Clearly Defining Christian Patriarchy

Clearly Defining Christian Patriarchy

Written By Michael Foster

I got a bunch of requests to respond to the following list called “The Tenets of Christian Patriarchy.” I did but my brain hurts. This is a special type of stupid.
Anyways, here you go…


1. Patriarchy means “father rule” and is rooted in the nature of God’s created order. It means that men are the head of the home, church, and society. We see this reflected in the federal headship of Adam, patriarchal nature of the covenantal promises, the fifth commandment, and many other places in many other ways.

2. One of the purposes of a marriage is “the increase of mankind with legitimate issue” (WCF 24.2). Thus, children are to be seen and received as a blessing from the Lord. There is a good bit of disagreement among Christian patriarchalists on when, why, and if a married couple should limit their fruitfulness.

3. All are believers, male and female, belong to a “royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9) and live out that reality in light of their God-given station.

4. Husbands are the head of their household. The head of household’s authority is delegated to them by God and must be exercised according to His ways and purposes. Thus, it is a limited authority.

5. Men and women equally bear the image of God but are to live according to their distinctive God-ordained sexualities.

6. Emotions are gifts from God and, like all things, should be expressed in a way that honors His design.

7. It was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman. Some believe that women are more easily deceived (see Patrick Fairbairn, Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles) but not all are agreed on this point. But I don’t know many guys into horoscopes or essential oils. Just saying. [I absolutely agree that women can be more easily deceived. This is one of the two reasons given why women are not to teach nor be in authority over men in 1 Timothy 2:12-14.]

8. The qualifications to vote among Christian patriarchalists differ quite a bit. Some do head of household voting but even then many would allow a widow (i.e. a woman) to vote if she was the head of her household.

9. There is no mediator between mankind (male and female) and God besides Christ Jesus.

10. Men and women are to defer to one another in a way that acknowledges their God-given sex and station. That being said, the marriage-relationship is unique and doesn’t extend to the whole mankind’s relationships.

11. There is not a universal position regarding Eternal Subordination of the Son (ESS) held by Christian patriarchalists. Personally, I reject ESS. (“ESS is for Eternal Subordination of the Son. It’s a doctrinal position that states that God the Son was eternally subordinated to God the Father – essentially that they have always had a hierarchy of authority within the Godhead. This is in contrast to the idea that Jesus only took on a subordinate role when He became incarnated as a man in order to become the sacrifice for sin.” – Lindsay Harold)

12. Man is the head of the household and his wife is helpmate. She is equal in that she equally bears the image of God. There is a hierarchal structure to the household. In this sense, she is inferior. However, men, like William Gouge, still saw the wife as a near equal in terms of authority.

13. An authority can and should require submission to biblically just actions to anyone God has placed under their leadership. All authorities should exercise their office with wisdom and skill. A husband should not attempt to physically force his wife to submit.

14. “Working outside the home” is a post-industrial construct pregnant with feminist presuppositions. Men and women both should labor to be productivity and the center of that productivity is normatively within the home for wives (see Titus 2).

15. All covenant children must receive a Christian education. The form of that education is not mandated by Scripture. That being said, the work of keeping and building a home requires that a woman be wise and capable. A good education is recommended.

16. All children are the responsibility of a father and he, assuming he knows Christ, would lay his life down for them in way distinct from all of “belongings.”

17. Both sons and daughters are to honor and obey both their father and mother.

18. Some patriarchalists are pro-courtship but not all. I, for one, think it’s biblical roots are questionable and are insanely unrealistic in post-Christian culture. I dated my wife, no purity ring. We kept it in our pants and then got married.

P.S. This whole list is stupid. And if you think it reflects patriarchy… well, you are at the very least naive and unread.
Read William Gouge, Stephen B. Clark, William K Mouser, and stop listening to some crazed screenshot drama queen (Christine Blackerby Pack from Sola Sisters).

As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.
Isaiah 3:12

20 thoughts on “Clearly Defining Christian Patriarchy

  1. I think everyone here would agree that patriarchy is biblical. In saying that let me go over the points here…..

    1) This is correct but it goes further than just old testament scripture
    2) True!
    3) We have to be careful not to make husbands on the same level as God. Yes they rule their homes but don’t have unlimited authority like God.
    4) True
    5) Women are physically weaker and spiritually more deceived. The are inferior when talking about authority. But are equal in worth.
    6) True
    7) True
    8) True
    9) Her husband is going to be held accountable for how he ruled the home but the wife has her own walk and will be accountable how she lived
    10) Nope not all men just the ones placed in authority over here….Father, husband, pastor at church during service
    11) True
    12) True
    13) Submission is not forced for sure but nothing wrong with a husband “demanding” something this is just a strong request
    14) A woman can work but her home comes first, I agree about not having women in authority roles though
    15) This one is tricky, it varies but focusing on being future mothers and wives should be the main focus.
    16) Property no but under their authority yes. I think its a beautiful thing seeing a father give his daughter to her husband and pass that authority.
    17) ALL children need to obey their parents and are under them
    18) I also strongly recommend courtship

  2. Do you agree with Foster about #15? He says the form of education is not Biblically mandated. Yet you’ve said that children should be homeschooled, not sent to public or Christian school.

    1. Foster is correct that the Bible does not specify exactly how children are to be educated. However, it does specify that children are to be taught about God and His word throughout their day. Thus, a distinctly Christian education is necessary for our children if we are obey God’s word. That could be a Christian school or Christian homeschooling. Public school does not currently fit the Biblical requirements.

      1. But Lori has said that even Christian school is wrong because it takes children away from their mothers. Also, couldn’t a mother still teach about God throughout her day even if a child is in public school? There’s breakfast time, in the car ride or walk to school, in the car ride or walk home, in the afternoon after school, at dinner time, at bedtime. Surely you see my point. We cannot shelter our children from the world 100% of the time. They need to be aware of what the world teaches and know how to stand against it.

        1. Yes we absolutely can teach our children about God if they go to a public school. I think we would have to be more conscious in our efforts than if they were around us 24/7 but that’s not to say it’s impossible.

  3. I’m just putting these ideas out there for discussion. (Maybe Ken will want to address this 😉) It appears to me that patriarchy is a kind of small monarchy where the father has the role of a benevolent king and his family is his loyal subjects. In the U.S., patriarchy can only work if the family is willing to be subordinate because there are no laws giving fathers/husbands authority over wives/children (beyond guardianship of minors). In fact, the idea of a patriarchy is diametrically opposed to the American ideals of individuality, democracy and freedom for all because a true patriarchy gives freedom to adult male heads-of-household and no one else. What I’m thinking is that for a Christian patriarchy to succeed in the long term, it needs to be upheld by a theocracy (the rule of God) rather than the rule of the people (democracy). So in the U.S., Christian patriarchy is only possible as long as the people support the freedom of religion, and the freedom of religion allows for some to choose to live under theocracy. But theocracy/patriarchy is severely limited here because it cannot be enforced and must be voluntary. Do you see what I mean? Having some deep thoughts this morning LOL!

    1. New Zealand is the same.
      But that is better than the alternative. Look at the corruption and harm in countries where women have no rights at all and men are in complete control, ruled over absolutely by men who are not always kind, sometimes downright cruel and blinded by power.
      Why should we think that would be any different in Christian countries?

      The Bible tells us that laws are not for the righteous, because they will do what’s right anyway. Laws are for the lawless. So society can try to limit the harm they can cause innocent people.

      The Bible is also clear that God gave us free will and allows us to make our own choices. If the choice to live with our husbands as our head was forced upon us instead, that’s not true service or obedience to our Lord, is it? God wants us to *choose* to live in obedience to His commandments and in subjection to our husbands.

      1. Yes, thank you! I believe you are right. Virtue cannot be legislated, but it has to be taught and it has to come from the Holy Spirit within. In Biblical times patriarchy was not a choice, it was the rule. Now, in a free society, it is a choice. I’m questioning which form of government better upholds the Will of God – one that abides by His commands, or the one that is neutral and leaves it up to the people to decide whether to abide by (or ignore) His commands? Personally, I think of Rev. 3:15-16: I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

    2. Christian patriarchy is only possible when the family decides to practice it. If we were to enforce it by law, we’d be no better than Saudi Arabia or Iran. God does not force us to follow him. We are given the free will to do so.

      1. I think it boils down to being the woman’s choice, rather than the family’s, as to whether or not the family functions as a patriarchy. A man cannot force his wife to submit (at least not legally). Therefore the family structure is whatever the wife wants it to be. Either she chooses to be submissive or she chooses rebellion – either way the laws of the land support her.

        1. Even if the laws of the land didn’t support her (by that I mean, if legislation was in place to support patriarchy) God doesn’t judge us on our outward actions. He judges us by our hearts. So a woman forced to submit to her husband can still be rebellious in her heart, and so therefore still be wrong in God’s eyes. We can ONLY serve the Lord when we CHOOSE to do it, because the only thing that matters is our heart.

    3. Laurie, you are unfamiliar with the Constitution, the law of the land and the biblical authority put in place according to 1 Timothy 2:1-2: “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” The Constitution gave us a Republic, not a Democracy. Originally only male landowners could vote, because they were the only ones being taxed. They were predominantly Christian. Introducing the vote to people who didn’t have any skin in the game opened it up to non-believers and eventually women, who are more easily deceived. It also served Satan’s purpose of dividing the house so it can not stand. One day the 19th amendment will be repealed, until then vote as the authority over you would have you vote. And follow the advice in 1 Tim 2:1-2 so that we may all live peaceful lives full of holiness and godliness.

    4. Laurie, also God never desired a theocracy. He never desired religion or relationship, but reconciliation with his children. That’s impossible if they choose to pursue their own desires and not their father’s.

  4. My opinion is that if we wake up each day with a joyful spirit ready to serve God and abide by His will to live our life of biblical womanhood to the fullest and submit to and obey our husbands in everything, then all of this listed above will fall into place like it is supposed to, the right way.

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