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A critical look at Evangelical marriage advice and its implications for gender equality

The article from Baptist News Global discusses a controversial sermon by Southern Baptist megachurch pastor Josh Howerton, which initiated a broader discussion on harmful evangelical teachings regarding sex and marriage.

Howerton’s advice to women about their wedding night has been widely criticized for perpetuating gender stereotypes and fostering a culture of sexual entitlement and submission within marriage. Critics argue this advice reflects a deeper issue within evangelical culture that undermines human flourishing and contributes to a problematic understanding of sexual relationships, potentially leading to abuse.

The conversation extends to the impact of such teachings on women’s perception of sex within marriage and the broader evangelical teachings that contribute to these harmful dynamics.

Baptist News Global reports:

On your wedding night, “stand where he tells you to stand, wear what he tells you to wear, and do what he tells you to do.”

This is the advice Southern Baptist megachurch pastor Josh Howerton gave the women of his congregation last month at Lakepointe Church in Dallas.

If these words had been spoken by a traditional Baptist pastor in his 60s wearing a suit and tie and standing behind a wooden pulpit, many young couples would have been mortified. But when this advice is given by an attractive younger man with the posture of a standup comedian donning a jean jacket and surrounded by cool stage lighting, everyone laughed and cheered.

The response outside the church has not been so kind. A video of the sermon is being shared widely, and many people are calling out Howerton for his views on women and marriage and submission.

This is part of a larger conversation we need to face head on because this is bigger than Howerton. What’s happening here is a sacralized attack on human flourishing and a demonstration of how authoritarian pastors wield modern worship and aesthetics as the drugs to help their misogyny go down.

Read the full article here.

Key Points

  • Howerton’s sermon advice to women for their wedding night sparked outrage and opened a conversation on harmful evangelical teachings about sex.
  • Critics argue these teachings perpetuate gender stereotypes, foster sexual entitlement, and contribute to a culture that can lead to abuse.
  • The issue is seen as part of a broader problem within evangelical culture that undermines human flourishing.

Themes Pros Cons
Impact on Women’s Perception of Sex Raises awareness about the need for a healthier understanding of sexual relationships in marriage. Promotes a duty-bound perspective on sex for women, undermining mutual respect and pleasure.
Evangelical Teaching on Sex and Marriage Sparks conversation and potential reassessment of harmful teachings. Reflects and reinforces deep-seated gender stereotypes and authority dynamics.

Questions to Consider

  1. How do such teachings affect the dynamics of marriage and sexual consent within evangelical communities?
  2. What are the implications of conflating religious authority with personal entitlement in marital relationships?
  3. How can evangelical communities address and reform teachings that contribute to harmful dynamics between men and women?

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  • Try to see both sides says:

    It was not the smartest thing to say, BUT it was a joke and you left out the first part where he said to the men that ‘A little girl dreams of her wedding so stand where she tells you to stand, wear what she tells you to wear and do what she tells you to do and you will have a happy wife. Then he says that men have been dreaming about the wedding night so….(Then the ‘advice’ above.) The problem of jokes and stereotypes that men are the only ones interested in sex are harmful, but I am more concerned that media and reporting have devolved into misleading headlines.

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