Consistent Complementarianism

by Michael McKinley

I meet more and more young men who are excited about the concept of male leadership in the home. As far as it goes, I think that’s a good thing.

But I also see a lot of men who assert their headship in their home, but who do not take a consistent approach to the authorities set over them by God (or God himself). A few examples:

1.    Some men complain about their wife’s unwillingness to submit to their authority while they (the husband) embrace secret sins in their lives. As if their wife should submit to their authority, but they shouldn’t have to submit to God’s authority.

2.    Some men extol the glories of male headship but never think to consciously submit their lives and decision making to the authority of their elders and fellow church-members. As if God designed a husband’s authority to be a blessing at home, but all other authority is arbitrary and unimportant.

3.    Some men think nothing of venting their spleen about their boss, the government, or the leaders of their church, all the while insisting that their wife speak about them in tones of hushed respect.

It is spiritually dangerous to be in this position, exercising authority without submitting to it.

But I think this is also an important factor to consider when trying to identify men who can serve the church as elders. I would not want to put a man into a position of authority in our church unless he himself were able to joyfully submit to the authorities placed over him by God. A man who will not submit to others should not have others submitting to him.

I also appreciate the point that Thabiti makes in Finding Faithful Elders and Deacons: A crucial part of an elder’s work is knowing how to submit to other biblically qualified, gifted, and Spirit-filled men who will, from time to time, see a matter differently. It’s proud to think this will never happen, and it’s proud to think the other elders should always submit to you. (pages 102-103)

If you want to be a good leader, perhaps you should begin by being a good follower. If you want to know whether you are a good follower, try asking the people God has put in authority over you!


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