OLIVER AND HARDY AND HAHN: Debunking Greg Hahn’s Attempt to Salvage His Attack on Complementarianism

OLIVER AND HARDY AND HAHN: Debunking Greg Hahn’s Attempt to Salvage His Attack on Complementarianism

© 2015, by John Tors. All Rights Reserved.

Introduction

Years ago I saw an interesting episode of the television game show “Jeopardy.”  In this game, answers to questions in different categories are posted according to dollar value, and three contestants vie to be first to “ring in” and give the correct answer (i.e. the correct corresponding question).  If he answers correctly, the assigned dollar values are added to the contestant’s total; if he gets it wrong, he loses an equal amount.

On this particular episode, there was a very good, well-read player who, if I recall correctly, was the returning champion several times over.  He rang in first most times, and usually got the answer right, and his dollar total was leaving his opponents’ in the dust.

The memorable moment came when the category was “Famous Comedy Teams.”  An easy question came up to which the answer was, “Who is Laurel and Hardy?”  Our champion, as usual, was the first to ring in, and then he confidently asserted, “Who is Oliver and Hardy?”[1]

The host, perhaps surprised that the champion had missed such an easy one, hesitated a moment before rejecting the answer, and in that brief moment, the champion glared at the host and said, in a louder and more strident voice, “Who is Oliver and Hardy?”  The host found his voice and said, “I’m sorry, that’s the wrong answer.”

The lesson is clear; if an answer it wrong, it doesn’t become right simply by being asserted more loudly and more stridently.

Greg Hahn needs to learn this lesson.

An Analysis of, and Response to, Hahn’s New Attempt

Greg Hahn needs to learn this lesson from Jeopardy.  Previously he posted an article[2] in which he presented what he seemed to think is the definitive argument against complementarianism i.e. the Biblical teaching of male headship in the home and church.  We subsequently demolished his argument.[3]  Now he is back, like the Jeopardy contestant, re-presenting his same argument in a new blog post,[4] glaring, louder, and more strident, but with no new substance to it.  And since it was wrong before, it remains wrong. It is Hahn’s own “Who is Oliver and Hardy?” performance.

There is no question that Hahn is glaring, louder, and more strident.  He first insults those who disagree with him, saying, “While I completely disagree with your doctrine of gender hierarchy, it has come to my attention that some of you have put even less thought into this than I previously believed,[5] and then he makes a grandiose claim for his case, boasting that he “asked the question, the question, that sounds the death knell for hierarchical complementarianism: ‘If Paul and Peter were teaching male headship as complementarians say, where did this doctrine come from?’[6]  He even writes the question in blue, which can certainly be seen as the graphic equivalent of glaring.  And in case we missed it the first time, he reasserts that

the question will ultimately destroy hierarchichal complementarianism.[7]

Now, Hahn asked this same question previously, and his “death knell” question was shown to be a paper tiger.  He answered his own question,

Logically there are only two options: they either started it as a new thing, or they got it from someplace else.[8]

Hahn tried to argue that neither option is viable.  Regarding the first option, he maintained that Paul and Peter could not be teaching a new doctrine because “nobody would believe that, and more importantly, that doesn’t fit the teaching style of either apostle.  The apostles were careful to build on the established foundation.[9]

Regarding the second, he claimed that such a foundation must be found in the first few chapters of the Bible, because

Every important biblical concept begins with the foundations laid in the first few chapters of Genesis.[10]

But, Hahn continued, there is no such foundation found in the early chapters of Genesis – save Genesis 3:16, which is after the Fall – or, for that matter, anywhere else in the Old Testament.  That, then, is his death knell argument.

Now, we previously demolished Hahn’s entire argument, showing that every point on which it is built is wrong.  He claims that the New Testament teaching of “gender hierarchy” must either be new or built on Old Testament foundations, and it cannot be new and it is not built on OT foundations.  Wrong; regarding his first option, we pointed out that the NT gives all sorts of new teachings, so the idea that this teaching cannot be new is a non-starter, which, of course, stultifies even the title of Hahn’s article: “If Complementarianism is New, it Cannot be True.[11]  It most certainly can be true – and it is.

As to the second option, Hahn claimed there was no Old Testament foundation for it.  Wrong; we showed that there is indeed a clear foundation in the OT, such as the all-male Levitical priesthood.  He further claimed that such an important doctrine must certainly be clearly taught (“a clear, unambiguous statement” was the standard he demanded[12]) in the first few chapters of Genesis.  Wrong; we showed several examples of crucial doctrines that are not taught in those chapters, let alone with “clear, unambiguous statements”, including priesthood, the Messiah, the church, and, indeed, Jesus Himself.[13]

How does Hahn attempt to get around these obviously fatal objections to his theory?  It is interesting, if nothing else.  Regarding the first option, viz. that Paul and Peter were teaching a new doctrine of male headship, Hahn writes,

I confess, I poo-pooed the first option.  I didn’t take it seriously, and only mentioned it at all in order to cover all my rhetorical bases … I didn’t think anybody would believe that.[14]

Then he laments that I

devote[d] 10 of his 31 paragraphs[15] to prove that the Holy Spirit could have inspired the Biblical writers to introduce new doctrine whenever He wanted.  And in fact, the Lord did introduce new doctrine throughout the Bible.  As John mentioned in the comments, it’s called “progressive revelation.”

Well, yes.  But I thought everyone already knew that.  Seriously.

And I’m really sorry John devoted nearly a third of his blog post to state the obvious.[16]

Fascinating; in the span of a few lines, Hahn goes from admitting that he “poo-pooed” the idea that Paul and Peter were bringing a new doctrine because he “didn’t think anybody would believe that” to admitting that the Lord did do that very thing and that he thought “everyone already knew that” and that I was “stat[ing] the obvious.”  In fact, Hahn baldly states that

Yes, it is true. God could inspire the Biblical writers to introduce new doctrine at any time.[17]

Uh-oh! Hahn is in trouble now; if it is “obvious” and everyone already knows that God indeed “did introduce new doctrine throughout the Bible,” then the idea that Paul and Peter introduced new doctrine about male headship is certainly viable and in keeping with God’s practice in Scripture.  To use Hahn’s word, this is obvious and so there is no justification for “poo-poo[ing]” the doctrine as Hahn carelessly did.

What can Hahn do now?  He must resort to special pleading, asserting in another “Who is Oliver and Hardy” moment that

the way this brother sees it, a view that says male over female authority was newly introduced by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 11 makes the Bible message incoherent.[18]

Now, since Hahn has already admitted that it is “obvious” that “God could inspire the Biblical writers to introduce new doctrine at any time” and that God indeed “did introduce new doctrine throughout the Bible,” then there is absolutely no reason to plead that it would be incoherent in this case; this is special pleading writ large.

To make it clearer, God replaced the Mosaic covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34) with a new covenant that is “not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt” and that is not incoherent, but teaching male headship in the home and church, from which nothing different was ever taught and for which there is plenty of precedent in the Old Testament,[19] should be considered incoherent?  The idea is utterly ridiculous.

Then in yet another “Who is Oliver and Hardy” moment, Hahn reasserts that

a view that says male over female authority was newly introduced by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 11 makes the Bible message incoherent, and so-called ‘complementarianism’ would become obviously untenable and very short-lived as a result.[20]

Now, this is not a matter of opinion; it is testableWas complementarianism very short-lived?  Had it been, there would be nothing for Hahn to be debating now, would there?  How does he miss something so glaringly obvious?  Especially, how does he miss it in light of the fact that it was already pointed out to him previously: in saying this, he has already stultified himself, as there is no doubt about the fact that male headship was universally believed and accepted, a reality against which egalitarians constantly rail”?[21]

And the beat continues.  We come to another “Who is Oliver and Hardy” moment, when Hahn again insists that

all the top complementarians continually try to imagine that God introduced gender hierarchy in Genesis 1-2, because if it isn’t there, it doesn’t exist at all in the Old Testament, Gospels or Acts.[22]

He made this point previously, and it was debunked previously, and restating it with a glare, more loudly and more stridently, does not make his error somehow become correct.

In fact, Hahn’s claim here is wrong it so many ways the mind boggles.  We have already pointed out that there are crucial doctrines in the Bible that are not introduced in Genesis 1-2 with “clear, unambiguous” statements,[23] which puts paid to this whole line of argument.  But if Hahn still wants to argue this way, let us reiterate that the concept of church and of a Messiah and Jesus Himself are not introduced with “clear, unambiguous” statements in Genesis1-2.

  • Would Hahn insist that if the church isn’t there in Genesis 1-2, it doesn’t exist at all in the Old Testament, Gospels or Acts?

  • Would Hahn insist that if the Messiah isn’t there in Genesis 1-2, it doesn’t exist at all in the Old Testament, Gospels or Acts?

  • Would Hahn insist that if Jesus isn’t there in Genesis 1-2, He doesn’t exist at all in the Old Testament, Gospels or Acts?

If so, there is no more reason even to listen to Hahn.  But if not, how can he apply this claim to the issue of male headship?  Ah, yes – special pleading.  Someone needs to tell Hahn that special pleading is a logical fallacy.

One should also remind Hahn that all of Scripture is authoritative and ask why he left the epistles out of this argument.  The epistles do explicitly teach male headship in the home (e.g. Colossians 3:18; 1 Timothy 2:12-14; 1 Peter 3:1-6)?  Does he understand that these are the words of the Lord and that we must obey them?

Hahn follows this up with more self-defeating nonsense.  He asks three times why, if male headship was so important, did God not reveal this until AD 55, and then he says,

First century husbands already had complete authority and control over their wives and households.  How is it that the Holy Spirit inspired Peter and Paul to inject into Christian doctrine a ‘new’ concept that was already prevalent in the secular culture of ancient Greece and Rome?[24]

So Hahn complains that God should have said it sooner, but then says that there is no need to say it at all if it is already prevalent in the culture!  Does he not see how he is refuting himself?  Male headship was “already prevalent” in every culture, so according to Hahn it need not be explicitly stated at all – which puts paid to his complaints that it was not stated earlier.  If something does not need to be stated, then it does not need to be stated earlier.

As an aside to those who want to think seriously about this issue, it should be obvious that the way in which the church is to live is not simply to ape secular culture, so, yes, there was a need to address male and female roles explicitly, as the New Testament does.  As to Hahn’s cavil, “why did God neglect telling this to mankind prior to AD 55? … Why would God wait half a generation after Christ to introduce such an essential witness?[25] one wonders whence Hahn got such a ludicrous idea.  Does he really think that apostles taught nothing orally until it was written down in Scripture?  If so, he needs to look at such passages as Colossians 2:7, 2 Thessalonians 2:15 and 2 Thessalonians 3:10 more carefully.[26]

Hahn then engages in another “Who is Oliver and Hardy” moment, asking “Where in the Old Testament do we find that?” as if that had not been asked and answered already.  The reader is invited to check our previous article to see the answer.  If Hahn wants more, there is plenty more; Numbers 30:6-8 is just one of many examples.

Here, though, Hahn completely cuts himself off at the knees, and it is difficult not to see his argument as being other than disingenuous.  He asked for a basis in the Old Testament; in his original article he averred

The complementarian crowd came up empty in the creation story. Perhaps later?  Moses, maybe in the 10 commandments, or some other law in the pentateuch?  Surely God would have told Moses to put something about it in the law, since it’s such an important part of God’s wonderful plan, right?  One would think. But no. Missed it there too.[27]

Yet when he is shown that God did in fact tell Moses “to put something about it in the law,Hahn immediately moves the goalpost that he himself had set and writes off what is in the Law as “patriarchy”![28]  So even God’s explicit commands count for nothing in this matter; all that we are supposed to think counts is “the way this brother [Hahn] sees it.[29]  So he asked for a basis in the OT, but when he is shown one he refuses to accept it, instead resorting to a breathtaking stacking of the deck (another logical fallacy) wherein only Genesis 1-2 counts, and the other 927 chapters of the OT are not to be taken into consideration.[30]

Yet by putting all of his eggs into the Genesis 1-2 basket, Hahn has shipwrecked his case, as we have already shown amply that it is not true that every important doctrine must be introduced in Genesis 1-2 with “clear, unambiguous” statements, as there are crucial doctrines in the Bible that were not so introduced.  If Hahn’s case had not already been dead in the water, he would certainly be killing it here.

Yet, as hard as it may be to believe, it gets worse.  Hahn goes on to bluster that

our patriarchal protagonists peck around Genesis 1 and 2, like hungry chickens scratching the bare ground for food, trying to find some way to make the case for God-established hierarchy in Eden.[31]

But it is the word of God that roots male headship in Genesis 1 and 2; it is the word of God that says, “And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve,” (1 Timothy 2:12-13), the word that is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16).  So it is the Holy Spirit that Hahn is accusing of scratching around like a hungry chicken to find a teaching that isn’t there; is this not blasphemy?  It is certainly a very high price to pay to avoid the clear Biblical teaching of male headship.

From blasphemy to absurdity: Hahn gripes that

Inevitably complementarians will turn to the New Testament chapters of First Corinthians 11 or First Timothy 2 to try to show the Old Testament basis for gender hierarchy.  (As John Tors did.)  But assuming what one wishes to prove and then using that assumption as evidence for the assumption is a logical fallacy known as circular reasoning.  That doesn’t prove anything.[32]

Actually, it certainly proves one thing, viz. that Hahn does not understand logic.  To accuse complementarians of turning to passages in the New Testament “to try to show the Old Testament basis for gender hierarchy [sic]” is a straw man (yet another logical fallacy).  Complementarians do not turn to the New Testament to try to show the OT basis for male headship; we turn to it to see what God explicitly commands Christians under the new covenant, which is the only responsible thing to do yet something Hahn steadfastly refuses to do.  In fact, the NT clearly ordains male headship in the home and the church (e.g. Colossians 3:18; Ephesians 5:21-24; 1 Peter 3:1-6; 1 Timothy 2:12-14, 3:1-4; 1 Corinthians 14:27-35) and it is passing strange that Hahn continues to ignore these, instead doubling down on his earlier errors.

And here comes yet another “Who is Oliver and Hardy” moment from Hahn, who re-asserts that

Genesis 3:16 tells us that from that day forward we can expect men to rule over women.[33]

As we pointed out in our previous article, this is not what Genesis 3:16 tells us.  A careful exegesis of this verse shows that what it says is that “from that day forward” (i.e. subsequent to the fall), women would resent male headship and seek to gain control over men.[34]  Hahn makes no attempt to respond to this exegesis, but simply reasserts his claim, as if restating an error would magically make it become not an error.

Apropos to this, Hahn stultifies himself yet again by claiming that complementarians “have no scripture that supports their understanding of Paul and Peter.[35]  In fact, it is not a matter of our “understanding” of Paul and Peter but of what they explicitly say in Scripture, and that is a clear teaching of male headship in the home and church.  If Hahn wants to deny this, the burden of proof is on him to show that a different understanding of the passages we’ve adduced is even possible, let alone preferable to their plain sense; this he does not even attempt to do, preferring instead to ignore them and hope others will acquiesce to that obviously wrongheaded approach.  We will, of course, not do so, nor will any thinking person.

As to looking to the NT to find a basis in the OT for male headship, complementarians do no such thing; unlike Hahn, we look at the NT to find out what it ordains in this matter for Christians.  We assume nothing about the OT, but we do note as we look at these NT passages that the Holy Spirit speaking through Paul does base the teaching of male headship on creation order (1 Timothy 2:12-13).  This is not an assumption, but a statement of fact from God Himself – or does Hahn now want to accuse God of circular reasoning?

Conclusion

Hahn’s conceit that “the question will bring down complementarianism” is a pipe-dream, without any hope of succeeding with anyone who thinks at all about the issue; his approach is even weaker than the usual egalitarian gambits.  It is not surprising that Hahn begins and ends this piece with his “Who is Oliver and Hardy” approach, stating again what he said before, but more loudly and stridently and with glaring this time,

If complementarianism is new, it cannot be true.

It was egregiously wrong the first time he said it and, as we have seen, it remains egregiously wrong now.  An error that is said again, more loudly and stridently and with glaring, remains an error.

Summary

According to Greg Hahn, male headship was either a new doctrine taught by Paul and Peter or it had to have a basis in the Old Testament, and it cannot have been a new doctrine, he maintains, even coming up with a cute rhyme:

If complementarianism is new, it cannot be true.

But wait; why can it not be true?  (Uh-oh! Someone’s looked beyond the cute rhyme!)

Hahn maintains it cannot have been new because (a) no one would have believed it and so it would have been short-lived; and (b) it does not fit the teaching style of these apostles.

But wait; both of Hahn’s arguments are demonstrably wrong. (a) It was certainly believed and universally practiced and not noticeably challenged until the 20th century – and this is a matter of historical record – and (b) Both apostles did bring in new teachings, so this would certainly fit their teaching styles.

Hahn concedes that new doctrines could be taught and were taught throughout the Bible.  He makes no attempt to challenge the refutations of his points (a) and (b); one would hope it is because he realizes these refutations are unassailable.

But then why could this doctrine not have been new and true?  All Hahn can offer is that “the way this brother [Hahn] sees it,[36] it would make the Bible incoherent.  It should be obvious that at this point it is game over for Hahn; since this brother” Hahn’s personal opinions are not a valid basis (or any sort of basis) for Biblical exegesis, he has no more argument left against male headship being a new and valid doctrine.  His bluster that “If complementarianism is new, it cannot be true” has thus been shown to be nonsense.  Q.E.D.

Hahn insisted that if this doctrine is true, it must have a basis in the Old Testament, in the early chapters of Genesis or in the Law of Moses or elsewhere in the OT.  While we have shown in the previous point that that requirement is false, we did in fact show such a basis in the OT, specifically in the Law of Moses, the very thing for which Hahn asked.

Hahn then moved the goalposts; although he himself asked for a basis in the Law of Moses, when presented with such a basis he ruled it out, saying it was simply based on patriarchy.  So when his own challenge was met, he repudiated his own challenge.  Instead, he insisted, the basis must be shown in Genesis 1-2, and it must be shown by clear, unambiguous statements, and that is not the case for this doctrine.

This requirement was shown to be clearly bogus, inasmuch as there are many crucially important doctrines that are not introduced in Genesis 1-2 with clear, unambiguous statements, so there is no reason that this particular doctrine of male headship must be so introduced.  Therefore, the second half of Hahn’s case is also bogus, and he has nothing left to stand against the true doctrine of male headship in the home and church.  Q.E.D.

Through it all, Hahn has steadfastly refused to look at the relevant passages in the NT about this issue, preferring instead a lineup of logical errors in regard to these.  (My personal favourite is his argumentum ad ignoratiam, which comes down to “We don’t have to accept what passages such as 1 Timothy 2:12-14 say because you can’t prove they don’t mean something else!”[37]  It doesn’t get better than that.)

In sum, then, “this brother” Hahn’s case is built on faulty logic, special pleading, stacking the deck, writing off what God says in the OT as patriarchy, and a steadfast refusal even to look at what the relevant passages say.  It obviously fails to make its case and is really not worth taking into any further consideration.


APPENDIX

In his first article, Hahn insisted that if complementarianism is true, it must have a basis early in Genesis because, he insisted,

Every important biblical concept begins with the foundations laid in the first few chapters of Genesis.  And look at the many clear and unambiguous statements in Genesis 1-2![38]

It is important to note that Hahn himself set the standard of proof as requiring “clear and unambiguous statements; he acknowledged that there are “evidences” and “more or less obvious hints” about male headship in the creation account, but insisted that

You don’t establish major doctrine like that on ‘a series of more or less obvious hints.’  You need an unequivocal statement of fact.[39]

We demolished Hahn’s claim by pointing out four “important biblical concepts (there are more than four, of course) that are not introduced with “clear and unambiguous statements or “an unequivocal statement of fact”: the priesthood, the concept of Messiah, the concept of the church, and Jesus Himself. Q.E.D.

How does Hahn try to get around this?  First, he writes,

But the Messiah (and therefore Jesus) was introduced in Genesis 3, and the concept of the priesthood in Genesis 14. So three of the four follow perfectly with what I said.[40]

Is this meant to be taken seriously?  Where was the Messiah introduced in Genesis 3?  The only possible hint is in Genesis 3:15, but that is a “more or less obvious hint”; it is certainly not “an unequivocal statement of fact,” the standard set by Hahn.

Nor can he tie an introduction to the concept of Messiah to Jesus, as he attempts; the two were listed separately for a reason.  A messiah (literally “anointed”) is one who is appointed to a special task or position by God.  In Jesus we see much more; He is the incarnate Son of God who was the atoning sacrifice for us and who rose from the dead.  Where is any of that even hinted at in the early chapters of Genesis, let alone introduced with “clear and unambiguous statements or “an unequivocal statement of fact”?[41]

As for Hahn’s avowal that the concept of priesthood was introduced in Genesis 14 (and he’s not exactly in Genesis 1-2, or the early chapters of the book anymore), that is not quite so.  Genesis 14 certainly introduces Melchizedek “the priest of God Most High” (Genesis 14:18b) but Abraham and the other patriarchs continue to build their own altars and make their own sacrifices without any priestly intermediary.  If anything, this obscures the important concept of priesthood rather than offering “clear and unambiguous statements” about it.

Hahn boasts that “three of the four follow perfectly with what I said,[42] but in fact the polar opposite obtains.  As we have seen, he insisted that “You don’t establish major doctrine like [male headship] on ‘a series of more or less obvious hints.’  You need an unequivocal statement of fact- especially in a foundational passage that is literally filled with such factual statements,[43] and yet for these three major doctrines, all he could point to was “more or less obvious hints”; he could not show a clear, unambiguous, unequivocal statement for any of them.  So how can he say that “three of the four follow perfectly with what I said[44] with a straight face?  All he is doing is resorting to an unacceptable double standard to try to maintain his untenable view about complementarianism.

Hahn digs himself in deeper when he attempts to explain away the fourth example, saying,

As for the church, the need for the church was built upon the foundations laid in Genesis 3.  The fact that the church itself wasn’t introduced as a concept until a logical point in the Bible story shouldn’t be surprising.  And THAT is the point–1 Corinthians is NOT a logical point in the story for the introduction of male rule as God’s design.[45]

Hahn set the bar at “clear, unambiguous statements,” but now regarding the church, not only is there no “clear, unambiguous statement” in the early chapters of Genesis, there aren’t even “more or less obvious hints“!  He pleads that “the need for the church was built upon the foundations laid in Genesis 3” – or so he says – but he has utterly failed to locate the concept of church, rather than a supposed need for it, in the early chapters of Genesis.  He has again failed his own test.

Hahn tries to salvage this by arguing that “The fact that the church itself wasn’t introduced as a concept until a logical point in the Bible story shouldn’t be surprising[46] whereas “1 Corinthians is NOT a logical point in the story for the introduction of male rule as God’s design.[47]

Now, we have already seen that male headship was there from the very beginning of Genesis in the form of “more or less obvious hints,and after what Hahn has just done about the priesthood, Messiah, and Jesus, he can no longer even pretend that this is not enough.  More importantly, the word of God itself tells us explicitly that male headship was based on the creation order (1 Timothy 2:12-13), and God’s explicit word trumps “the way this brother [Hahn] sees it.

But what is particularly risible here is that Hahn seems to have overlooked the fact that what is in 1 Corinthians 11 (and the other relevant passages we have adduced) are instructions for how the church is to live and behave.  So Hahn is telling us that though it is not surprising that the church was introduced at a “logical point in the Bible story,” that is, long after Genesis, the rules for the church should have been introduced far earlier; he intimates that it is “NOT a logical point in the story” to introduce the rules for the church after the church itself has been introduced.  This is surely a sui generis definition of logic.

In sum, then, Hahn’s attempt to get around yet another fatal problem for his theory fails dismally.  He had insisted that, “Every important biblical concept begins with the foundations laid in the first few chapters of Genesis[48] and that these foundations must be laid by means of “clear, unambiguous statements.”  However, we showed that there are crucial doctrines that are not so introducedHahn’s attempt to dispute this is clearly an utter failure.  (And here is another one for Hahn: resurrection. Where is that introduced with “clear, unambiguous statements” in the first few chapters of Genesis?)  His case remains dead in the water.

Hahn ends his footnote by saying,

Something else was clearly happening there, and there are much more viable alternatives. (e.g. see Phillip Payne, Man and Woman, One in Christ).[49]

There is no alternative, let alone a viable one, to what the text actually says.  It is completely disingenuous to make up out of whole cloth an imaginary historical context for the churches to whom Paul wrote and then to use that fiction to deny what is clearly taught in the text itself (yet this is what many complementarianism deniers do).  The only real choice is whether to obey or not.

Finally, in answer to Phillip Payne’s nonsense, and that promoted by other deniers of complementarianism, I recommend Wayne Grudem’s book Evangelical Feminism & Biblical Truth: An Analysis of More than 100 Disputed Questions.[50]  In it every argument against male headship in the home and church is thoroughly demolished.  Women in the Church: A Fresh Analysis of 1 Timothy 2:9-15[51] is also recommended, for those who want to know the truth about this matter.


Endnotes

[1] Oliver was Hardy’s first name

[2] Hahn, Greg. “The Complementarian Emperor is Shamefully Underdressed.” Posted at https://thisbrother.wordpress.com/2015/03/18/the-complementarian-emperor-is-shamefully-underdressed/

[3] Tors, John. “Which Emperor Has No Clothes? A Response to Greg Hahn’s Attack on Complementarianism” at https://truthinmydays.com/which-emperor-has-no-clothes-a-response-to-greg-hahns-attack-on-complementarianism/

[4] Hahn, Greg. “If Complementarianism is New, it Cannot be True.” Posted on November 9, 2015, at https://thisbrother.wordpress.com/2015/11/09/if-complementarianism-is-new-it-cannot-be-true/

[5] ibid.  We’ll leave it to others who read both his article and ours to judge who has failed to put thought into his case.

[6] ibid.  (Italics, underlining, and use of blue his.)

[7] ibid.  (Bolding his.)

[8] Hahn, “The Complementarian Emperor”

[9] ibid.

[10] ibid.

[11] Hahn, “If Complementarianism is New”

[12] Hahn, “The Complementarian Emperor”

[13] Hahn tries to get around this problem, but he is forced to resort to special pleading and so fails utterly.  His attempt is discussed in the Appendix.

[14] Hahn, “If Complementarianism is New”

[15] It was actually three paragraphs, not ten.

[16] Hahn, “If Complementarianism is New.”  (Bolding and underlining his.)

[17] ibid.

[18] ibid.

[19] Hahn described these as “‘A series of more or less obvious hints’” (he borrowed the term – mockingly – from Raymond Ortlund), though, as we saw, they are rather more than that.

[20] ibid.

[21] Tors, “Which Emperor Has No Clothes?” op. cit.

[22] Hahn, “If Complementarianism is New”

[23] And Hahn, you recall, insisted that it had to be introduced with “clear, unambiguous” statements; “‘A series of more or less obvious hints’,” he says, is not enough.

[24] Hahn, “If Complementarianism is New”

[25] ibid.

[26] 2 Thessalonians 3:10 is a “smoking gun” example of a doctrine that is recorded in Scripture for the first time here but was certainly taught orally prior to the time at which it was written.

[27] Hahn, “The Complementarian Emperor”

[28] Hahn, “If Complementarianism is New”

[29] ibid.

[30] One can scarcely comprehend the sort of lunacy that went into Hahn’s statement: “Or they will point to examples of patriarchy in the Old Testament.  (As John Tors did.)  But again, everyone already knows that patriarchy was prevalent in the days of the Old Testament. Genesis 3:16 tells us that from that day forward we can expect men to rule over women.  But where in the Old Testament does God give a commandment or precept that establishes male rule as His design or his perfect will?  It’s not there.  Anyplace.  Again, they have no scripture that supports their understanding of Paul and Peter.” (ibid.)  So Hahn asks for a place in the Old Testament in which God gives “a command or precept that establishes male rule as His design or his perfect will,” is shown such commands, denies them on the basis that this is merely due to patriarchy, and then asks again for such a command, and insists there are none such!  But what would be the point to showing him more of them, inasmuch as he just writes them off as patriarchy?  He has simply unilaterally ruled out of bounds the very evidence he is demanding.  One would ask how Hahn knows that these are all based on patriarchy rather than being God’s “design” and “perfect will.”  Oh, wait; no doubt it is because this is “the way this brother [Hahn] sees it.”  That and $3.25 will get you a caramel macchiato at Starbucks – with “the way this brother [Hahn] sees it” just along for the ride.

[31] Hahn, “If Complementarianism is New”

[32] ibid.  (Underlining his.)

[33] ibid.

[34] Tors, “Which Emperor Has No Clothes?” op. cit.

[35] Hahn, “If Complementarianism is New”

[36] ibid.

[37] This is not a quote from Hahn, of course, but it does seem to me to represent his position fairly.

[38] Hahn, “The Complementarian Emperor”

[39] ibid.

[40] Hahn, “If Complementarianism is New”

[41] The most one could do is point to the fact that animals were sacrificed but that is at best a very oblique hint of what the Messiah would do.  To argue that because Abraham nearly sacrificed his son introduces the fact that God would sacrifice His own Son, the Messiah, would be an even more oblique hint at best.

[42] Hahn, “If Complementarianism is New”

[43] Hahn, “The Complementarian Emperor”

[44] Hahn, “If Complementarianism is New”

[45] ibid.  (Bolding and block capitals his.)

[46] ibid.

[47] ibid.

[48] Hahn, “The Complementarian Emperor”

[49] Hahn, “If Complementarianism is New”

[50] Grudem, Wayne. Evangelical Feminism & Biblical Truth: An Analysis of More than 100 Disputed Questions. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2014.

[51] Köstenberger, Andreas J., Thomas R. Schreiner, and H. Scott Baldwin. Eds. Women in the Church: A Fresh Analysis of 1 Timothy 2:9-15. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1995

Comments: 2

  1. TL says:

    Whoever you are you do write well. Your footnotes are well researched. And you are confidant in your ability to research and find out the truth.

    However, at first glance you do appear to do the same things you so strongly accuse Hahn of doing. Also, I didn’t see any true exegesis of Scripture going on here. My guess, though not knowing you I could be wrong, is that you have held this view of women long before you became a Christian.

    • John Tors says:

      Thank you for your feedback. It should be noted that this article was designed specifically to be a response (a surrejoinder, really) to Greg Hahn’s blogpost. It was not meant to be a comprehensive discussion on women’s roles in the church. For true exegesis of Scripture on this matter, please see our article “Women and Church Leadership: An Inquiry and a Response to Pastor Keith A. Smith’s ‘Can Christian Women be Pastors and Preachers?’” (https://truthinmydays.com/women-and-church-leadership-an-inquiry-and-a-response-to-pastor-keith-a-smiths-can-christian-women-be-pastors-and-preachers/).

      Regarding your statement that I appear to do the same things as those of which I accuse Hahn, if you could be specify what those things are, I could look into it.

      Finally, regarding your suggestion that I held this view of women long before I became a Christian, I did not even think about such things before I became a Christian. However, as a Christian who sees the Bible as the fully authoritative and sole rule of faith and practice for the church, I do have to understand what it says and follow it in this matter. That is what I am endeavouring to do.

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