Article 4 of the Nashville Statement

This Article is specifically arguing that hierarchy in the home, church, and community is by God’s design.

There is so much to say in response to this argument.  To begin let me remind you that in Article 3 they laid the groundwork for the “differences” they are addressing here and stated, as they do here, that they are “divinely ordained.”  This is less an effort to give God glory for the diversity of humankind and more an exertion of control against anyone who would present differently.  With that in mind let me address the two main issues that this Article is addressing.

The first is an effort to assert a hierarchy in the home, church and commuinty and argue that this hierarchy is by God’s design.

Those drafting and signing the Nashville Statement are using this Article to assert that men, by nature of God’s devinely ordained Creation, are suited to holds jobs and leadership positions within the church that women are never able to hold because of their divinely ordained differences.  This is addressed in the arguments made to the “Order of Creation” which claims that because man was created before woman there is an inherent hierarchy in God’s design that must be honored and is never to be accepted.

Some will argue that this Order of Creation is a reflection of the Nature of God that they believe is reflected in a hierarchy within the Trinity of God.  This moves into a heresy called Subordinationism.

There are many arguments that have been crafted for why this set of circumstances is “meant for human good and human flourishing” and many have to do with procreation and raising children (one of the primary functions of God’s design for marriage according to Article 1).  The Nuclear Family is expected to look a very specific way that reflects the modern philosophy of family and is foundational in the “Traditional Family Values” that are fought for and demanded. Much effort is put into pursuing laws and social requirements that “protect” the Traditional Family Values and make illegal, if not criminal, any variation on this model.

Within the family the hierarchy that they argue was put in place by God requires the man to be in leadership over the woman who is in a place of submission to him. The woman and the man together are over the children and they are in submission to their parents.  There are at least two problems with their argument. First, submission is voluntary and therefore any required or obligated submission would cease, by it’s very nature, to be submission.  Second, all believers are called to submit to one another and yet within this marriage model there is no call for the husband to ever submit to the wife.

This creates a rather odd paradigm where outside of marriage all believers are called to submit to one another but once a woman is married she is in a wife-only submission position with her husband who, by all expectations, would also be a fellow believer.  The reason that women are not avoiding marriage and the inequality of status on a grand scale is because women are told that being a wife and mother is their primary purpose and the only way they can truly fulfill their calling.

There are arguments that this calling for women is more important than all of the leadership positions that men are called to and women are excluded from, but at a certain point when an argument requires such pressure and manipulation it is disingenuous to use “God’s Design” as the reason for why things must be the way they are.

The manipulation is clear in the “we deny” portion of this Article.

The argument presented by Egalitarian scholars is that man and woman were created equal in the image of God and it was at the Fall when sin entered the world that one of the consequences was hierarchy.  This is evidenced in the statement from God that outside of the Garden and going forward the woman’s desire would be for her husband and he would rule over her.  She would desire unity but there would, instead, be hierarchy.  As with all of the consequences of sin this issue was addressed at the cross and, as Paul explained in Galatians, at the foot of the cross there is neither male nor female.

There is no Biblical mandate for only women to submit in a marriage and Egalitarian scholars argue that the relationship dynamics addressed in Ephesians 5 that apply to marriage are an expansion of the deeper level of submission that both spouses are called to when they enter marriage.  All believers are called to submit to one another — married believers are called to submit even more . . . To the point of doing all you do with the other’s best interest in mind and even to the point of self sacrifice.  This is how marriage becomes a revelation of Messiah and the Church.

The Second is an effort to deny any legitimate existence of trans persons.  As this Article is laying the foundation for this claim and it is, in fact, further developed in the next Article I will address it in the next response.