Yesterday, Aimee Byrd kindly responded to my post about a natural complementarian theology. The Calvinist International have just published my response to Byrd’s response, along with some thoughts from Dr. Eric Hutchinson:
In a fallen world, where the differences between the sexes have often been the occasion of abuse, oppression, and denigration, it is not without cause that we should want to avoid or suppress this reality and only approach the subject with the greatest trepidation, especially in mixed company.
However, as Christians I believe that we would be mistaken to do so. Far from downplaying this reality, maleness and femaleness are tightly woven into the deep structure of the biblical narrative and symbolic world, because they are so woven in the world God created. They are differences to be celebrated and rejoiced in, aspects of the life-giving playfulness of God’s world. Throughout Scripture, each sex is prominently displayed in those very respects in which it most stands out from the other. These differences are not so much differences from each other as they are differences for each other. Nor are these differences that constrain us; rather, they empower us. As we discover ourselves as man and woman and thus discover the wonder of our differences in relation, something of the richer life of the creation is revealed to us. They are differences that are best expressed, not in the dense and heavily qualified prose of gender theory, but in the surprise and joy of song. In them we experience something of the meaning of creation as the realm of God’s delight, a delight that brings all else into appropriate perspective.
Read the whole thing here.
I’m not completely caught up on the back and forth here so this might be a somewhat naïve question, while I can see how some Christians see natural law as a compelling approach the secular variant of what could be called natural law (evolutionary psychology) may have enough practical overlap that it may or may not muddy the waters here. Is it possible that one of the extenuating conceptual elements at play here is not just social constructivist views but that these debates are happening in a more “global” Western context in which not everyone would be on board with either a Christian appeal to a more traditional natural law on the one hand or to the more secularist evolutionary biological variant of natural law on the other? The secularist can, in theory, appeal to a natural law of a sort in which LGBTQ(I) people are considered within the observable parameters of what is “natural”.
My own skepticism about Stanton’s whole approach is that ever since the “mancession” of 2008 hit it hardly matters that men may be induced to productivity by the presence of women if the unskilled labor market and other realms of traditionally male job markets have been hit by financial stress. If there’s anything in our current era that is ignored that earlier epochs did not ignore, it’s the truism that perhaps a large swath of men and women will never be marriageable on socio-economic grounds. There’s little doubt that a Lydia and a Wickham think they’re being grown-up by the way they pursue life together but someone like Darcy may have to pick up the tab.
Alastair, two questions: 1) Could you recommend some books that articulate a view of masculinity, femininity, society, etc. along the lines of what you put forward? 2) Can you write a book detailing your view? 🙂
One would have to look hard to find some. Stephen Clark’s, Man and Woman in Christ is perhaps the nearest thing to what you are looking for.
Thank you. You should consider my second question, then. I’ve read a few of your blog posts and have been impressed by how well-balanced your thinking on this subject is.