Well... I lied. I said I'd post an article from Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen last Friday, and here it is Monday already. But better late than never... this was Ms. Stewart Van Leeuwen's contribution to the 2004 Evangelical Theological Society conference, and one example of why I appreciate both her conclusions and the rigorous way she arrives at them. This is, of course, reprinted here with her express permission and should not be reprinted elsewhere without that permission.
[A few technical problems I'm trying to resolve. Footnote hyperlinks do NOT work, though footnotes are listed at article's end. Sorry... ]
A Review of Ronald W. Pierce, Rebecca M. Groothuis, and Gordon D. Fee, eds.,
Discovering Biblical Equality: Complementarity Without Hierarchy
(Downers Grove IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004)
Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen
Professor of Psychology and Philosophy, Eastern University, St. Davids PA
Christians for Biblical Equality has taken a different exegetical stance. In its reading of the Bible, women and men were created for full and equal partnership. Further, Adam’s rule over Eve occurred only as a result of the fall, and “through faith in Jesus Christ we all become children of God ... heirs to the blessings of salvation without reference to racial, social or gender distinctives.” Consequently, for the adherents of CBE, in marriage “neither spouse is to seek to dominate the other, but each is to act as a servant of the other ... [sharing] responsibilities of leadership and the basis of gifts, expertise and availability.” And in the church, “spiritual gifts of women and men are to be recognized, developed and used ... at all levels of involvement.”
Discovering Biblical Equality (DBE) is a response to an earlier (and equally weighty) edited volume by adherents to CBMW titled Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (RBMW) which is itself subtitled A Response to Evangelical Feminism. The two volumes are organized in rather similar fashion, which underlines the fact that both sides agree as to what are the crucial issues in the debate. RBMW had twenty-six chapters divided into five sections: “Vision and Overview,” (two chapters); “Exegetical and Theological Studies,” (seventeen chapters); “Studies from Related Disciplines,” (five chapters); “Applications and Implications” (six chapters); and “Conclusion and Prospect” (one chapter). DBE has twenty-nine chapters divided into five sections covering roughly the same disciplinary territory: “Setting the Stage: The Historical Background” (three chapters); “Looking at Scripture: The Biblical Texts” (ten chapters); “Thinking It Through: Logical and Theological Perspectives” (six chapters); “Addressing the Issues: Hermeneutical and Cultural Perspectives” (five chapters); and “Living It out” Practical Applications” (five chapters).
The contributors to Discovering Biblical Equality have done a thorough job on the issues represented by the second part of the book’s subtitle – namely, the historical, exegetical, hermeneutical and theological arguments as to why gender relations in home and church should be “without hierarchy.” They represent an international group of evangelical scholars with a high view of all Scripture as God’s word, and academic qualifications that are impressive. The tone of their arguments is mostly irenic. Like their counterparts in CBMW, the adherents of CBE recognize that the issue of male headship vs. gender equality is not a confessional issue – that is, one which can be used as a litmus test to separate orthodox from heterodox Christians – and that they must recognize, in the words of CBMW’s founding statement, “the genuine evangelical standing of many who do not agree with all of [their] convictions.”
The editors of DBE have included two chapters explicitly challenging the assumption that biblical egalitarians are on a slippery slope towards ‘soft androgyny’ – the view that virtually no differences exist (or should exist) between males and females other than the most obvious anatomical and physiological ones. Thus in Ch. 23 (“Gender Equality and Homosexuality”) William Webb shows that while the redemptive-historical flow of the NT passages on gender relations goes in a less restrictive direction than the customs of the surrounding Greco-Roman culture, those on homosexuality point in an emphatically more restrictive direction. This undercuts the accusation that that gender egalitarian arguments are likely to lead to the condoning of same-sex marriage via soft androgyny. Webb writes that
Paul appeals [in Rom l] to God’s intention for male-female sexuality as something that is clearly revealed in nature and thus, by specific inference, within the complementary gender design for men and women ... The Romans I ideal that God’s revelation is clear in the created world around us verifies that the core biblical issue is sexuality that accords with God’s creation of male and female. [Three important texts: Lev 18:22, Deut 22:5 and Rom l:18-32] show that the biblical problem with homosexuality is not really about equality or a lack of equality of sexual partners. The deepest issue for the biblical authors is a breaking of sexual boundaries that violates obvious components of male-female creation design.
However, on both sides of this debate, the discussion of those so-called complementary differences is nothing if not bewildering. I have already said that I believe DBE’s contributing biblical scholars, theologians and historians have made a cogent case against gender hierarchy in church and family – as much as I am able to judge their arguments as a non-expert in their disciplines. So since I am first and foremost a social scientist, I have chosen to focus most of my attention not on the ‘Without Hierarchy’ aspects of the book’s subtitle, but rather on the vexed issue of the meaning of gender ‘Complementarity’ (the other key term in the book’s subtitle). It’s pretty clear that the authors of DBE agree as to what gender complementarity isn’t: it’s not permanent male headship in church or family, and it’s not the androgynous notion that women and men are actually or ideally interchangeable, except for sexed body parts and functions.
A representative sample of the diversity that I found is included in Appendix C of this paper.
This diversity of definitions of gender complementarity, while arguably signaling some confusion on the part of DBE authors, also testifies to the complexity of the issue. From a theological standpoint, if, like all other human activities, gender relations reflect a mix of good creation and tragic falleness, then it’s not likely to be any easier sorting out what’s creational and what’s fallen about them than it is in our discussions of politics, economics, the arts, or any other sphere of life. Moreover, if gender complementarity somehow mirrors the relationship of members of the Trinity as they work together in creation and redemption (a point on which both sides in the debate seem to agree) then it is probably not going to be any easier to nail down than our understanding of the Trinity. And as Judy Brown reminds readers in ch. 17 of DBE, “[A]fter we make every attempt to better understand the Trinity, it remains one of the greatest mysteries among Christian doctrines” (p. 299).
However, as unwitting children of the Enlightenment, we seem to have a Tower of Babel-like craving for absolute certainty. And so both sides in the debate recruit biologists and social scientists as latter-day natural theologians who are supposed to help close the theological gaps by telling us, from a ‘scientific’ perspective, what gender complementarity ‘really is.’ Thus, RBMW has chapters on biology, psychology and sociology, and DBE has chapters written or co-written by therapists, a sociologist, and an academic psychologist. But as an academic psychologist and gender studies scholar who did not contribute to either volume, I am now going to try to explain (not for the first time) why this is a misguided exercise. My basic points are these:
1) Research in neither the biological nor the social sciences can resolve the nature/nurture debate regarding gendered psychological traits or behaviors in humans, let alone pronounce on whether any of these should be retained or rejected. In a fallen world – however good it remains creationally -- we cannot move from ‘is’ to ‘ought’ on the basis of science alone.
2) There are very few consistent sex differences in psychological traits and behaviors. When these are found, they are always average – not absolute-- differences, and for the vast majority of them the small, average – and often decreasing -- difference between the sexes is greatly exceeded by the amount of variability on that trait within members of each sex. Most of the ‘bell curves’ for women and men (graphing the distribution of a given psychological trait or behavior) overlap almost completely. So it is naïve at best – and deceptive at worst -- to make essentialist (or even generalist) pronouncements about the psychology of either sex when there is much more variability within than between the sexes on most of the trait and behavior measures for which we have abundant data.
3) To adapt one of Freud’s famous dictums, we cannot assume that anatomy is destiny until we have controlled for opportunity. Thus, even when appeals are made to large cross-cultural studies that have found ‘consistent’ behavioral and/or attitudinal sex differences, we cannot assume universality for those conclusions until we have controlled for the existence of differing opportunities by gender across the various cultures.
1) Research in neither the biological nor the social sciences can resolve the nature/nurture controversy regarding gendered psychological traits and behaviors in humans:
The crucial terms here are the words ‘human’ and ‘psychological traits and behaviors.’ First of all, we should not be surprised that, given our creational overlap with all other living organisms (strikingly shown in the various genome projects that are underway) much can be learned about the structure, function, and healing of the human body from animal research models. But without doubt the most salient biological feature of human beings is the plasticity of their brains. The legacy of a large cerebral cortex puts us on a much looser behavioral leash than other animals, with the result that, more than any other species, we are created for continuous learning – for passing on what we have produced culturally, not just what we have been programmed to do genetically. We are, as it were, hard-wired for behavioral flexibility.
Ah yes, some will say, but the biological and social sciences have shown us that men and women have clearly different talents, and that these are rooted in biology. Really? Well, let us ask what we have to be able to do in order to conclude that biological sex clearly causes even a small, average behavioral or psychological difference between human males and females. First, we would have to be able to manipulate sex as an independent, experimental variable – that is, randomly assign people to be born with an XX or an XY pair of chromosomes apart from all the other genetic baggage they come with. Clearly we cannot do this: babies come to us as genetic ‘package deals’ – who, we should remember, have also had non-random environments for nine months prior to birth.
Well then, perhaps we could randomly assign members of a mixed-sex group of infants to be raised as boys or as girls after they’re born, and see just how much they remain stubbornly ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ despite being raised as members of the other sex. But aside from the fact that this comes close to the sort of science that was done in Nazi Germany, but repudiated in our own society, it wouldn’t even begin to approximate a double-blind experiment -- of the sort we use, for example, to test the effectiveness of new medicines -- because the cat would be out of the bag (so to speak) as soon as the babies’ caretakers began changing their diapers. And even if we could unambiguously ascertain that boys (for example) are hard-wired to be aggressive, or girls are hard-wired to gossip a lot, this would tell us nothing about the desirability of either state of affairs. In a fallen world, we cannot automatically assume that what seems ‘natural’ is thereby desirable by the standards of God’s kingdom. This is a point repeatedly and cogently made by psychologist Cynthia Neal Kimble in ch. 27 of DBE.
So it is impossible to disentangle biological sex from the other genetic and environmental forces in which it always remains embedded, and with which it constantly interacts. This means that the two essential conditions for inferring cause and effect – the manipulation of one factor (sex) and the control of other (biological and environmental) factors – cannot be met. Consequently, “all data on sex differences, no matter what research method is use, are correlational data,” and as every introductory social science student learns, you cannot draw conclusions about causality from merely correlational data. “[I]n that sense, it is more accurate to speak of ‘sex-related’ differences than of sex [caused] differences.” So let us be very clear: when we read about a study – experimental or correlational -- that describes an obtained, average sex difference of such-and-such a magnitude, that’s all it is: a description of the results of a study done in one particular place and time with a particular sample of persons, but unable (even experimentally) to disentangle nature from nurture. It is a description -- not an explanation about the origins of any obtained sex differences.
2) On almost all behavioral and psychological measures that have been studied, the distributions (‘bell curves’) for women and men overlap almost completely:
Ah yes, some will say, but look how large and consistent those sex differences are – in aggression, nurturance, verbal skills, spatial abilities and so on. Surely this strongly suggests (even if it can’t absolutely prove) that women and men have innately- different talents – “beneficial differences” in the language of both CMBW and (some) CBE adherents. Everybody knows that men are from Mars and women are from Venus – at least on average. Really? Just how large and consistent are such differences, after a century of measuring them in domains such as aggression, nurturance, verbal skills and so on? In other words, just how much do (or don’t) those ‘bell curves’ overlap for women and men? Because there is so much bad science journalism floating around about these matters (written by people of every political and religious stripe), some more comments on social science methodology are in order.
I begin with what is known among social scientists as the “file drawer effect.” Since the time that psychology journals began publishing over a century ago, there has been a heavy bias against accepting studies on males and females that find no statistically-significant sex differences. In this kind of research, it appears that no news is bad news for your career, because studies finding no effect for sex are likely to remain unpublished (thus ending up in the author’s file drawer). You can see what this means: even when we do a literature review of many sex-comparative studies (concerning any of the usual suspects: verbal or spatial skills, aggression, empathy, activity levels, etc.) done over many years, our conclusions – at least by the reigning statistical criteria -- will be selectively tilted towards finding more, rather than fewer, sex differences because of the publishing bias I have just described.
My second – and more important -- point has to do with the misunderstanding that continues to surround the term ‘statistically significant.’ Another basic methodological caveat is this: a research result that is statistically significant is not necessarily of practical significance. According to the most common tests of significance, if an obtained, average difference between two groups (e.g., women and men doing a math test, volunteer subjects taking an experimental drug versus those taking a placebo, etc.) could have occurred fewer than five times out of a hundred ‘by chance’ then it is deemed a ‘significant’ difference. However, with large enough samples and a small enough variability among scores, even a tiny average difference between two groups --i.e., groups whose bell-curve scores overlap almost completely -- may be ‘significant’ in this statistical sense – whereas (because of the file drawer effect) a much larger average difference that ‘just misses’ being statistically significant will not likely see publication, even though its potentially practical significance may be much greater.
As a result of such criticisms, a statistical technique called meta-analysis was developed in the 1970s, for use in all areas of psychological science, including research on gender. As its name implies, this refers to a ‘super-analysis’: one that can combine the results of many (e.g., several dozen – sometimes over a hundred) studies on sex differences in a given domain: aggression, verbal ability, or whatever. This technique differs from earlier ways of reviewing the literature, which simply gave equal weight to all studies examined, did a tally of how many did or did not show statistically significant sex differences, and came to an ‘eyeball’ or intuitive judgment as to whether reliable sex differences existed in a given domain.
As you can see from Appendix A, even when an average effect size (or d) is 1.00 (as was found, for example, in a meta-analysis of studies comparing self-reported empathy in men and women) the range of scores within each sex is much greater than the average difference between the sexes. But in the many meta-analyses of gender differences that have been done since the 1970s, an effect size (d) even as large as 1.00 is almost unheard of. Most are in the range from 0.0 (no detectable difference) to .35 (a small difference) -- and even the latter means that less than 5% of the variability of ALL the scores can be accounted for by the sex of the participants. This underlines my previous assertion: it is naive at best, and deceptive at worst, to make essentialist pronouncements about either sex when the range of scores within each sex is, for almost all traits and behaviors measured, much greater than the difference between the sexes. (See Appendix B for some representative meta-analytic results of studies of behavioral and psychological sex differences).
It gets worse, folks: meta-analysis is full of embarrassments for gender essentialists, but also for ‘gender influentialists’ who think that even small average sex differences are pregnant with interpersonal, ecclesiastical, and policy implications. For example, as previously noted, the meta-analytic d for women’s versus men’s “empathy” scores based on self-report measures is around 1.00, in the direction of women being more empathetic than men. But when based on unobtrusive measures (i.e., studies where people do not know they are being measured for empathy), the meta-analytic d shrinks to about .05. You don’t have to be a professional social scientist to know what that contrast suggests.
Attempts to Evade These Findings: What do convinced gender essentialists (along with careless science journalists and trendy Mars-Venus advice book writers) do with such findings? The most common strategy is simply to ignore or distort them: to pretend that small, shifting tendencies are absolute gender dichotomies, or something close to it, or to assume that statistical significance is always the same as practical significance. All too many people yearn for simple black-and-white explanations of complex relations, including those involving men and women. (As one of my students memorably observed, “Tendencies don’t sell books.”) A less-common strategy nowadays is to pathologize the findings: to claim that, however much those gendered bell curves do – or can – overlap, we have to pull them apart as far as possible, in order to approximate God’s -- or nature’s or optimal society’s -- ‘true’ purposes for males and females.
It is not unheard of for theologians to have taken a similar stance. Abraham Kuyper did so in the early 20th century, claiming (quite ahistorically and with no clear exegetical warrant) that however much men’s and women’s capacities ‘naturally’ overlapped, God had ordained, once and for all, that women’s activities be limited almost completely to the domestic sphere, and men’s to the public arenas of the academy, the church, the marketplace and the political forum. “The woman can lend herself to study [of medicine and law] as well as the man,” Kuyper conceded in 1914. But, he added, because women’s (not men’s) ‘position of honor’ was by divine definition in the home, “whoever has man take his place at the cradle and woman at the lectern makes life unnatural.”
This points to a third strategy, one more frequently invoked in the recent past. Some gender essentialists have reluctantly recognized that neither the Bible nor the natural or social sciences can come definitively to their rescue. Consequently, they take refuge in biblically and empirically questionable Jungian gender archetypes, and their precursors in Greek mythology and Eastern religions.
For example, Elisabeth Elliot, in her 1982 book Let Me Be a Woman warned female Christian readers that Eve, in taking the initiative to eat the apple, was trying to be like the ‘ultimately-masculine’ God – as if God were somehow metaphysically gendered. She also appealed to the ancient Chinese concept of yin and yang to buttress her ‘Christian’ argument for gender essentialism and gender hierarchy. Her brother Thomas Howard, in a 1978 article titled “A Note From Antiquity on the Question of Women’s Ordination,” frankly acknowledged that the Bible does not supply enough resources to justify talking about God or humans in terms of metaphysical, eternal gender archetypes. Undeterred by this, he invited his readers to consider the abundance of sexual imagery in pagan myths, and came to the conclusion that “a Christian would tend to attach some weight to this.” Really? Why?
Joan Burgess Winfrey is thus right, in ch. 25 of DBE, to express concern that “the church may once again opt for a Venus-Mars gender rubbish in the interest of cementing roles and putting up divider walls.” Even if Mars-Venus rhetoric is used only to cement different gender styles rather than roles it gets virtually no support from the meta-analytic literature which, as we have seen, show almost complete overlap in the gendered distribution of traits such as nurturance, empathy, verbal skills, spatial skills, and aggressiveness. The romanticizing and/or rank-ordering of gender archetypes is biblically questionable whether it is done by gender-role traditionalists, by cultural feminists who reverse the hierarchy by valorizing the stereotypically feminine, or by evangelical writers who baptize the trendy Mars-Venus rhetoric with a thin, Christian-sounding veneer. More in keeping with both the biblical creation accounts of humankind and the overall findings of the social sciences is the bumper sticker which reads “Men are from Earth, Women are from Earth: Get used to it!”
Perhaps the most cautious way of responding to the meta-analytic literature on gender comes from behavioral biologists, who (arguing largely from animal research) suggest that both sexes are capable of the full range of human behaviors, but that the thresholds for various behaviors may vary by gender. This would mean, for example, that men and women are both capable of (even violent) aggression, but men would tend to yield to such impulses more readily than women.
3. We cannot assume that anatomy is destiny until we have controlled for opportunity:
In a final attempt to rescue gender essentialism some scholars claim that if a certain gender difference holds up cross-culturally – that is, across many different learning environments – we can more safely conclude that it is ‘natural’ and ‘fixed.’ But this conclusion is also too simple. For example, in ch. 27 (p. 469) of DBE Cynthia Neal Kimble cites (and seems to accept as accurate) cross-cultural studies showing that men “are more oriented toward promiscuity and finding a younger and attractive female partner” while women are “more concerned with finding older men who have attained financial resources and social status.” Although she does not reference any of the relevant research, the most-quoted study of this sort is a 37-nation survey of mate-selection standards by Texas psychologist David Buss. Buss suggested his findings meant that men everywhere are genetically predisposed for reproductive reasons to look for youth and beauty in a prospective mate, while women are more predisposed to look for ambition and wealth in the men they seek to marry.
More recently, social psychologists Alice Eagly and Wendy Wood did control for changing opportunities by sex. They took the 37 countries of Buss’ study and rank-ordered them according to two indices of gender equality devised by the United Nations Development Program. One is the Gender-Related Development Index (GDI), which rates each nation on the degree to which its female citizens do not equal their male counterparts in life span, education, and basic income (which is still the case, though to varying degrees, in all nations). The other is the Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM), which rates nations on the degree to which women, in comparison to men, have entered the public arena as local and national politicians, and as technicians, professionals and managers.
Making Relationships the Unit of Analysis: How the Social Sciences Can Help: So far I have tried to show that the odds are not good for using social science research to define the content of gender complementarity – if by that we mean showing how men and women essentially, or even generally, differ for all times and places. Nor should that surprise us. A responsible reading of Scripture indicates that God has built a lot of flexibility into what we call gender – which is why I always prefer to talk about gender relations rather than using the more static term gender roles. As Richard Hess noted in his treatment of Gen 1 (ch. 3 of DBE) sex is something we share with other, lower creatures. But gender is a part of the cultural mandate.
This seems to me to get it quite backward. While the cultural mandate does not require a blanket endorsement of androgyny (another example of rigid, ahistoric thinking) it does suggests that any construction of gender relations requiring an exaggerated, permanent separation of activities and/or virtues by sex is eventually going to run into trouble (as it has within the last half century) because such exaggeration is creationally distorted and thus potentially unjust toward both sexes. Sexual dimorphism is indeed part of our creational framework, but gender is something to be responsibly structured and re-negotiated throughout the successive acts of the biblical drama – not a mystical, rigid, archetypal given.
Thus we need to think of gender as much in terms of a verb as a noun: ‘doing gender’ is a responsible cultural activity whose mixed outcomes need to be critically examined in the context of the continuing biblical drama in which we are all actors. For people with a low tolerance for ambiguity, this can be very upsetting. Many of us would rather be like the “wicked and lazy servant” in the parable of the talents (Matt 25:14-30), keeping our assets buried in the cold ground of gender stereotypes and a fall-based gender hierarchy, instead of flexibly multiplying them in the service of God and neighbor.
In Ch. 26 of DBE, Jack and Judith Balswick – a sociologist and marriage and family therapist – have perceptively developed a relational approach to gender in the service of just and flourishing marriages. In such marriages, “The locus of authority is placed in the relationship, not in one spouse or the other,” and both independence and interdependence are crucial:
Behind the ‘two are better than one’ Scripture is the idea that two independent persons have unique strengths to offer each other and the relationship. Without two separate identities, interdependence is not possible. Some hold to the notion that dependency or fusion is the ideal ... [but] two overly dependent persons, hanging on to each other for dear life, have no solid ground on which to stand when things get difficult or an unexpected stress hits (p. 454-55).
Does it matter for these processes that the ‘partners’ are male and female, or does this relations-without-roles model lead to ‘soft androgyny’ and thence to the endorsement of non-heterosexual unions? Clearly not for the Balswicks, since they have included a thoughtful section in their chapter on the demonstrated benefits, for both sons and daughters, of coparenting by fathers and mothers. However, even these gendered and generational dynamics are not as simple as was once thought.
Freudian and functionalist theorists believed that boys, for example, needed to have lots of interaction with their fathers in order to learn ‘correct’ masculine attitudes, behaviors and roles. But there is a wealth of research – both in industrialized and pre-industrial cultures – showing that the more nurturantly involved fathers are with their sons, the more secure those sons are in their gender identity (which is simply the sense of being happy and adequate as a male). At the same time, nurturantly-fathered sons are less likely to engage in stereotypical ‘hypermasculine’ behavior, such as antisocial aggression, the sexual exploitation of girls, or misogynist attitudes and actions.
Similar benefits accrue to nurturantly-fathered girls, who are more likely to show independent achievement and less likely to engage in premature sexual and reproductive activity. Why is this so? In cultures and subcultures where fathers are absent or uninvolved, boys tend to define themselves in opposition to their mothers and other female caretakers, and to engage in misogynist, hypermasculine behaviors as a way to shore up a fragile gender identity. And girls who are not sufficiently affirmed as persons by available and nurturing fathers are at risk of becoming developmentally ‘stuck’ in a mindset that sees sexuality and reproductive potential as the only criteria of feminine success.
The bottom line appears to be this: children of both sexes need to grow up with stable, nurturant, and appropriately-authoritative role-models of both sexes to help develop a secure gender identity. But strong coparenting also allows growing children to relate to each other primarily as human beings, rather than as reduced, gender-role caricatures. Paradoxical as it may seem, those who are most concerned to display rigidly-stereotypical masculinity and femininity are apt to have the least secure gender identities.
Clearly this does not require that children’s role-models always and only be their biological parents. But it strongly suggests there are limits to the diversity of family forms we should encourage around a core norm of heterosexual, role-flexible coparenting, as described by the Balswicks in their DBE chapter. As Genesis l reminds us, sex is indeed something that we share with the lower animals, and as such it is irrelevant to the image of God in humans. At the same time, lifelong cooperation between the sexes is part and parcel -- indeed the climax -- of the Genesis 2 creation account, in a way that is not required of other animals: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Gen 2:24).
This does not mean that all men and women must marry: the New Testament is very clear on the value of singleness. But it does suggest that attempts to form single-sex communities (or to impose a rigid doctrine of separate spheres within families and/or churches) as a way of avoiding the challenges of heterosexual cooperation and gender justice are something less than creationally normative, and will eventually be shown to be so by their results.
An Agenda for the Immediate Future: It is somewhat ironic that neither of the two books (DBMW and DBE) central to the debate about male headship vs. gender mutuality says much about an area of social science research that is vital to this discussion. I refer to the 40-year accumulation of data on the steady rise of divorce and its effects on both children and their parents. America is (at least according to surveys of church membership and attendance) the most Christian of the western industrialized democracies. It also has the highest percentage of people (35%) who have been divorced, and born-again Christians are no less likely to divorce than are non-Christians. A slight majority of born-again American respondents in George Barna’s 2004 national poll even denied that divorce in the absence of adultery should be considered a sin.
Persons and groups on both sides of this debate would thus do well to follow the lead of evangelical journalist Michael McManus, who for the past twenty years has been promoting ‘Community Marriage Policies’ (CMPs) whereby all clergy in a given area agree than none of them will marry any couple who has not gone through a several-month period of marriage preparation using a research-based training program, combined with a mentoring relationship with a more experienced married couple who have also been trained for their mentoring tasks. Since the first such policy was adopted by Modesto, California pastors in 1986, almost 200 communities in forty American states (as well in Canada and England) have followed suit.
Finally, a few words are in order regarding another topic little dealt with in either RBMW or DBE: the possible contribution of male headship ideology to domestic violence and other forms of religious abuse, such as male church leaders sexually exploiting women and children over whom they exercise authority. CBE has sponsored conferences and books on the topic of abuse in the church, and CBMW is clearly anxious to show that headship and submission (as they define these terms) do not contribute to “the epidemic of wife abuse.”
Sociologist Bradford Wilcox has shown that conservative Protestant fathers are more likely to report using corporal punishment than other groups – but also (in keeping with a ‘soft patriarchal’ ideology) more likely to praise and hug their children and less likely to yell at them than other groups, both churched and unaffiliated. He concludes that
Conservative Protestant fathers’ neotraditional parenting style seems to be closer to the authoritative style – characterized by moderately high levels of parental control and high levels of parental supportiveness – that has been linked to positive outcomes among children and adolescents. In any case, the accusations about authoritarian and abusive parenting by conservative Protestants appear overdrawn. The findings paint a more complex portrait of conservative Protestant fathering that reveals a hybrid of strict, puritanical and progressive, child-centered approaches to child rearing –all in keeping with the logic of ‘expressive traditionalism’ guiding this subculture.
The upshot is that we have no evidence so far that a gender-traditionalist ideology – at least of the soft patriarchal variety – is a strong predictor of domestic physical abuse at this time. About its relationship to various forms of abuse (sexual, emotional or physical) in Protestant church settings, we know even less. Does this then suggest that, on issues such as combating domestic violence and lowering divorce rates, groups such as CBE and CBMW might be able to forge strategic bonds of cooperation? In theory, yes, but for other reasons I am skeptical. For one thing, I have rediscovered in the course of doing this review how depressingly anti-intellectual the vanguard of CBMW is. There is much casuistry and hair-splitting about questions of gender as they relate to biblical exegesis, but very little responsible appropriation of best practices and findings in either social science research or its applications. It’s as if these folks really don’t believe in common grace. Moreover, as Gordon Fee notes in Ch. 21 of DBE,
In order to uphold male rule in today’s households [and churches] patriarchalists are regularly faced with the necessity of fine-tuning various rules and restrictions regarding ‘biblical gender roles.’ In the end, the gospel of grace and Spirit is turned into a form of the law, which gives rise to the pharasaic problem of needing to put a hedge around the law, deciding what is or is not ‘allowable’ within its framework.
Peter’s very pharisaic question, ‘How many times must I forgive?’ is now turned into 'What constitutes [womanly] submission?’ ... One wonders whether Paul would laugh or cry. The gospel of grace and gifting leads to a different set of questions: How does one best serve the interest of the other? How does one encourage [not predefine] the Spirit’s gifting in the other? Questions like these cross all gender boundaries.
Appendix A (to view this image larger requires downloading the entire document in Word format from Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen's own website.)
Representative Uses of the Term ‘Complementarity’ in Discovering Biblical Equality: Complementarity Without Hierarchy
Many have argued that women should participate equally with men precisely because they bring complementary gender qualities to marriage, ministry and society. [But] the most recent [use of the] term has often been employed by those who have held the opposite view [i.e., that gender differences are an argument for restricting, not enlarging women’s activities]. (Introduction, p.17).
The concept of ‘complementarity’ carries with it a wide range of connotations. It sometimes simply conveys [for egalitarians] the idea of ‘beneficial difference’ (without implying male authority) ... at other times it is used as a euphemism for a very traditional view of male authority, and yet in other writings it represents a significantly softened male-leadership role that is quite similar in practice to an egalitarian model. (Ronald W. Pierce, ch. 2, “Contemporary Evangelicals for Gender Equality, p. 62, note 26).
[Van Leeuwen’s book Gender and Grace] contended that regarding ‘genes, hormones and hemispheres ... the differences [between male and female], when they occur, are both smaller and more complex that we thought. In most cases they are impossible to separate from the effects of learning.’ In short, her book argued that God-given ‘complementarity,’ to the extent that it can be objectively defined, does not necessarily predetermine ‘gender roles.’ (Pierce, ch. 2, p. 70).
[A]rguing in an egalitarian yet ‘complementary’ fashion, [Ruth Haley Barton, in her 1998 book, Equal to the Task] asserted that God created men and women for life together, ‘a mutuality in teamwork’ that enables them to work together in the office and in marriage, parenting and friendship. (Pierce, ch. 2, p. 73).
Since I was raised in a home and church where gifting took precedence over roles, I find the present debate over equality, complementarity and hierarchy to be something of a retrogression ...There is no biblical culture (in the sociological sense) that belongs to all human societies. And to give continuing significance to a male-authority viewpoint for men and women, whether at home or in church, is to reject the new creation in favor of the norms of a fallen world ...[Yet] I for one have as much resistance to the notion that women ought to be in leadership along with men as to the notion that only males are gifted to lead. The former notion also assumes a gender-based, not gift-based, model for leadership; and both Scripture and common experience give lie to the second notion. (Gordon D. Fee, ch. 10, “Male and Female in the New Creation: Gal 3:26-29,” p. 172, and ch. 14, “The Priority of Spirit Gifting for Church Ministry,” p. 249).
Phyllis Bird argues that gender distinction [complementarity] does not belong to the image of God, or to dominion, but to the theme of fertility that is found in the first chapter of Genesis. Fruitfulness and reproduction are part of the plant and animal world (Gen 1:12 & 22-25) and thus are not unique to the image of God in ‘adam. Whereas ... Genesis I emphasizes the role all of humanity has in dominion over creation. (Richard S. Hess, ch. 3, “Equality With and Without Innocence,” p. 81)
[In the creation account, the first male describes the first female] as ‘woman,’ reflecting unity in personhood and diversity in their gender [Hebrew ‘ish and ‘ishah] ... Later he names her Eve, describing the function she would have in bearing children as the ‘mother of all living’ (hence one could speak of a ‘procreation order’ that counterbalances the creation order, cf. I Cor 11:1`2) ... The term complementarity is an appropriate description of their created relationship. However, there is neither explicit nor implicit mention of any authority or leadership role of the man over the woman, except as the sad result of their sin in the fall and ensuing judgments. Even the, such hierarchy is not presented as an ideal, but rather as a reality of human history like that of weeds that spring from the earth. (Hess, ch. 3, p. 94).
If it is true that the fellowship between Adam and Eve, and consequently between men and women in general, is a means through which God’s image its to be visible in humanity ... then [h]uman sexuality would be at the very center of the Christian doctrine of ‘man.’ Ideally, the equality and dignity of each member of the triune God and the complementarity and unity within the Godhead would be reflected in human male-female relationships. There should be no attempt – by either a man or a woman – to disregard one’s own sexuality or to devalue or degrade the other’s sexuality ... In light of these considerations, it become quite clear that homosexuality is a blatant denial of the very means through which an individual is rightly to reflect God’s image. Likewise, the male chauvinism that has been a blight on society since antiquity and the radical feminist that answers back with equal venom are both diametrically opposed to the will of God. Each so disrespects the other sex as to negate any possibility of men and women’s reflecting the harmony that exists within the Godhead. (Judy L. Brown, ch. 17, “God, Gender and Metaphor, p. 298).
‘Complementary egalitarianism’ takes the redemptive movement in Scripture to complete male-female equality and so seeks out contemporary forms that express mutual deference and honor. There are no leadership or role restrictions within the home or church .... (William J. Webb, ch. 23, “Gender Equality and Homosexuality,” p. 400, note 23).
[T]he egalitarian claim that status differences between men and women are a cultural construct and not inherent in the sexual distinction hardly constitutes a move toward wholesale rejection of male-female complementarity ... God’s creation design ... includes not only undisputed differences in sexual and reproductive function ... but also the general psychological differences that can be discerned in studies comparing groups of men and groups of women. One might well argue that the best way to celebrate these general differences is the inclusion of women in leadership position, since women can bring a focus that complements that of men. In an integrative sense, egalitarians are stronger advocates of complementarity than are hierarchical complementarians! (Webb, p. 402, note 1).
A [further] reason underlying [the Bible’s] homosexual prohibitions is the benefit of raising children by a father and a mother who can provide different yet complementary role models for their sons and daughters ... a natural kinship setting in which each can derive modeling from and relationship with a parent of their own gender. To this consideration one might add the benefits of having a relationship with and opposite-sex parent, as well as the benefits that different-gender spouses bring to a home through their providing gender-complementary (not monolithic) perspectives and ways of doing things. This latter benefit would extend also to a home consisting of a heterosexual couple without children.” (Webb, p. 413).
The physiological differences [between women and men] are clear. Social differences include level of aggression, language styles and same-sex aggression. It is clear from the cross-cultural and genetic studies that God has fashioned men and women with certain differences. And yet both bear his image ... What this suggests is that to appreciate gender complementarity in the church, and in all relationships, is to recognize these differences in a way that will help men and women encourage each other toward the health of both and against the abuse of either. Not all men are aggressive rather than relational. Not all women are relational and not aggressive. Many differences reside within each gender as well. Perhaps true complementarity is marked by an acknowledgement of difference and encouragement for those wanting to grow in both appropriate dominion and sociability [cf. Gen 1:26-28]. (Cynthia Neal Kimball, ch. 27, “Nature, Culture and Gender Complementarity,” pp. 471, 472, 473).
 Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (2825 Lexington Rd., Louisville, KY 40280): “The Danvers Statement” (1989). Also available at http://www.cbmw.org/about/danvers.php and in John Piper and Wayne Grudem, eds. Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism (Wheaton IL: Crossway, 1991), pp. 469-72.
 Christians for Biblical Equality, (122 W. Franklin Ave., Suite 218, Minneapolis, MN 55404):
“Men, Women and Biblical Equality,” (1989). Also available under ‘Other Resources’ at http://www.cbeinternational.org/
 Piper and Grudem, op. cit.
 The Danvers Statement, “Purposes.”
 See for example Maggie Gallagher, “Reflections on Headship,” in David Blankenhorn, Don Browning and Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen, eds., Does Christianity Teach Male Headship? The Equal-Regard Marriage and Its Critics (Grand Rapids MI: Eerdmans, 2004), pp. 111-25. For a balanced review of this volume, see David Neff, “Creating Husbands and Fathers: The Discussion of Gender Roles Moves Beyond ‘Proof-Text Poker,’” Christianity Today, Vol. 48, No. 8 (Aug. 2004), pp. 55-56.
 DBE, pp. 407-408.
 DBE, p. 424.
 See for example Nancy Cott, The Grounding of Modern Feminism (New haven CT: Yale University Press, 1987), Olive Banks, Faces of Feminism: A Study of Feminism as a Social Movement (New York: St Martins Press, 1981) and Margaret L. Koch, “Feminism and Christian Vision: Lessons from the Past,” in Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen, Annelies Knoppers, Margret L. Koch, Douglas J. Schuurman and Helen M. Sterk, After Eden: Facing the Challenge of Gender Reconciliation (Grand Rapids MI: Eerdmans, 1993), pp. 19-43.
 Accompanied (presumably) by their average 2.2 children.
 However, it is of interest to note that in RBMW, the ‘sociology’ chapter is written by a New Testament scholar, and the ‘psychology’ chapter does not review the psychology of gender literature as a whole, but only small slice of the clinical and developmental literature on gender identity formation, with a heavy emphasis on the author’s own research with one clinical sample of convenience. The ‘biology’ chapter relies heavily on animal research, and refers only to one “landmark” (p.281) review of the psychological literature – namely, Eleanor E. Maccoby and Carol N. Jacklin’s The Psychology of Sex Differences (Stanford University Press, 1974). This review, while a pioneer effort when done in the 1970s, concentrates mostly on behavioral differences in preadolescent children, (indeed, almost half the studies reviewed were of preschool children). Moreover, it predated the development of meta-analysis (about which more later in this paper). Its authors thus had only intuitive standards for weighing the relative significance even of the few sex differences they did find in (only) four domain measures: verbal, visual-spatial, mathematical, and measures of aggression.
 See Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen, Gender and Grace: Love, Work and Parenting in a Changing World (Downers Grove IL: InterVarsity Pres, 1990), especially ch. 3-6, and My Brother’s Keeper: What the Social Sciences Do (and Don’t) Tell Us About Masculinity (Downers Grove IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002), especially ch. 4-6.
 See for example Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen, “Of Hoggamus and Hogwash: Evolutionary Psychology and Gender Relations,” Journal of Psychology and Theology, Vol. 30, No. 2 (2002), pp. 101-111, and My Brother’s Keeper: What the Social Science Do (and Don’t) Tell Us About Masculinity (Downers Grove IL: InterVarsity, 2002), ch. 7.
 For example, even among identical twins raised together, if one twin develops schizophrenia, the chances of the other twin developing it are a little less than one in two. This risk, while definitely higher than among pairs of progressively-more distant biological relatedness, is hardly in the same category as the 100% likelihood that identical twins will share the same eye color are blood type. The predispositional vulnerability is magnified (or reduced) by environmental factors.
 A ‘blind’ experiment requires that neither the participants getting the experimental (or control) treatment nor the people administering the treatment nor the persons assessing the results at the end of the experiment know who was randomly assigned to either treatment group.
 Hilary M. Lips, Sex and Gender: An Introduction, 5th ed. (New York: McGraw Hill, 2005), p. 109.
 Ibid., p. 109.
 Longitudinal studies – which are rare, because they are so costly and time-consuming -- can get us a little closer to separating from nature from nurture. Perhaps the most famous longitudinal study in psychology has been Lewis Terman’s more than half-century tracking of over 1000 gifted boys and girls (all with I.Q. scores of over 140) starting in 1922. In this study, therefore I.Q. was deliberately controlled for: participants of both sexes were unusually bright. In spite of this, high childhood I.Q. score was a better predictor of adult public achievement and adult I.Q. scores for the males than for the females: more than two-thirds of the girls with I.Q.s over 170 became homemakers or office workers in adulthood, with a parallel tendency for I.Q. scores to decrease. By contrast, occupation – not gender – accounted best for I.Q. stability over the participants’ lifespans: those (fewer) women and (more) men who channeled their intelligence and education into publicly-demanding careers were much more likely to display stability of I.Q. test scores from childhood through adulthood. Environment was thus a better predictor than gender per se of adult test scores. A later (but more modest) longitudinal study by Eleanor Maccoby and her colleagues of three cohorts of (normal-range) children from birth through preschool years, using a variety of biological, psychological and relational measures, found that for many variables, birth order accounted for as much or more of the variability in scores as did gender, again underscoring the importance of environmental both as a main effect and one that interacts with biology. For further details of these studies, see Lips, Sex and Gender, ch. 4.
 There now exist both print and online media aimed at reducing the ‘file drawer’ effect, including The Journal of Articles in Support of the Null Hypothesis (www.jasnh.com) and the Index of Null Effects and Replication Failures (www.jasnh.com/m9.htm).
 Thus the file drawer effect can work either way: it can mask large differences that just fail to attain statistical significance, as well as differences that that are neither statistically nor practically significant. Most journals in the psychological sciences only publish about 5% of the studies that fail to meet traditional levels of statistical significance, the rest ending up in the file drawers of their researchers. For an accessible discussion of these issues, see Christopher Shea, “Psychologists Debate Accuracy of ‘Significance Test,’” The Chronicle of Higher Education, Aug. 16, 1996, pp. 12 & 17.
 Cynthia Neal Kimball mentions this technique in passing in DBE, ch. 27, p. 473.
 An example of the use of this earlier method would be the Maccoby and Jacklin literature review mentioned in note 10.
 Pictorially, the ‘variability’ of scores refers to how ‘fat’ or ‘skinny’ the bell curves of the scores are for the groups in any study. It’s important to take account of because, other things being equal, the skinnier the bell curves, the less likely it is that an average difference between the groups in the study is due to chance.
 Note that meta-analysts, unlike those using more standard techniques, do not simply ask, “Did the average difference between the groups – however large or small -- manage to make the <.05 cutoff for statistical significance?”  This is another way of asking whether the differences between the male and females scores are bigger or smaller than the amount of variability within each sex group, or asking how much of the variance in the scores can be explained by the sex of the participants in the study. The best meta-analyses will include as many unpublished studies as possible (to reduce the file drawer effect), and also have clear methodological standards for which studies are included – e.g., only studies whose measures have demonstrated construct validity, only studies in which participants are randomly assigned to conditions, etc.
 A d of 1.00 would mean that, after meta-analysis has been done, the average gap between men’s and women’s scores is a full standard deviation in size. By convention, all ‘bell curves’ or distributions of scores are divided across the curve into eight equal standard-deviation units.
 By convention, effect sizes (d’s) of 0.0 - .35 are considered small; those from .36 - .65 are considered medium, and those above .65 are considered ‘large.’ It is worth noting that, according to one review, 60% of the effect sizes found in the psychology of gender are in the ‘small’ range, as compared to 36% in all other areas of psychology where meta-analyses have been done. See Janet S. Hyde and Marcia C. Linn, The Psychology of Gender: Advances Through Meta-analysis (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), and Janet S. Hyde and Elizabeth Ashby Plant, “Magnitude of Psychological Gender Differences: Another Side to the Story,” American Psychologist, Vol. 50, Bo. 3 (March 1995), pp. 159-61.
 Good reviews of the meta-analytic research on gender can be found in Lips, Sex and Gender, ch. 3 and 4, and Vicki S. Hegelson, The Psychology of Gender (Upper Saddle River N.J.: Prentice Hall, 2002), ch. 3.
 Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile, trans. Allan Bloom (New York: Basic Books, 1979). Rousseau’s idea that the sexes should be ‘opposite’ was one of the first modern departures from the longer-standing Aristotelian notion that women and men were in all ways alike – except that women were ‘lesser’ than men in all their human capacities – for rationality, autonomy, artistry, friendship, etc. For Aristotle women were – in Dorothy Sayers’s memorable phrase – ‘The Human-Not-Quite-Human.’ See Dorothy Sayers, Are Women Human? (Downers Grove IL: InterVarsity Press, 1975), pp. 37-47.
 For example, Talcott Parsons and Robert F. Bales, Family, Socialization and Interaction Process (New York: The Free Press, 1955). For a critical assessment of functionalism as it applies to gender, see Michael S. Kimmel, The Gendered Society, 2nd ed. (New York: Oxford, 2004), especially ch. 3.
 See Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen, “Abraham Kuyper and the Cult of True Womanhood,” Calvin Theological Journal, Vol. 31, No. 1 (April 1996), pp. 97-124, and “The Carrot and the Stick” Abraham Kuyer on Gender, family and Class,” in Luis Lugo, ed. Religion, Pluralism and Public Life: Abraham Kuyper’s Legacy for the 21st Century (Grand Rapids MI: Eerdmans, 2000), pp. 59-84.
 Abraham Kuyper, “De Eerepositie der Vrouw (The Woman’s Position of Honor),” (Kampen: Kok, 1932), trans. Irene Konyndyk (Calvin College, 1992), pp. 11 and 13 (Kuyper’s emphasis).
 See for example sociologist John P. Bartkowsi’s analysis of patriarchal vs. egalitarian themes in contemporary evangelical marriage manuals: “Debating Patriarchy: Discursive Disputes over Spousal Authority Among Evangelical Family Commentators,” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Vol. 36, No. 3 (1997), pp. 393-410. For accounts of how evangelical and fundamentalist Christian women both contest and cooperate with church-defined gender roles and gender hierarchy, see Brenda E. Brasher, Godly Women: Fundamentalism and Female Power (New Brunswick N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1998); R. Marie Griffith, God’s Daughters: Evangelical Women and the Power of Submission (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997); and Christel Manning, God Gave Us the Right: Conservative Catholic, Evangelical Protestant and Orthodox Jewish Women Grapple With Feminism (New Brunswick N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1999).
 For a further discussion of gender justice in the context of support for the Kuyperian concept of sphere sovereignty (including the sovereign rights of families as one creational sphere of human cultural activity) see Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen, “Faith, Feminism and the Family in an Age of Globalization,” in Max L. Stackhouse and Peter J. Paris, eds., Religion and the Powers of the Common Life (Harrisburg PA: Trinity Press International, 2000), pp.184-230.
 Faith Martin, “Mystical Masculinity: The New Questions Facing Women,” Priscilla Papers, Vol. 12,
No. 1 (Winter 1998), pp. 6-12.
 Elisabeth Elliot, Let Me Be a Woman (Wheaton IL: Tyndale, 1982).
 Thomas Howard, “A Note from Antiquity on the Question of Women’s Ordination,” The Churchman: A Journal of Anglican Theology, Vol. 92, No. 4 (1978), p. 323. Howard is in part following C.S. Lewis’ notion that certain themes in pagan myths (e.g., the dying and rising god) are foreshadowings of the ‘myth made flesh’ in Jesus Christ. But even Lewis realized that such myths are only “a starting point from which one road leads home and a thousand roads lead into the wilderness.” The Pilgrim’s Regress: An Allegorical Apology for Christianity, Reason and Romanticism (London: J.M. Dent, 1933), p. 153 (Lewis’ emphases). In other words, just because pagan myths were pointing in a Christian direction with regard to their intuitions about dying and rising gods does not make them proto-Christian when they talk about male sky gods and female earth mothers. Lewis himself, however, was clearly inconsistent on this point, embracing as part of ‘mere’ (i.e. basic) Christianity all kinds of assumptions about the ‘masculinity’ of God and essential, metaphysical character differences between women and men. See Candice Fredrick and Sam McBride, Women Among the Inklings: Gender, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and Charles Williams (Westport CT: Greenwood Press, 2001), and Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen, “The Anti-Reductionist Reductionist: C.S. Lewis, Science and Gender Relations,” The March 2004 C.S. Lewis Lecture at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga http://eastern.edu/academic/trad_undg/sas/depts/psychology/mvanleeu/Lewis.doc
 p. 446. The “Venus-Mars” reference is to John Gray’s popular volume, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus (New York: HarperCollins, 1992). Such dichotomous views of the sexes seem to be popular because many people yearn for simple solutions to complex human challenges. As one of my male students memorably observed, “Mere tendencies don’t sell books.”
 As CBMW appears to do when it says (in Answer 29 to “Fifty Crucial Questions”), “Women are weaker in some ways and men are weaker in some ways; women are smarter in some ways and men are smarter in some ways ... God intends for all the ‘weaknesses’ that characteristically belong to men to call forth and highlight woman’s strengths. And God intends for all the ‘weaknesses’ that characteristically belong to woman to call forth and highlight man’s strengths.” (http://www.cmbw.org.questions/29.php)
 For example, Perry Treadwell, “Biologic Influences on Masculinity,” in Harry Brod, ed. The Making of Masculinities: The New Men’s Studies (Boston: Allen and Unwin, 1989), pp.259-85.
 David Buss, The Evolution of Desire (New York: Basic Books, 1994).
 Natalie Angier, Women: An Intimate Geography (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999), p. 331.
 Alice H. Eagly and Wendy Wood, “The Origins of Sex Differences in Human Behavior: Evolved Dispositions Versus Social Roles,” American Psychologist, Vol. 54, No. 6 (1999), pp. 184-230.
 For further explanation of the development and use of these measures, see Human Development Report of the United Nations Development Program (New York: Oxford, 1995).
 Even in Buss’ own study, when asked what qualities are most important in a mate, both sexes, on average, ranked love, dependability, emotional stability and a pleasing personality as the highest four. Only in the average fifth rankings did the differences predicted by Buss’ evolutionary hypothesis emerge. And, as Eagly and Wood showed, those already low-ranking differences were ranked lower and lower as gender equality increased.
 See also Miroslav Volf, Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation (Nashville TN: Abingdon, 1996), especially ch. 4.
 For reviews of this literature, see Scott Coltrane, Family Man: Fatherhood, Housework, and Gender Equity (New York: Oxford, 1996) and Van Leeuwen, My Borther’s Keeper, ch. 6, 8, and 10.
 This might be grounds for worrying not only about the development of misogyny in boys raised in lesbian households, but boys in conservative Christian home-schooling households, given that almost all such homeschooling is done by mothers. For a sociological analysis of the homeschooling movement in America, see Mitchell Stevens, Kingdom of Children: Culture and Controversy in the Homeschooling Movement (Princeton University Press, 2001).
 Scott Coltrane’s analysis of almost a hundred preindustrial societies (Note 45) shows that nurturant fathering of children also correlates strongly with reduced abuse of women, and greater empowerment and voice for women in the cultures where involved fathering takes place.
 In fact, given that the metaphor of adoption is such a central one in the overall biblical narrative, I am surprised that neither RBMW nor DBE has a chapter on its significance for the organization of family and church life. See for example Jeanne Stevenson-Moessner, The Spirit of Adoption: At Home in God’s Family (Louisville KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2003) and Timothy P. Jackson, ed. The Moral and Theological Context of Adoption (Grand Rapids MI: Eerdmans, in press).
 David A. Fraser, “Focus on the Biblical Family: Sociological and Normative Considerations,” in Joseph B. Modica, ed., The Gospel With Extra Salt (Valley Forge PA: Judson Press, 2000), pp. 1-29 (quotation from p. 18).
 “Born-Again Christians Just As Likely to Divorce As Are Non-Christians,” The Barna Update, Sept. 8, 2004 (http://www.barna.org/FlxPage.aspx?PageCMD) Barna notes in this article that many non-Christian adults cohabit, thus effectively side-stepping marriage and divorce altogether. But he also points out that if this latter group married at the same rate as Christians, their divorce statistic would be roughly 38% --still not much higher than the 35% rate that characterizes born-again Americans. He also notes that most divorces among the born-again take place after – not before – their conversion, and that almost a quarter of born-agains have been through two or more divorces.
 The passage reads: “Jesus replied, ‘Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.’”
 Part of this consensus is that divorce may be the lesser of two evils in the case of high-conflict marriages; however, in the U.S.A. fully two-thirds of divorces occur in low-conflict marriages, many of which could be prevented with good, researched-based marital preparation programs, or salvaged with appropriate counseling. For a good review of the relevant literature see John Wall, Don Browning, William J. Doherty and Stephen Post, eds., Marriage, Health and the Professions: If Marriage is Good for You, What Does This Mean for Law, Medicine, Ministry, Therapy and Business? (Grand Rapids MI: Eerdmans, 2002). See also David P. Gushee, Getting Marriage Right: Realistic Counsel for Saving and Strengthening Relationships (Grand Rapids MI: Baker, 2004), and Tim Stafford, “Can This Institution Be Saved?” Christianity Today, Vol. 48, No. 11 (November 2004), pp. 52-59.
 See for example William J. Doherty and Jason S. Carroll, “Health and the Ethics of Marital Therapy and Education,” in Wall et al., Marriage, Health and the Professions, pp. 208-32.
 Stanley Weed, Paul Birch and Joseph A. Olsen: Study of the impact of Community Marriage Policies on divorce rates in 114 pairs of matched American counties, Family Relations, in press. The lower divorce rate in CMP counties translates into about 31,000 saved marriages over seven years. An excellent resource for marriage education information is the electronic data base maintained by social worker Diane Sollee at http://www.smartmarriages.com/ .
 In this respect, it is of interest to note that in Barna’s 2004 survey (see Note 51), the lowest rate of divorce was in the more highly-secularized northeastern seaboard region.
 Catherine Clark Kroeger and James Beck, eds. Healing the Hurt: Giving Hope and Help to Abused Women (Grand Rapids MI: Baker, 1998); Catherine Clark Kroeger and Nancy Nason-Clark, No Place for Abuse: Biblical and Practical Resources to Counteract Domestic Violence (Downers Grove IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001).
 http://www.cbmw.org/questions (especially questions 5, 8 and 9).
 Committee to Study Physical, Emotional and Sexual Abuse: Report 30, Agenda for Synod of the Christian Reformed Church in North America (Grand Rapids MI: C.R.C. Publications, 1992), pp. 313-58.
 W. Bradford Wilcox, Soft Patriarchs, New Men:How ChristianityShapes Fathers and Husbands (University of Chicago Press, 2004), p. 129.
 Douglas LeBlanc, “Affectionate Patriarchs: An Interview With W. Bradford Wilcox,” Christianity Today, Vol. 48, No. 8 (August 2004), pp. 44-46.
 Wilcox, Soft Patriarchs, ch. 3. The NSFH 1992-94 study found that just over 7% of nominally Protestant husbands committed domestic violence, compared with just under 3% of active conservative Protestants. Other groups percentages (e.g., nominal and active mainline Protestants, unaffiliated respondents) ranged between these two.
 Gordon D. Fee, “Hermeneutics and the Gender Debate,” DBE, p. 379. CBMW’s accumulation of more and more ‘hedges around the law’ is particularly evident in its answers to Fifty Crucial Questions (www.cbmw.org/questions).
tag: bible, CBE, Christians for Biblical Equality, feminism, feminist, feminists for life, marriage, Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen