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Mark Chanski on Gender Roles

The latest Gender Blog post (8/8/11) from the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) is one of the worst I’ve read in a long time. It’s written by Robert E. Sagers who is a PhD student in systematic theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Sager quotes Mark Chanski extensively in his blog post. Chanski is the author of “Manly Dominion” and “Womanly Dominion” and the pastor of Harbor Reformed Baptist Church of Holland, Michigan.

Here is an excerpt:

Coaching our daughter’s soccer teams found me constantly shouting to my players, “Play your position!” If I have a goalie who’s not convinced of the importance of guarding the goal, but is convinced that the only important contribution is scoring goals, that roaming and undisciplined player will do great harm to the team. Imagine the damage done when a girl assigned to play goalie leaves her post to make a long and exciting dribble run up the field, only to be stripped by an opponent who’s able to dribble back and to score into a goalie-less net! I’d shout, “Jessica, you’re a goalie, not a forward. Play your position! Everybody’s counting on you! Play your position!”

On the field of life, women not only have to play boldly, but they’ve also got to play their position. God hasn’t positioned women in such “forward” positions as Family Leader, Breadwinner, and Pastor. Eve was positioned by her heavenly coach as a “helper suitable” (Genesis 2:18), a child nurturer (Genesis 3:16), and a submissive learner (1 Timothy 2:11-15). But women hear shouts from unprincipled sideline voices telling them to leave their God-assigned posts, much like a misguided parent might tell his goalie daughter: “Get the ball, honey, and try to score!” – Mark Chanski

Un-sidelined, Principled Voices

I’m not even going to comment on Chanski’s incredibly narrow view of womens’ roles, roles which he regards as assigned by God. Nor am I going to point out the considerable inconsistencies in his views that are evident just by reading Sager’s blog post. (I have addressed some of the things Chanski asserts elsewhere on this site. See my Related Articles below.)

What interests me is that Chanski regards people like myself as unprincipled voices. I believe that I have very strong principles. I am strongly opposed to attitudes and actions that promote the suppression of women and continue to place women at a disadvantage, especially when these attitudes and actions are misleadingly labelled as “biblical.”

I am also interested in how Chanski, in his soccer game analogy, describes voices like mine as being merely on the sideline. I hope that Christian Egalitarian voices are very much “in the game” and are actively leading the way towards establishing unity, mutuality, equality and reconciliation between the sexes, both in the Church and in other societies that discriminate against women. However, the Church needs more godly men and women who will teach and demonstrate equality and equal opportunities for all people regardless of gender, race or socioeconomic status (Gal. 3:28).

© 9th of August, 2011, Margaret Mowczko

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Update: The CBMW website has changed since writing this article in 2011 and many older blogs posts, including Sager’s, are no longer online.

Related Articles

25+ Biblical Roles for Biblical Women
Is Motherhood the Highest Calling for Women?
The Authority of Police Officers, Ships’ Captains, and Men
All my articles on 1 Timothy 2:12 are here.
All my articles on Titus 2:4-5 are here.
A Suitable Helper (in Hebrew)
Wayne Grudem on what Women should do in the Church
Complementarianism Divides the Church

3 thoughts on “Mark Chanski on Gender Roles

  1. I’d like to see Chanski be forced to play goalie instead of coaching, because coaching is clearly beyond God’s design for him, and he’d better not ever even think about doing anything else! Maybe then he’d stop with the ridiculous analogy and start thinking of women as real people, not roles.

  2. Elaine, I thought so too. 🙂

    Kristen, Exactly!

    According to Hierarchical Complementarians, men can do anything, “play any position” that they are competent in (or even only semi-competent in.) Furthermore, a man can become a team captain, a coach or a commentator, etc.

    But women, no matter how godly or gifted, are excluded from many roles simply because they are women.

    In many churches, women have no place or position “in the game” of the gospel, but they can be “beautiful cheerleaders for the men” (as one of our internet friends remarked.)

  3. The lengths to which Comps will go to reframe the text, ignore the context and superimpose their pretest remains sad and manipulative. Applying their hermeneutic consistently we are forced to acknowledge the viability of slavery (although with love and kindness toward those whom we would purchase).

    Poor Margaret Thatcher…she had the ability to run a country but literally could not take the offering in some Comp Churches I have been in. Yes, we must remain gracious–but never apologetic about our position that men and women are equally and biblically called to serve, lead and teach…together! I did a post about the “Iron Lady” on my blog earlier this year. See http://www.drbilldonahue.com – and I am teaching a class now at TIU on men and women in ministry so this is a very important topic. We have both Comp’s and Egals on our faculty, but 95% of the Comps are soft or moderate. We have a broad mix and have amicable engagement, but we are increasingly Egalitarian or Third Way. Like the former divide in Berlin, this wall too shall come down.

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