In these dying days of evangelical patriarchalism, many believers in male superiority and male authority over females try to soft pedal their views. When patriarchalists--who prefer the name "complementarians"--are challenged that their interpretations of Scripture are actually a belief that males are superior to females, and that they are teaching females were only created to enrich the lives of males, they cry "foul" and object to such a characterization of their views on men and women.
However, John Calvin, one of the fathers of evangelical patriarchalism in protestant circles, was quite consistent in applying his patriarchal theological views to daily life. What he theologically believed regarding women was practically applied in every day living. The consistency of the way he lived with the things he believed is evident. Calvin wrote in his commentary on I Corinthians the following:
"As far as the external connections and social propriety are concerned, the man takes his lead from Christ, and the woman from the man, so that they do not stand on the same level, but this inequality exists ... Because he is made subject to Christ and that includes the condition that he take first place in the control of the household and its affairs. For in his home the father of the family is like a king... The man is in authority, and the woman is in subjection to him ... In I Tim. 2:12 he debars women from speaking in church altogether ... because of the pre-eminence which God has given to the man, so that he might be superior to the woman ... The woman took her origin from the man, and that therefore she has a lower standing ... The woman was created for the express purpose of greatly enriching the man's life ... Paul looks higher, viz. to the eternal law of God, which had made the female sex subject to the authority of men. Therefore all women are born to submit to the pre-eminence of the male sex ... Let the man therefore carry out his function as the head, having supremacy over her; let the woman perform her function as the body, giving help to him ... Let the woman be content in her position for subjection, and not feel indignant because she has to play second fiddle to the superior sex"(translated by John W. Frazer, Eerdmans, 1996, pp. 229ff.).
I do wish modern patriarchalists would be as bold in their declarations as Calvin. Faulty interpretations of Scripture are not nearly as evident when the application of the theology is covered up. In other words, we have a great many professing "complementarians" (patriarchalists) who are functioning egalitarians. Such hypocrisy is not healthy for anyone. I personally told Paige Patterson I admired his consistency in removing Sheri Klouda from her position as Hebrew at Southwestern--he was living the way he believed. I then told him I would do everything in my power to help people see his beliefs were totally, one hundred percent diametrically opposite of the Scriptures and the teachings of Jesus Christ.
One of these days the Scriptural teaching of the equality of men and women in Jesus Christ will be the standard view of conservative, evangelical churches because it is precisely what the Bible teaches. Until then, it would be helpful if those who theologically believe in male superiority and male authority over the female gender would be as bold and direct as Calvin in terms of the application of that theology into daily living.
It would help people see the utter ridiculousness of their beliefs and the tragedy of falsely interpreting the Bible to support such absurdities.