Josiah Audette

"Aware of the past, curious about the future, ready to argue the present." Tocqueville

Month: June, 2013

Patriarchal Society

INTRODUCTION

I am honored that providence has it for me to speak on Father’s day. I am also humbled because I am a young man who is not yet a father, but nonetheless finds himself speaking to father’s now.

In recognition of this day which honors fathers, the subject of this lecture will be on the Biblical tenants, principles, and theology of Patriarchy. We will begin by defining Biblical Patriarchy according what the Scripture’s say. From there we will review the Biblical authority, spheres of jurisdiction, and dominion mandates of Patriarchs. Furthermore we will review the historical and modern positions on Patriarchy, both those which hold the Biblical thesis and those which are in direct antithesis to the Scripture’s order. And finally we will analyze how these positions have risen and fallen in God’s ordained providence throughout Western Civilization.

TENETS OF BIBLICAL PATRIARCHY

It is essential to affirm the first chapters of Genesis to be an authoritative, infallible, and clear record of how God created the universe in order to understand what defines us as men and women. If this first and imperative tenet is not upheld, our foundation of knowledge is compromised and our judgment prescribed for egregious error. Not only the understanding of men and women is at stake, but moreover the integrity of Scripture and the effectualness of Christ’s redemption on the cross is jeopardized.

IMAGO DEI

In Genesis we see that man and women were created in what theologians refer to as the doctrine of “Imago Dei”, that is “The image of God.” Genesis 1:26 states, “God said, Let us make man in our image according to our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the heaven, and over the beasts, and over all the earth, and over everything that creepeth and moveth on the earth. Thus God created man in his image, in the image of God created he him: he created them male and female.” The image of God defines us, and is an inescapable character of all the human race through all generations. This image is what distinguishes us from every other created being, both living and extinct. The term “image” denotes an object which is engraved, impressed, reflects, and mirrors. In declaring that mankind was made in the image of God, it concludes that we are the engraved impression of God, that we resemble, reflect, and mirror the one true God. We reflect the image of God in our knowledge, righteousness, and holiness. “And put on the new man, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness and of the truth.” Ephesians 4:24. Men and women were created with the sufficient knowledge of God, created in an upright standing with God and his law, and created wholly set apart to God alone. The doctrine of Imago Dei affirms that men and women are of equal worth as beings in the image of God.

ONTOLOGICAL EQUALITY AND ECONOMIC SUBORDINATION

This is a doctrinal statement which has historically been attributed to the Holy Trinity. Stating, that the three Persons of the Godhead are equal beings in worth and glory, but have different offices and roles in subordination to one another. This puritanical statement is remarkably concise as well to the relation of men and women. Adam and Eve were both created equal in the image of God and both given mandate of exercising Godly dominion over the earth. In fulfilling the dominion mandate, God ordained men and women with different roles as part of His creation order.

CREATION ORDER

First, Adam was the sole person to exercise the dominion mandate. But God, in his glorious will, determined that it was not wholly perfect and good for Adam to be alone. Therefore he created woman from Adam, for Adam, and with Adam. Both were created for a purpose, both were created by divine activity, both were created for each other, and both define each other. With the creation of Eve, Adam was given the economic role of headship in the execution of the dominion mandate. “But I will that ye know, that Christ is the head of every man: and the man is the woman’s head: and God is Christ’s head.” 1 Corinthians 11:3.

HEADSHIP

Genesis establishes man as head by the end of the second chapter. Headship was given to man first by God’s order of creating Adam before Eve (Gen 2:7), by God commissioning Adam with dominion over all the earth before Eve (Gen 2:16-17), by God giving the role of Adam’s help-meet to Eve (Gen 2:18), by Eve being named by and after Adam (Gen 2:23), by Adam having charge for establishing marriage (Gen 2:24), and by the human race being designated after Adam’s name (Gen 5:2). Furthermore, man’s headship resides in several spheres by God’s authority and design as revealed to us in Scripture. Moreover, these roles were established before sin entered the world. They were the perfect will of God and the perfect expression of manhood and womanhood, masculinity and femininity. Although sin eventually did enter the world, yet the relationship of men and women did not change. Sin had distorted the perfection of their union, but redemption in Christ enabled the attaining more and more of God’s original creation order.

HEAD OF THE WIFE

The union of Adam and Eve was that of two becoming one flesh. It was created by God and here He established the institution of marriage. “Therefore shall man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be one flesh.” Genesis 2:24. In marriage the husband is to be head of his wife just as Christ is head over his bride, the church. “For the husband is the wife’s head, even as Christ is the head of the Church.” Ephesians 5:23. Man’s headship over the wife reflects to the world something of Christ’s perfect headship over his glorious bride, the Church. Furthermore Man’s headship in the marriage union is necessary in advancing the Lordship of Christ on the earth. With Adam and Eve, God established the marriage order and man’s headship therein. Marriage is a dominion union to reflect God’s image and exercise God’s purpose on earth.

PATRIARCH OF THE FAMILY

From marriage, patriarchy begins in the home and it is from here that man’s headship is confirmed and advanced. Husbands and fathers are to be the patriarchs of their households in raising them up with the fear and instruction of the Lord. Man is called to be the primary family leader, “One that ruleth his own house honestly, having children under obedience with all honesty.” 1 Timothy 3:4. He is called to be the primary family provider, “If there be any that provideth not for his own, and namely for them of his household, he denieth the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” 1 Timothy 5:8. He is called to be the primary family protector, “Holding fast the faithful word according to doctrine, that he may be able to exhort with wholesome doctrine, and convince them that say against it… Whose mouths must be stopped, which subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.” Titus 1:9-11. He is called to be the primary family teacher, “And ye, fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in instruction and information of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4.

PATRIARCH IN THE CHURCH

Male headship in the home furthermore carries over into the Church, where only men given the authority by Scripture to hold offices. “This is a true saying, If any man desire the office of a Bishop, he desireth a worthy work.” 1 Timothy 3:1. “Let the Deacons be the husband of one wife, and such as can rule their children well, and their households.” 1 Timothy 3:12. And negatively, “Let the women learn in silence with all subjection. I permit not a woman to teach, neither to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” 1 Timothy 2:11-12. Men are given the authority to faithfully teach the Word of God, “Preach the word: be instant, in season, and out of season, improve, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” 2 Timothy 4:2. Men are given the authority in the Church to rule as qualified elders, deacons, and leaders. Again, “This is a true saying, If any man desire the office of a Bishop, he desireth a worthy work.” 1 Timothy 3:1. Men are given the authority to exercise Church discipline. “Wherefore convince them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith.” Titus 1:13. Men are given the authority to administer the sacraments of the Lord’s Supper and Baptism. “For I have received of the Lord that which I also have delivered unto you, to wit, That the Lord Jesus in the night when he was betrayed, took bread. And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: do this in remembrance of me.”

HEAD IN THE STATE

Within society there are three coexisting institutions. The Family, the Church, and the State. Scripture teaches that man’s headship exists in all three spheres. Although man’s eligibility to lead in the latter two jurisdictions are dependent upon his prior record of headship within the sphere of the home. As the keeper of the sword, the State is upholder of a nation’s law, punishment, and peace. Having the keys of the Christ’s Kingdom,  the Church is the central and defining institution in society. Finally, being the basic social unit, the family is the foundational society. Scripture being sufficient for all of life, reveals to us God’s design and will for the state with its selection of civil magistrates. “Moreover, provide thou among all the people men of courage, fearing God, men dealing truly, hating covetousness: and appoint such over them.. And let them judge the people at all seasons.” Exodus 18:21. Men such as Moses appointed, “Bring you men of wisdom and of understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you.” Deuteronomy 1:13. Next to these specific examples is the resounding testimony of Scripture  speaking throughout in story, principle, and example of Kings and of men as civil leaders of the state. Scripture’s clear and repeated testimony reveals the order of headship applies to the three spheres of government. Family, Church, and State.

PATRIARCHY

We learn then from Scripture that God’s creation order is a patriarchal society. God has established a hierarchical order between the man and the woman in family, church, and state. God has given men authority to exercise headship and dominion in the home “For the husband is the wife’s head.” Eph 5:23, in the Church, “I permit not a woman to teach, neither to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” and in society, “Bring you men of wisdom and of understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you.” Deuteronomy 1:13. Men having headship as patriarchs in these three spheres of government are to exercise godly dominion within them for the advancement of the Lordship of Christ on earth.

COMPLEMENTARIANISM

Due to our limitation in time I will be reviewing only one other commonly held antithesis position regarding the created order in between man and women. While on the extreme there is Social Darwinism, Feminism, and Egalitarianism, the most commonly held position in the evangelical Church is Complementarianism. Complementarianism is a nice, friendly word to most Christian couples. In this doctrinal concept God has indeed granted man authority or headship over the woman, and furthermore men and women do have distinct roles in the Gospel work. In so fulfilling these roles, men and women complement each other. Complementarianism would be much the same as the Hierarchical  or Patriarchal view, but for the fact that it denies male headship in the third sphere of government, namely, the state. For the complementarian when it comes to the third sphere of social and civil government they deny the headship of man and embrace egalitarianism as the divine order. The logical inconsistency of gaining a women prime minister, but heaven forbidding a female paster is rooted in the simple denial of the creation order. As stated in the beginning of this lecture, the first chapters of Genesis are crucial. The creation order is the comprehensive idea of everything being both determined by and subject to the will of God. Therefore if man is to believe and live in accordance to God’s will he must first embrace the creation order God has placed him within. We are not at liberty to establish our own order, but only to submit to God’s. The successful fulfillment of God’s dominion mandate is based on the full acceptance of the creation order. And if the creation order has indeed established man’s headship, than it is man’s headship which must exist in family, church, and state. Complementarianism in denying the third sphere of headship is wrong by Scripture, but a full complementarianism, a three-sphere complementarianism/hierarchical/patriarchal concept of the creation order is the one which actually complements Scripture.

CONFUSION OF CREATION ORDER

As stated earlier, while sin did not change the creation order it did bring distortion. “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly increase thy sorrows, and thy conceptions. In sorrow shalt thou bring forth children, and thy desire shall be subject to thine husband, and he shall rule over thee.” Genesis 3:16. Instead of being content with the Creation Order the woman will seek to emancipate and usurp the man’s authority, and in response the man will harshly rule over her rather than in love. This distortion has been dramatically active in the last two centuries. In the beginning of the nineteenth and even twentieth century men were Christian patriarchs in the home, church, and state. Men and women saw their place in the Creation Order and lived in accordance with it. Men were patriarchs of the home. Patriarchs which saw children as gift of God and looked to Scripture as their authoritative guide on issues of procreation. Patriarchs were the primary educators of their households, establishing in their children a Biblical wordview with Biblical methodology. Christians parents did not send their children to the state education system since education was not a God-ordained function of government. Patriarchs built a an age-integrated Family, Church, Social base for the training and socialization of their children. Patriarchs lead their sons and daughters in building godly marriages. Patriarchs had a multi-generational, hierarchical vision for their families and the advancement of the Lordship of Christ. Patriarchs were active as civil magistrates in building a godly society.

Then came May 5 of 1912 in New York City. Two marches were taking place at the same time just four blocks apart. One was the funeral procession of the famed John Jacob Astor, the richest man to perish on the Titanic and the very one who gave his seat on the life boat to a third class washer woman. The other march, was one of the first universal suffragette marches led by Margaret Sanger (Founder of Planned Parenthood) along with John Dewey (Founder of the modern state education system). May 5, 1912 highlighted the contrast between the new suffragette, feminist, egalitarian social vision versus the Christian chivalric ethic the Patriarchal creation order. Egalitarianism began to eclipse Patriarchy. The contrast of the two creation orders couldn’t be more opposing. One newspaper wrote the following poem based on the May 5 marches.

“Votes for women!” was the cry,

Reaching upward to the sky,

Crashing glass and flashing eye,

“Votes for women!” was the cry.

“Boats for women!” was the cry,

When the brave were come to die,

When the end was drawing nigh,

“Boats for women!” was the cry.

By 1912 the Patriarchal society was setting and by 1914 with the commencement of the first World War, the Patriarchs left the home. In the Second World War the women left the home, and after the War the children left the home. But they are starting to return. Patriarchs of the modern day are raising up the next generation of patriarchs and help-meets for the glory of God. This father’s day is to remember them. How each of them came to embrace God’s creation order for themselves, and how each of them cry “Boats for Women!” each and every day. My prayer for them, is that they may exercise godly headship as Godward patriarchs in their family, church, and state.

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Victory & Hope

The following is an article I composed last year in a lecture I was scheduled to give. In the end I never did share this specific article, but another in its place on the Westminster Catechism.

DOOM & GLOOM

These days everything is doom and gloom for Christians. Among the many of the professing evangelical populace presides the regrettable notion that the world is in such an awful state of wickedness that there is positively no hope for recovery. These people may very will dismiss reformed theology with as much adamancy as the pope, but they preach the “Total depravity” of the world more tenaciously than Calvin would have himself. These are men who see a devil behind every bush, and the antichrist in every politician. These impoverished souls are born crying, live complaining, and die disappointed.

To heap misery upon misery, it is passively assumed that the Church in North America will undergo grim persecution from the hand of Satan through tyrannical men in political, economic, and military power. All that these miserable wretches can behold is the markets of the whole world crashing down around them, Harold Camping’s legions raving about the impending universal apocalypse, the Middle East in one of it’s greatest showdowns, Iran close to getting the nuclear bomb… essentially the world spinning off it’s axis. The only dim light of hope which remains to be cherished in this darkened universe is the glow of the TV screen during the FOX news commentary.

Moreover, the only plausible solution to such a dire predicament, the only thing which will save the spiritual existence of this tattered and bruised remnant of the Church is, namely, the rapture. The trick is just to survive until it comes. To accomplish such a feat one must perform a string of deterrents such as avoiding living in a densely populated city like the black plague, reckon the internet to be the personal creation of the devil, and raise goats in your back yard for milk and cheese when the time comes that Superstore is finally overrun by militant temporary workers. Our panties are in a terrible wad.

WHAT HAVE WE DONE?

Enough of the polemics, I have simply described in unambiguous witticisms a terribly paralyzing theology which is all to common in our day. This theology has affected many in their views of the world and faith – or should I rephrase that with “The world or faith?” The question aught to be asked “What have we done?” Could it be that we have surrendered the world to the devil? This theology of surrender of our day has manifested itself in numerous ways, ways which are certainly not new under the sun.

This disavowing of the “World” as evil and base with the solitary embracing of the “Spiritual” as holy was first taught by Plato – although it is a sin as old as Adam. Neoplatonism envisages the human soul rising above the imperfect material world through virtue and contemplation toward transcendent knowledge. Separating the physical from the spiritual reared its ugly head also in the Apostle John’s time through Gnosticism. The 2nd century heresy/cult of Gnosticism conjectured that the world was created and ruled by a lesser demiurge, and that Christ was an emissary of the remote supreme divine being. Redeeming the human spirit, in Gnosticism, is enabled through esoteric knowledge of this supreme being. Consequentially you have the glorification of the mind and soul while dismissing the world and all in it. Through the next five centuries the prevailing heresy was Manichaeism. Manichaeism was also a dualistic heresy, which explained evil as a result of God abdicating dominion over the earth and Satan capturing it in rebellion. Obviously, from the 7th to current century a multitude of dualistic heresies – time forbids me to give an account for each – have arisen. Heresies such as asceticism, quietism, sectarianism, antinomianism, and pietism. Each of these historic notions have glorified the spiritual – to varying degrees – all at the expense of disavowing the world.

WHO’S THE KING?

Yet, fundamental to all of these notions is that they lead to surrender. In our day we have unreservedly surrendered the material for the spiritual exclusively. We have surrendered our Christian hope of victory in favor of a withdrawal from conflict into spiritual exercises and “rapture” oriented lifestyles. Vexed by this dualistic tension we either surrender to the world, or flee from it, or do both. Now to our own defense, we are much more civilized and refined in our rejection of the world than we were previously  – for instance – in the 2nd century. We no longer discredit material, physical objects, but notwithstanding we altogether retreat from the “World’s” spheres and institutions of politics, education, economic endeavors, and family governance. God forbid the thought that we would ever crawl out of our church hermitages and aspire to “Christianize” such spheres! Thus, we have disavowed ourselves from the “World” – in impeccable accordance to our false notions – and surrendered it to Satan in a hand-basket. But Satan is not the king of this world, there is a different King altogether.

CHRIST IS KING

Undeniably, one of the most fundamental and foundational teachings of the Bible is that Jesus Christ is “King of kings, and Lord of lords.” (Rev. 19:16). Christ was born a king (Luke 2:11) lived a king (Mark 2:28) died a king (Col 2:15) rose a king (Acts 2:36) reigns as king (1 Cor. 15:27) and will return to consummate His reign (Rev 17:14.) The dilemma of the argument doesn’t lie in whether or not Christ is King, but rather what the true nature, origin, and extent of his Kingdom is. Earth, or heaven, or both? Politics, law, business, justice system, education, or the church, or all of the above? Undeniably the doctrine of the Kingship of Christ is consequential.

KING OF WHAT?

“Christ’s kingdom ‘Is not of this world’” (John 18:36). This has been quoted a multitude of times in order to pronounce that Christ’s kingdom is entirely heavenly and “Spiritual.” Logically we can conclude from this that Christ’s kingdom is divorced from the critical matters of politics, economics and other such “Worldly” issues. But let us take a careful look at this much disputed passage of Scripture. “Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not OF this world. If my kingdom were OF this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not FROM the world.’” (Emphasis added.) We confuse Jesus’ statement in John 18:36 to be concerned with the nature of His kingdom, but rather John 18:36 is speaking with regards to the origin of the Kingdom. The origin of Christ’s Kingdom is not in the world of evil men simply because it is not “of” it. Rather, its origin is with God and from God. Thereby His kingdom is relevant to all areas of society and all political institutions of the earth – including Rome – are accountable to Him as the King of kings. Christ’s kingdom is of God. Christ’s kingdom if from God.

Yet what is the meaning of the remaining passage? “If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting…” Again, Christ’s method of conquest is not of this world, and certainly not the selfsame method as Rome’s (Which was fighting.) “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.” 2 Cor 10:4 The citizenship and domain of Christ’s kingdom is advanced not by revolution but rather by regeneration and this is a critical note.

KING OF ALL

Scripture, on the subject of the domain of Christ’s kingdom, repeatedly claims right to the earth and furthermore its occupancy. Jesus claims dominion of the earth, “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matt 28:18.) Jesus claims dominion of all ecclesiastical institutions, “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through him and for him.” (Eph 5:23.) Jesus claims dominion over all the political institutions, “And from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings on earth.” (Rev 1:5) The reign of Christ is eternal, universal, and invincible “And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:14.) Hodge wrote it well, “Christ is already a king upon His throne in the full sweep of His kingly administration.”

“THY KINGDOM COME”

Christ’s comprehensive and unlimited Lordship is tremendously momentous to our lives, especially since we – as regenerate souls – are part of his Kingdom purpose (Namely the advance of the Gospel.) In the most practical of ways, when we pray “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” we must be conscious that Christ’s kingdom is here and now. We must acknowledge that we are seeking for God’s Kingdom purpose to be established both immediately and in every sphere of life on earth. The Westminster Larger Catechism states it wondrously,

“In the second petition, (Which is , Thy Kingdom come), acknowledging ourselves and all mankind to be by nature under the dominion of sin and Satan, we pray, that the kingdom of sin and Satan may be destroyed, and the gospel propagated throughout the world, the Jews called, the fulness of the Gentiles brought in; the church furnished with all gospel officers and ordinances, purged from corruption, countenanced and maintained by the civil magistrate, and made effectual to the converting of those that are yet in their sins, and the confirming, comforting, and building up of those who are already converted: that Christ would rule in our hearts here, and hasten the time of his second coming, and our reigning with him for ever: and that he would be pleased to so exercise the kingdom of his power in all the world, as may best conduce to those ends.”

Christians have the duty as Kingdom citizens by regeneration to declare the crown rights of King Jesus in all areas of their nation and they may not rest until His divine rights and absolute authority is recognized and voluntarily submitted to. For a Christian to seek anything less is to act as if Christ is something less than what He is in fact: “King of kings and Lord of lords.” Since Jesus is Lord over all, everything – individuals and institutions alike – are accountable to Him and to His law. The Word of God is the only rule which God has given us to govern the entire life and thought of nations. We must recommit ourselves to pray the second petition with all earnestness and furthermore work toward the reconstruction of all aspects of this nation to the glory of King Jesus, by the Word of God, and in the power of the Spirit of God. It is preposterous to retreat from this world, for Christ is King over it and Satan and us. Therefore we can advance our King’s kingdom in his rightful domain with Christian hope. Yet again, this is not to be accomplished by revolution or by the sword, but by regeneration and by salvation. Be bold and proclaim the Kingship of Christ and His divine rights.

VICTORY AND HOPE

Once we recognize the crown rights of King Jesus over all the earth, when we realize we are citizens by regeneration, as we commit to our great commission of establishing God’s Kingdom and will on earth as it is in heaven, we will discover the Christian hope of victory. No longer will we withdraw from conflict into rapture oriented lifestyles. No longer will we limit the scope of our Christian experience and principles to our church’s domain or the doors of our homes. No longer will we be content with anything less than Christ being Lord of lords and King of kings in us, our families, our church, our community, our city, our province, and our nation. Our hope lies not in our performance, but in our King. Since Christ is Lord, He is necessarily Victor. “For the LORD, the Most High, is to be feared, a great king over all the earth… For God is King of all the earth… God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne…He is highly exalted.” Psalms 47:2,7,8,9. Believing in the triumph of Christ we have a victory-oriented, not a defeat/retreat/rapture oriented future view. We do still expect persecution, difficulties, and sacrifice, but ultimately we see the victory of the Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. We no longer are subject to the dualistic doom & gloom notions, but rather in the Kingship of Christ we have victory and hope.