Dearly beloved Brethren (and Sisters) in Christ! If you look on Google for "Christian polygyny", you will find HUNDREDS of websites, all
of them PATRIARCHALIST, earnestly contending that not only was Polygyny allowed in the OT, but NOTHING in the New Testament can be justly construed to FORBID polygyny. This only serves to emphasize a major contention of mine: No society which refuses to accept the lawfulness of polygyny can be a truly patriarchal society. See: http://freenortherner.com/2014/07/20/patriarchy-civilization/
for the proof. (Note: the author of that website contends that Patriarchy and Civilization are INDISTINGUISHABLE concepts, but we KNOW from the Webster's dictionary that they are easily distinguishable concepts.) http://freenortherner.com/2014/07/20/patriarchy-civilization/
In a society in which men are forced to be monogamous there can be no true patriarchy.
See also: http://www.nccg.org/fecpp/CPM062-Patriarchy.html
Patriarchy Without Polygamy: A Contradiction in Terms.
The biblical doctrine of polygamy and patriarchy are one and the same. You cannot separate them.
This proves that the BEST possible way to promote the equality of the sexes is to promote monogamy.
In fact, I have found a CRUCIAL difference between True Patriarchy and Complementarianism. An Egalitarian / Feminist author writes: http://www.godswordtowomen.org/Patriarchy_or_gender_equality.pdf
Scott Bartchy defined Patriarchy this way: “Patriarchy is not just the rule of men over women, but as the rule of a few men over every one else, male and female. Patriarchy involves not only the subordination of women and children, but also the subordination of most men.” https://theothoughts.com/2012/08/18/patriarchy-the-third-option-in-the-compegal-debate/
(S. Scott Bartchy, professor of Christian origins and New Testament History at UCLA)
Historically, “few men had a choice about what they would do in life. It could be observed historically that 90 percent of the population, both male and female, were peasants. Aside from childbearing, men got stuck with the nastiest and most dangerous work. Ultimately, however, it is the limitations of scarcity and the resulting need for women to bear children that allowed men to become dominant over them.”
“The very thing that made a woman valuable—her unique ability to bear children—also made her dependent.”
“Although many scholars claim that men became dominant over women because of man’s superior size, strength, and aggression, historic family structure is better understood as based on a unique female characteristic: women’s ability to bear children. As the only member of the marriage who could bear and feed children, women would still have ended up specialized to the home, even if they had been bigger and stronger than men.”
“Although the woman may have held considerable power within her domestic areas of concern, a housewife had little decision-making authority or ability outside it. Thus, the strong economic need for women to bear children results in the economic realities of separate spheres for men and women and in women’s subordination to men in family, society, government, and church.”
I created this brief sketch might be in order to make the distinctions. I also think we need to differentiate between egalitarians and feminists, as there has been confusion there as well. Although, in the context of a biblically grounded church, I find that position untenable leaving three viable options.
Patriarchialism: Hierachical/authoritarian; male headship dictates female participation; female submission enforced; strong emphasis on role differientation and female restrictions; male domination
Complementarianism: Hierachical/non-authoritarian; male headship encourages female participation within hierarchy of creative order; female submission organic; roles less differientated more complementary; male cooperation
Egalitarianism: Non-hierarchical/non-authoritarian; mutual authority and submission; roles complementary; male-female cooperation
Feminism: Non-hierarchical/authoritarian; no authority or submission; enforcement of female roles; female dominated; female cooperation
Note that both patriarchy and complementarianism are both hierarchical and affirm male headship. This will result in restrictions for female participation with respect to church leadership in varying forms and depending on church polity. The difference is that patriarchy imposes restrictions and a masculine oriented structure whereas complementarianism results in respect for creative order and equal value. While I am not an egalitarian, I think it is dishonest to portray them as feminists since the emphasis is on shared authority and submission not the absence of it.
I hold to the position mentioned above called Complementarianism. I believe that men and women are equal before God and that husbands and wives are made to complement each other. I also believe that men are called to be the spiritual leaders of their families and that women are not called to be officers in the Church. I believe that I am to submit to my husband’s leadership and that my husband is to love me sacrificially like Christ demonstrated by dying for the Church. I also believe that my husband and I are both to submit to the leadership of the elders that God has placed over us.
Those who hold to Biblical Patriarchy would probably agree with everything I just outlined. However, this is not what Biblical Patriarchy is about. Instead of sticking to Scripture in defining the roles of men and women in the home, the church, and in society, Biblical Patriarchy starts with Scripture and then branches out into culturally biased opinions. It may seem odd to call it culturally biased, but it is. It owes a lot to the cultural ideals of the Victorian Era, especially the concept of separate spheres.
While it may seem like Biblical Patriarchy and Complementarianism are very similar, or even the same thing, there are very important distinctions between the two. One of the best examples of the differences between Biblical Patriarchy and Complementarianism has to do with women working or holding leadership positions outside the home, in the workforce, or in government.
Go and read it for yourselves with caution. The true Biblical position is that all offices of ecclesiastical jurisdiction are reserved for adult males only. (But this in my mind, raises some questions about whether or not it is lawful for women to serve as mixed choir directors in the Church - never mind about so-called LEADERS of the congregational song as opposed to a quartette choir which leads congregation sing not by haranguing or addressing the assembly but by singing the parts the congregation is to sing usually in 4-part harmony.) And not just because the Church is an arithmetical aggregate of families rather than individuals (with families being the irreducible and elementary unit of the church): but because the Church is the only
other divine institution UNIQUELY patterned after the human family.
And here is another important difference.
John Calvin remarked that before the fall, the subjection of Eve to Adam was a liberal and gentle subjection. But after the fall, it was a servile subjection. One of the important differences between True Patriarchy and Complementarianism is that Patriarchy tends to emphasize the SERVILE subjection of the female sex to the male sex and not just merely a liberal and gentle subjection. Patriarchy is EXACTLY what Complementarianism had been TRANSFORMED into only BECAUSE of the Fall and only BECAUSE of the debt of penal servitude the woman incurred for her part in the Fall. It is not just (but on the contrary, uncharitable and unmerciful) to exact payment TWICE for the SAME crime. Such "patriarchy" (which I have differentiated from Complementarianism) was NEVER God's ORIGINAL pre-Fall plan for the sexes.