspire to anything but frank patriarchalism of the biblical variety. We have been glad to explain to anyone who is really interested what this means in practice and why it is in fact "loving, servant leadership"—because it is in the imitation of Christ, and at his command. But there's no use in hiding behind weasel-wordings of people who wish to be inoffensive to egalitarians—a waste of time and effort: might as well be hanged for a sheep as for a lamb.

S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.

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