I think the Botkin sisters introduce this chapter best: “Because the Bible doesn’t give a huge amount of instruction exclusively to fathers and daughters, most of what we have to work from are the passages setting the patterns for men and women in general” (23).
Hm, maybe the fact that the bible doesn’t have a “huge amount of instruction” about fathers and daughters is a sign that they should stop making up stuff that the Bible doesn’t say. It really says something about the kind of hermeneutic you’re using if you’re writing a 328 page book off of a handful of verses. And that’s assuming that those verses really support the claims they are making, which I don’t believe they do.
Sentence three of this chapter made me throw the book across the room: “Even before the fall, there was an order—a hierarchy of authority—established by God…. The reason for her submission to him is not a result of the fall, or of our now sinful natures. It was God’s plan for humanity from the beginning” (23).
Hierarchy was God’s plan from the beginning? Yikes. Once again, there’s a lot of good stuff to read about why this isn’t the only interpretation of these verses. If you’re not already convinced, I would suggest starting by reading the links I posted in my chapter 2 review. Even if you are “complimentarian,” I don’t see how you can say men and women are equal (which the Botkin sisters say) and at the same time, conclude that God’s perfect, ideal plan has always been for hierarchy. Because I don’t know about you, but I don’t see equality and hierarchy as the same thing.
The Botkins continue to say that men have three responsibilities:
- To lead by being a woman’s spiritual head and covering.
- To provide for their families
- To protect their wives and daughters
To support the first point, they pull the “Numbers 30” card. You can read the story here, but this bible passage is about a father being able to annul the vow of his daughter.
According to the Botkins, without the spiritual protection and covering of a father, a daughter will be able to make foolish vows before God and held responsible. With her father protecting her, she is no longer responsible for her rash decisions before God! Good thing she has that protection, because girls are silly and can’t make good decisions.
Now, even if I didn’t disagree with their application of this bible story, I am disturbed by the assumptions behind this idea of a woman needing a spiritual head and covering. Essentially, it is telling them—you can’t trust yourself, because you will undoubtedly make a bad decision without the spiritual guidance from your father. You can’t know as much spiritually as your father or husband, not because you haven’t studied or experienced as much but because of your gender. The men in your life know what God wants for you, better than what you know God wants for you. You can’t know God as well as the men in your life, so it’s a good thing you have men in your life to look after you. And they’re saying “be thankful you have this protection because otherwise you would be responsible!”
Because God doesn’t want to know women as much as he wants to know men? Because God speaks to men more than he speaks to women? Because God cares more about men than women?
What kind of assumptions are we having to make about God to get to the conclusion that a woman needs a man to be her spiritual “head” (what does that even mean?) and covering in order to communicate with God?
For the next point about a man’s role being a protector, the Botkins say, “Never in Scripture are women given the responsibility to provide for their families. This is a job specifically given to men, to the extent that if they fail in this responsibility, they are worse than unbelievers” (24).
Also never in Scripture? Daughters being told to confide in their daddies and be their best friend, and yet the Botkin sisters don’t seem to be bothered by that absence. Furthermore, the Botkins have no Bible reference for the “worse than unbelievers” part, so I’m not sure where they’re getting that.
The Botkins flesh this protector role out further by quoting Ephesians 5:24 : “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”
“It’s interesting to see that there is even a distinction in the kind of love that men and women are to bear to one another. In the original Greek, the word ‘love’ used here is agape. Carolyn Mahaney, in her book Feminine Appeal, explains, ‘The Greek word agape refers to a self-sacrificing love. It’s a love that gives to others even if nothing is given back.’ In contrast, whenever women are instructed to love their husbands, the word agape is not used. Women are to have phileo love for their husbands. Phileo love refers rather to tender, affectionate, brotherly love. It is men who are commanded specifically to show sacrificial love and be, as Christ was, ‘the savior of the body’ (body referring to the wife)” (25).
The Botkin sisters are assuming that because the word “agape” is used instead of “phileo’ that this means it is the man’s role to be the protector.
But, well, if we’re going to play my-bible-intepretation-is-correct-because-i-have-the-original-Greek-word game, since neither of them are instructed to have eros love for each other, can just assume that the biblical way to uh, do things, is to not…do them?
Clearly, it’s dangerous to start assuming lots of things based on one word or the absence of one word. Besides this, this verse is talking about a husband and wife, so why are they applying it to a father and daughter?
The Botkins still say that a woman is not supposed to be a protector but she can sacrifice her life for other women or children—just never a man. I have a question. What if the man is an unbeliever and by not sacrificing her life for this man, she is sending him to hell? Is it okay then? I mean, what is the more biblical thing to do here?
And I mean, how old does a male child have to be for a woman protecting him to be inappropriate? What about a man who is an invalid and can’t physically protect his wife? The Botkins ideas on gender roles might sound nice in theory, but when you look at the outliers that don’t fit nicely into their boxes you start to see just how absurd their assumptions are.
And if all this hasn’t been bad enough, they conclude, “A true woman of God will spend her life serving God with every aspect of her being, glorifying Him by following His pattern for the family. A woman who is willing to lay down her life for others will devote her life to her family, to her husband and children” (27).
Just put everyone else first and devote yourself to the Cause of raising lots of children so we can go back to the way things were when everything was perfect and godly in the past.
And then if that duty is sounding a little hard to swallow, a few dashes of fear mongering are added, in case you were forgetting what was at stake here: “…when the enemy comes to kill our children and hurt their mothers, God appoints men to stand up and shield those entrusted to their care. Without such protection, the next generation cannot survive” (28).
Then: “Because of international departure from God’s law, every Western nation is under God’s promised judgment. For some nations, this chastisement is more severe than others…When we understand this, it clears up a lot of confusion or depression we may feel when we look around and notice that our society is really sick ” (29).
The world is falling apart! The sky is falling! BUT WAIT! The Botkins have a solution to this calamity!
“First, we need to repent….all women are rebellious feminists at heart. … Second, we need to study the Word. [the Bible] alone can tell us what womanhood is all about. …Third, each of us must become true women….If we ever want men to fulfill their duty to us, we have to fulfill our duty to them. ….After years of studying the decline of our world, God’s requirements for righteous conduct, and how He is pressing His lawsuits against our disobedient nation, we believe that the way daughters are treating their fathers is one of today’s biggest issues” (31).
So start confiding in your daddy and everything will start being fine. Start following how we define a “true” woman and life will start getting better.
Malachi 4:6…”turn the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the land with a curse.”
Or else God is going to kill you.
Don’t you just love the Botkin’s optimism? I feel the need to wish everyone a great Monday just because of that. Enjoy tearing it all apart in the comments!