Harmony – a disturbing word

This week I read “Triumph” by Carolyn Jessop, the woman who left the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints (FLDS).  I wish women would read this book and her previous book “Escape.”

Baptists and other fundamental Christians would not recognize themselves in this book and would declare it to be an extreme sect.  It is that.  But there are things in this book that should give every fundamental Baptist woman pause.

We have been discussing the submission mandate that many believe is required for marriages and the belief that submission is the bedrock and foundation of a marriage as set forth by God and enlarged upon by the apostle Paul.

Few would see the FDLS as living out the same belief that they themselves find appealing and, to various extents, adhere to.  But there are many degrees of submission as we discovered in “Husbands Handy Reference Guide as to When a Wife Must Submit,” and these women have accepted some of those degrees of submission. 

The following has been used previously in one of my posts, but it fits here and I want to share it with you.  This is an email I received two years ago from a member of my former church when I began this ministry on January 15, 2009.  This church is a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) church, and is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, and the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

Dear Shirley,

I received your letter regarding women pastors and deacons and would like to respond to several points in your letter.  I completely agree with your mission statement until you get to the phrase, “and will put up no barriers to women serving God in the same capacity as men do.” I have a big problem with this.  God does value women! He puts men and women on the same plain, breaking down barriers. However, He has also made us different and clearly knows how we can complement each other.  I have witnessed a breakdown in families and society stemming from individuals being basically self-centered and insisting on their rights. There is balance and harmony in the body of Christ and in the home when individuals accept their roles in an humble, submissive manner to the Lord. I have observed God honoring marriages that are a picture of Christ and the church.  This harmony comes through submission, not demanding our rights.  We have two daughters that have been married for a number of years. One of our daughters has always been very head strong. She has chosen to trust her husband in matters of leadership and management.  He responds to her in love and a desire to provide for their family.  Our other daughter is married to a very strong-willed man.  Her marriage has sometimes been difficult, but I can see the fruit of her submission.”

She is quoting from The Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood which says in Rationale #3: “the increasing promotion given to feminist egalitarianism with accompanying distortions or neglect of the glad harmony portrayed in Scripture between the loving, humble leadership of redeemed husbands and the intelligent, willing support of that leadership by redeemed wives.”

Carolyn Jessop tells of a time while she was one of six wives of Merril Jessop:  “Merril scolded me again and again, insisting that Patrick (their ill 6 month baby) would be all right if his mother would get herself in harmony with his father.”  (Page 181)

Baptists won’t recognize themselves in the extremes of complementarianism, just as Carolyn Jessop did not recognize herself in the extremes of FLDS. “Most FLDS women do not perceive themselves as victims.” (page 183).

I was starting a ministry for women’s equality and that letter was the first time I ever heard the complementarian view.  It was almost year later before I fully realized what was going on.  That is how Baptists can be ignorant of this subject.

About bwebaptistwomenforequality

Shirley Taylor writes with humor and common sense, challenging the church body to reclaim equality for Christian women.
This entry was posted in Do Baptists Really Believe That?, Marriage, The Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Harmony – a disturbing word

  1. Yes. Do you notice the ‘harmony’ comes only when women accept their roles?

    Where in the bible does God concentrate only on WOMEN if you would just get with in it all would be right with the world?

    They are using the bedrock of ‘submission’ to make their view of marriage work. They basically are asking women to bend to the will of the husband, and label his role as ‘loving and humble’. If you disagree with your husband you are selfish and self centered.

    It reminds me of China. They are brain washed, or know they can’t speak out against the leader. They must give thanks for the loving and humble leader for what they do have, and yet most in that country have nothing. They starve and are jailed due to the selfish whims of the leader, and they know what will happen to them and their family if they don’t stay in line. Their silence and cooperation are what is killing them, and yet they know the alternative if the don’t.

    You are ostracized if you step out of your role, and its the same within the some churches.

    Glad harmony would happen if people truly knew what humble and loving meant, because their definition is a contradiction. Harmony depends on everyone working at it, and not just one side.


  2. Mabel says:

    I would substitute North Korea or Myanmar for China, which in a strangely way, is more egalitarian than the Baptist Church, as communism theoretically believes in equality. China is not what it used to be. I have heard taxi drivers ridicule local leaders, and there are a lot of jokes on how stupid leaders are. North Korea, Myanmar, are truly hell on earth. I think there should be a special place in hell for those leaders.


  3. chaidrinkingfool says:

    “Harmony” reminds me of the word “unity”.

    There are those I have heard valuing “unity of the church” so much that they won’t speak out over the injustices done to women–and to men, though women usually, generally, get the short end of the stick when it comes to the false gospel of “gender roles” in the church. In addition to this being very serious because it is INjustice perpetrated “in the name of God”, the “unity” being valued is an illusion.

    There is no unity of church, of marriage, of self, so long as this injustice is promoted as God’s way.


    • You are right. In my experience the ones against women’s equality scream out their objections – while those for women’s equality keep silent in order not to cause friction. In fact, at the bottom of the letter to me, this woman said that if such a thing as women deacons ever came up in the church, she would cause a fuss. And she also sent this to our pastor.


      • I look at this sentence:

        I have witnessed a breakdown in families and society stemming from individuals being basically self-centered and insisting on their rights.

        and I think WHO is the ones that are insisting on their rights? Who are being self centered to make sure the ‘status quo’ stays as is?

        Then the lady ‘tattle tales’ to your preacher? Yikes!

        I think of the ‘big lie’ discussion I read about recently, and also the ‘bounded choice’.

        I think they use both those tactics.


      • Good point! She says that it is the women who are self-centered and demand their rights, when it is the husbands.


      • chaidrinkingfool says:

        You know…I haven’t thought of it in quite that way before. About yes, don’t break unity–as long as men are in charge! There is no other way.

        I…wow that she took the letter to your pastor. Just, wow.

        I love the latest recycling of the Christian men’s movement that encourages men to share their feelings and to show interest in their wife’s feelings, to try to identify with her…not to the point of submitting to her, of course. How these men believe they are being truly vulnerable with their wife, while claiming for themselves the title of “leader”, is beyond me.


  4. Mabel says:

    My personal reaction to that letter: throw up.


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