Mark Chanski on Gender Roles, or Unprincipled Voices on the Sideline

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

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 links, or 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).

I shared Chanski’s quote above with some friends and one of them pointed me to this short video which I think is a great response. A picture, or in this case, a video, really does say a thousand words.

© 9th of August, 2011, Margaret Mowczko

Update: The CBMW website has changed and many older blogs posts are no longer online.

Related Articles

25 Biblical Roles for Biblical Women
Is Motherhood the Highest Calling for Women?
Working Women in the New Testament
Interpretations and Applications of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35
Various articles on 1 Timothy 2:12 here.
A Suitable Helper
Wayne Grudem on what Women should do in the Church
Complementarians Divide the Church