Male Headship again

I believe that the Scripture teaches that the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the church.

I do not, however, identify with Complementarianism, believing that it, as formulized by John Piper, Wayne Grudem, et al., is a corruption of the Bible’s teaching.

That being said, it is curious to me that some of the Complementarian persuasion tend to emphasize the headship of the husband when it involves authority, making the rules, deciding all issues and demanding unquestioning obedience – but his headship is strangely missing when involving culpability.

For example, the male (according to many CBMW writers and bloggers) is the rational one, the one able to separate emotion from reason and therefore the one capable of making decisions. The woman is easily deceived, emotional, irrational, and therefore built for submission and nurturing.

And yet, at the same time, a male cannot be expected to control himself when a young girl happens to wear a sleeveless blouse. He cannot be trusted to dine with a female business colleague alone, and must be chaperoned when he is courting a young woman, and is excused from culpability in sexual assault if his victim is:

  1. not dressed right
  2. drinking too much
  3. in the wrong place at the wrong time
  4. straying from home
  5. bathing in the courtyard behind the walls of her home but visible from the neighbor’s roof.
  6. or being too attractive
  7. or simply being too feminine.
  8. or simply being a woman.

A man, according to some in the CBMW movement, is the natural authority and leader, according to nature and the Bible – unless it involves his own sexuality, in which case he is not in control at all. It seem strangely backwards to me.

In fact, it doesn’t take much research to see that whenever there is great sin involved, everyone is responsible except for the male in “authority”.

It seems to me that it goes back to the fall, with “the woman thou gavest me…”

And it also seems to me that the responsibility of headship involves, at the very least, the spiritual gift of self-control. Is not our example of headship Christ himself?


Filed under Marriage, Men and women, Patriarchy

7 responses to “Male Headship again

  1. Excellent points! This seems to be the case when divorce is considered, as well. It never made sense to me that the bulk of the blame is carried by the woman, regardless of the errors the man has made. The estranged wife is held responsible for not submitting to abusive behavior enough to “save” the marriage, even though the husband essentially abandoned the union. Praises to you for seeing the whole picture!

  2. just ... K

    I’m in the process of trying to navigate a protection order against my “male head” – who loves patriarchy, but who does not know the Spirit of Christ. When the teachers and leaders of complementarianism stand up and admit that they have provided a stumbling block under which people are being sorely abused, maybe I will listen to them again. Until then, I simply see people proclaiming evil as being good, and want no part of it.

    Thank you for writing Pastor Powell ♥️

    • I am so sorry. I wish that these guys would talk more about Christ and his love for us in Ephesians 5!
      So many of them view the home exactly the same way that the Roman culture viewed the home, and think that Paul was just saying, “Do things the way you already do them…” in Ephesians 5.
      Instead, it was revolutionary, turning the household upside down and basing it on love, intimacy and union – like Christ and the church!

  3. Elizabeth

    I would love to see an accurate description of what male headship looks like so I can quit wincing every time I hear the phrase.

    • It has definitely been abused! Paul’s example is a body, not an organization. And the comparison is Christ and the church. It isn’t about authority and submission. It is about one flesh – head and body. Paul is talking about love and dignity and honor, as well as order.
      I’ve preached on Ephesians 5 before and those sermons can be found on

  4. Elizabeth

    Thank you…. I appreciate your response and will go and listen for sure. God bless you!

  5. Journalofthegrey

    I had written a post a long time ago that very few people understood… a man can compliment a woman with an agenda in his heart he might not recognize or be ignoring.

    Like, “I like your hair 😉😉”
    Or I like your hair 👍”
    We have to pay attention to what’s in our hearts. It deceivingly evil.

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