Adj. Pertaining to complementarianism and egalitarianism.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Schaeffer on Utopianism

What if just for one split second we were to imagine that there was an authority - submission relationship in the garden as Challies believes. Let's do away with 1 Cor. 7 and think of what it would be like if there was only one will in the garden - the man's. Because after all it was a perfect authority - submission relationship. Adam was perfect and knew perfectly what would please Eve. Eve was perfectly submissive and only wanted what Adam already knew that she wanted.

What on earth would that have to do with how we conduct ourselves in a sinful and imperfect world, where Adam doesn't have the remotest idea what the other person wants, and Eve doesn't either.

Here is Francis Schaeffer on living with sinful reality.
    Equally as Christians, sin in our lives is also a serious business. We are never merely to explain it away in ourselves, in our group, or in our family.

    On the other hand, knowing that all men are sinners frees us from the cruelty of utopianism. Utopianism is cruel, for it expects of men and women what they are not and will not be until Christ comes. Such utopianism, forgetting what the Bible says about human sinfulness, is hard-hearted; it is as monstrous a thing as one can imagine.
    The Christian understanding of men is not just theoretical. Christians should also be able to show more understanding to men than can either the cynic or romantic. We should not be surprised when a man demonstrates he is a sinner because, after all, we know that all men are sinners. When someone sits down to talk with me, I should convey to him (even if I do not express it in words) the attitude that he and I are both sinners.

    And immediately, when I communicate this perception, a door swings open for dialogue. Nothing will help you as much in meeting people, no matter how far out they are or how caught up they are in the modern awfulness, than for them to perceive in you the attitude "we are both sinners."
    Utopianism is terribly cruel because it expects the impossible from people. These expectations are not based on reality. They stand in opposition to the genuine human possibilities afforded by the realism of the Scripture.

    Utopianism can cause harm. In the home, in the man-woman relationship, nothing is more cruel than for the wife or husband to build up a false image in his or her mind and then demand that the husband or wife measure up to this false romanticism. Nothing smashes homes more than this. Such behaviour is totally contrary to the Bible's doctrine of sin. Even after redemption, we are not perfect in this present life. It is not that we avoid saying sin is sin, but we must have compassion for each other, too. Francis Schaeffer. No Little People. 2003.
What man really thinks he is perfect enough to have someone submit to him without it being suffering? Recommend submission if you will but realize exactly what you are saying.

And here's a quote from C. S. Lewis, in an essay on "Equality," written in 1943:
I am a democrat [believer in democracy] because I believe in the Fall of Man. I think most people are democrats for the opposite reason. A great deal of democratic enthusiasm descends from the ideas of people like Rousseau, who believed in democracy because they thought mankind so wise and good that every one deserved a share in the government. The danger of defending democracy on those grounds is that they're not true. . . . I find that they're not true without looking further than myself. I don't deserve a share in governing a hen-roost. Much less a nation. . . . The real reason for democracy is just the reverse. Mankind is so fallen that no man can be trusted with unchecked power over his fellows. Aristotle said that some people were only fit to be slaves. I do not contradict him. But I reject slavery because I see no men fit to be masters. ("Equality," in C. S. Lewis: Essay Collection and Other Short Pieces, ed. by Lesley Walmsley [London: HarperCollins Publishers, 2000,] p. 666). Cited by John Piper.
Possibly both Schaeffer and Lewis believed in male authority. I really don't know. I do know Schaeffer looked downright spiffy in his Swiss mountain climbing knickers. (That's American for pants that end just below the knees for all you Brits.) I think my only interaction with him was pointing out where the toilets were. I'm not sure. I lived in Switzerland for a year and he came and went from our Bible School every so often. But he didn't expect me to give the bathroom directions in a particular way so as not to compromise his masculinity. (Sorry, I know I am supposed to be good here - but I am a sinner.)