January 27, 2021

Voddie Baucham: Why Gov. Palin Should Be At Home

Voddie Baucham is an influential person among a lot of people in the Southern Baptist Convention. He spoke at the Founder’s Breakfast recently, he does the reformed conference circuit, and his ideas on family and church are making major inroads among younger Southern Baptists.

Pastor Baucham is nothing if not a consistent complementarian. He’s dead on against Gov. Palin being Governor, Vice President or even driving 45 minutes to work.

If you never read where conservative complementarianism goes when it consistently applies the principle that men should be in charge and women should submit, then read Pastor Baucham’s detailed explanation of what’s wrong with the Palin nomination….and the Palin family and marriage.

I appreciate the complementarians that have staked out a different position, but isn’t Baucham more consistent? And is there any doubt that his views will soon have a significant influence in the SBC and among the young, restless and reformed?

Can you be a “moderate” complementarian when Baucham’s case is so impressive?


  1. Good gracious, I can’t believe he’s making moral statements about her decisions during her pregnancy!!!!! She wasn’t putting her child at risk, even if she did go into labor all it would mean is that she would deliver at a different hospital–whoopdee-doo! I know that’s the smallest issue here and not the main point, but I find it highly ridiculous that he’s stooping that low to make her look bad. And I’m an egalitarian, so while I don’t agree with his views, I think he is being more consistent than what other complementarians are saying.

  2. I think he does make a fair point that a family with 5 kids probably doesn’t leave room to be Governor or VP if the home is a place that provides for the emotional, physical and spiritual needs of everyone in the home, regardless of the gender of the income earner. The implications of this principle are many, and probably would result in changes many Christians wouldn’t consider, and many churches wouldn’t allow of their own pastors.

  3. From a complementarian worldview, Baucham is quite correct. If I remember those Bill Gothard seminars aright: Palin needs to be at home raising her kids, not usurping the spiritual headship from her husband; and then, outside the umbrella of his spiritual protection (and, by extension, outside God’s divine will) subtly corrupting the citizens of Alaska, John McCain, the Neocons, or the Senate if she becomes Vice President. Despite her God-honoring positions on abortion and gays, God simply cannot honor anything she does outside her proper, God-ordained place.

    Of course, I’m not a complementarian. I do believe the husband is to be the spiritual head over the wife, inside their relationship; and incumbent in being the “spiritual head” is facilitating her spiritual needs rather than lording his position over her. If it’s God’s will that the wife run for office, the husband, as spiritual head, is to do whatever it takes to make that possible, while at the same time making sure that his wife never loses sight that she’s doing it for God, and never resorts to bearing false witness against her opponent in regards to the opponent’s alleged associations with Sixties radicals….


    Well, the point is that a lot of this responsibility falls upon the husband; something complementarians forget ’cause they forget the whole point behind that time Jesus washed feet.

  4. I’m actually mystified: why do you think Baucham’s case is impressive? (Full disclosure: I attend a complementarian church though some might consider my own life full of heteropraxy.) Honestly, Baucham makes a lot of assumptions that he doesn’t even bother to support. Possibly they seem like obvious assumptions in the SBC? They don’t seem like obvious assumptions from where I sit.

    Take care & God bless
    Anne / WF

  5. I have been involved in other discussions on this issue on this blog as an egalitarian. However, I find Baucham’s complementarianism much easier to swallow than a lot of the strident culture war drivel out there. Number one, he is more consistent, and I respect that. Number two, he focuses more on the personal side of the story than those who make only broad, sweeping, politicized statements. He’s absolutely right when he says that VP (or any such high office) is not a family-friendly job for a woman or a man. While I disagree with the overall complementarian interpretation that the Bible presents a consistent external form into which family relationships must fit, I certainly sympathize with his concern that we take care of business at home.

  6. You are right, he is being very consistent with his theology. I commend him for that, particularly since it should help to steer people away from that theology.

    Holy Tradition is again helpful in interpreting Scripture here. Look at how many women were lauded by the Early Church and called “Equal to the Apostles.” The most famous of them is Mary Magdalene, but there were many others. They evangelized; they prophesized; they healed; they were missionaries; they died as martyrs; later some led nations, etc. And yet, none were bishops or priests (you would say elders, GRIN), or preached from the pulpit.

    In fact, Early Church history and martyrology gives the lie to complementarism, as it is being expressed in that article.

  7. I agree that this is the view of a consistent complementarian. But, it is worth being fair to say that an egalitarian who supports same sex marriage (like Peggy Campolo – Tony Campolo’s wife) is also being consistent.

  8. I think I’m beginning to understand how this whole women’s lib thing got started. It is a response to male ego’s pretending to be christian. God created us each one to be the best individual we can be. To rely on Him to make His will known. There is no blanket statement that one can do this, but another cannot. While I may not agree with Hillary Clinton’s political positions, she has to my mind, demonstrated a “christian virtue” in not divorcing Bill when it appears she had every right to. And still was able to raise a child, and be a wife. Same with Palin, whe seems to be able to balanced and still be great. Maybe instead of being criticle we should stop and learn a thing or two from her. Maybe we would learn how to have a life and reach out to the lost around us. To evangelize, and disciple at the same time.

  9. Jan Dillaha says

    This issue has caused me to wonder about a couple of things.

    We question whether a woman can raise children and still work outside the home. Seems to me that there have always been tasks inside the home and outside of it that caused women to focus on more than just her children.

    We believe that both a man and a woman as husband and wife, father and mother, are vital to raising children. Then we say that in order to honor the roll that God created for mothers that a woman should be singularly focused on the home and raising the kids. Men can work outside the home 100+ hours a week, travel for work, etc and their impact on the family and raising the children isn’t questioned.

    If we question one, we need to question both.

  10. I’m often amazed at the drivel passing itself off as Christian out there in the market place. I am often confused at how people read the Bible to find justification for all sorts of political and cultural ideas, yet seem to miss this whole thing about Jesus Christ, and the forgiveness of sins. I don’t think Jesus died on the cross in order to tell Sarah Palin she should stay home and not be V.P. or Governor of Alaska. Some how I just don’t think that was the point of it all. I don’t think that was even a supporting point or a sub point.
    Do you go along with the Michael, or are you just throwing it out there? If you do, how does that reconcile with your ideas on women’s ordination?
    (Want to know another, not so family friendly occupation? Pastor. I grew up a P.K. with a stay at home mom. Not all it was cracked up to be. Things got better when my mom went to work. Of course I find myself doing the same thing my dad used to, find time for everyone but family.)
    Thing is people have to make their own decisions in this world we live in, especially when it comes to family. We don’t need pastors telling dad’s they are sinning for staying at home, or moms are sinning for going to work and doing what they do well. We need pastors proclaiming the forgiveness of sins for which Christ died that we might be able to live in the world we live in, even if we are not of it. Let Sarah deal with her own family, I’m sure the rest of us have a few planks we can pull out of our own.

  11. Aside from the debate over how a complementarian position applies to everyday life and work, I guess I am confused as to how this plays out with respect to the election and how we as voters should respond. Is Pastor Baucham suggesting that because Gov. Palin is abdicating her biblical role that those Christians who are inclined to vote Republican should not do so??? How much should we allow her personal/professional decisions to affect our civic duty decisions??

  12. Arguments for complentarianism aside, his “my heart is breaking for” routine is highly condescending and full of assumptions that everyone in the family is missing out and being neglected by Palin.

    It seems impossible, in his view, that the family could be happy and functional as it is….no matter how much the various members of the family might disagree.

    Lord…save us from the misplaced concern of others.

  13. A few somewhat connected thoughts:

    I don’t think it matters necesarily whether Mr. Bauchum’s position is ‘more consistent’. Any truth taken to it’s logical conclusion, or even close to it, will get you in trouble. We’ve seen recently in the Charles Ray event what trouble taking reformed theology to its logical conclusion, and rabidly defending it, can cause.

    Reading Mr. Bauchum’s article, it is easy to get cynical about the political motivations and calculations in nominating Gov. Palin. I have no doubt that being young and female figured in her nomination as part of the one-upmanship in the contest with Obama. For better or worse, that’s politics. I’m sure there are many other men with as good or better credentials as Gov. Palin that in another situation would have been nominated.

    But setting that aside and looking at consistent application of principle:

    The consensus regarding Jared Wilson in Michael’s entry “Is it a sin to be a stay at home dad?” seemed to be that scriptural family order does not include saying that a woman has to ‘stay at home’ to be in right relationship with her husband and family; being better able to provide materialy should be a valid consideration in deciding who does what chores in a particular household. Being a doctor (Jared’s wife) does not seem to be any more ‘family friendly’ than being a Washingon politician: both are high-pressure, many hours a week jobs. Maybe the relativism virus has thoroughly twisted my brain cells, but it seems that God gives grace to some to ‘bend the rules’ of whatever is the popular wisdom of the day while being involved in His purposes.

    Early in life I accepted at face value a clear description of male and female roles. But I keep discovering how much is read into scripture that isn’t necesarily there, and having to keep going back and re-examining if I was sold a bill of goods. Life sure gets complicated at times…

  14. This guy really has no idea what the Govenor does all day and where the priority to nurture her children falls in her day to day activites.

    The problem with this whole idea is that we have no real objective rules on how to raise our children in scripture, just very broad generalizations.

    Many parents do just plain suck. They throw their kids in front of a tv and ignore them, but the alternative doesn’t have to mean spending 24/7 coddling your kids.

    This is one of those many case by case basis things and honestly it is not for anyone out side her immediate family and friend to consider.

    Except of course, from the perspctive whether or not you think her 5 kids will hinder her from doing her public duties, which would effect how you vote.

    I honestly think thta people like this guy are genuinely worried that they would be enabling someone, in tthe sense of encouraging an addict to sin, by voting for her.

    I also can’t help but wonder if the verse about being busybodies only applies to women. I am willing to bet that it applies to those doing the “reformed conference circuit”.

    How’s that working for his family? Are we sure he’s not spending too much time on the road?

  15. This is the flipside of the Stay at Home Dad post. I think the ideas of submission and the gender roles in the Bible have to do with attitude and heart and applying godly attitudes to whatever job/domestic role we play in our society. It’s not the jobs we do or don’t do that make us counter-scriptural, but the way we approach our jobs/domestic roles in our hearts and minds. We can get legal about what we think a godly man or woman looks like in our society in terms of our home and job roles, but I think then we’ll miss the point. I can be a stay-at-home barefoot and pregnant wife, but if I’m disobeying God in my attitudes and actions towards my husband, then I’m not meeting God’s will or design for me as a woman or for the family. At the same time, I can be the family breadwinner, but if I am following God’s prescription for honoring my husband, can it be said that I’m not “profamily” as God would have me be pro-family?

  16. “Gov. Palin’s opted to board a jet from Dallas in April while about to deliver a child. Gov. Palin, who was eight months pregnant, says she felt a few contractions shortly before she was to give a keynote speech to an energy summit of governors in Dallas. But she says she went ahead with it after her doctor in Alaska advised her to put her feet up to rest. “I was not going to miss that speech,” she says.”
    She put her child at risk, not for an official, necessary, or emergency duty as the Governor of Alaska, but because she simply “was not going to miss out on that speech.”
    As a former Navy medical corpsman, a pilot, and now a lawyer, there’s a reason
    why flying ten hours while almost nine months pregnant is a bad idea and the airlines don’t allow it if they catch it- not only can the child be hurt, but there are legal complications. If the baby hadn’t survived, there could be a case for criminal manslaughter against both the mother and the airline. (If the DA were really aggresive, he could even make a case for First-degree reckless murder, which is “the reckless causing of the death of another human being or unborn child under circumstances which show an utter disregard for human life.” I saw that tried once, though it failed.) Flying while almost nine months pregnant is one of the most irresponsible things a mother can do- she would have been better off drinking a fifth of whiskey and snorting coke. On this point at least, he’s absolutely right, and its odd that more public commentary of this hasn’t happened in the supposedly pro-family evangelical community.

  17. Internet Monk,
    Urgh. Sorry, but I fully disagree with him.

    I echo all of Jen E’s comments above. Her words exactly resonate with my heart and thoughts on this issue.

    Truly, it’s a matter of listening to the Holy Spirit within our hearts. I believe that He speaks to us as an individual and couple with what to do. To outright say “All women should be “stay-at-home mother’s’ is putting all females into a cookie-cutter mold or box. This discounts and causes one to close off their hearts from listening to and heeding what Father knows is best and fitting for their family and situation. This disregard to His living Word spoken within our hearts usually causes one to make a decision based upon “Tradition” instead of His Truth…whatever that will be for the couple. Hmm…something which which Religiosity has been doing all too well for far too long. It’s the “conformity complex.”

    ~Amy 🙂

  18. Jen E: Well said. The main problem with most complementarian positions is that they absolutize external forms. That’s not what Biblical “family values” are all about.

  19. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Somebody enlighten me as to the difference between Complementarianism (now that’s a mouthful!) and Islamic male supremacy?

    And why Complementarians are drinking the watered-down stuff when Shari’a pours it straight on the rocks?

  20. Headless Unicorn Guy,
    Good question. And maybe someone can straighten me out here, but here’s what I’ve heard: women are to submit and respect their husbands and husbands are to love their wives. I don’t see a lot of love in Islamic male supremacy, if any at all.

    At the same time, I’ve seen the “Islamic male supremacy” attitude in evangelicalism because the man “forgets” his part of God’s command while insisting the woman follows hers. The two have to go together, and as always, it’s a hard balance to maintain. But it’s still one that Christ calls us to maintain even if the spouse doesn’t (you know, the whole “love your enemy” who happens to be your spouse thing).

  21. Jen:

    I don’t think the extreme mistreatment of women in some parts of Islam should cause us to say Muslim husbands don’t love their wives. That would be a serious generalization. My Muslim friends all love their wives and families and vice versa.

    And where I live, domestic violence in “Christian” families is common.



    • “And where I live, domestic violence in “Christian” families is common.

      I’ve been in law enforcement for over 15 years and I can tell you that so called domestic violence should be called shack-up violence. I rarely see abuse of wives by their husbands. What I do see every day is a drunk woman and her drunk boyfriend, neither of whom are real Christians, assaulting each other over the last beer or marijuana cigeratte. I don’t think I’ve ever even heard of a married church going couple engaging in phyiscal violence.

  22. WenatcheeTheHatchet says

    Complentarians view their position as the reasonable middle ground be egalitarianism and a strictly hierarchical position. My hunch is the lack of appeal for the position is that if you boil it down it amounts to a form of subordinationism that is based on a “separate but equal” approach. The guilt-by-association problems with this kind of reasoning are so obvious as to need no elaboration.

  23. I stand corrected. I didn’t mean to imply that all Muslims don’t love their wives. Like you, we know Muslims that love their wives and families. I was referring to the “extreme” fundamentalist Muslims that adhere or force Shari’a laws. Perhaps I’m even wrong in that thought, but I can’t help but think that the mistreatment of women isn’t unloving. If I’m wrong in even that, please point it out.

  24. The slim thread on which the complementarian position is based on this matter is Titus 2:5, where Titus is told to instruct the young women to be “keepers (or workers) at home.” I think this is the only Scripture Baucham references. Does this verse require women to stay at home and forbid them from working outside the home?

    I think not. In fact, the context in the Pastorals indicates several problems regarding women, one of which is that of being idle busybodies, going around from house to house and gossiping (see 1Tim 5.17). In contrast to that, Titus encourages them to fulfill their family responsibilities at home.

    Homer Kent puts it this way: This “describes the active housewife, whose labors are beyond measure and whose efforts will bless the lives of her children and husband in countless ways. Such a wife is to be distinguished from the busy body whose idleness is a curse to her and all her acquaintances.” We might compare Paul’s instruction to the description of the wise woman in Prov 31: “She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.” And as we all know, the “woman of excellence” was no “stay at home” mom.

  25. I am confused as to why you think VB’s case is impressive? Much of this is outdated anyway. Palin doesn’t have 5 children at home–one is now off fighting as a soldier and one is about ready to get married, which leaves at most only 3. Not that I think this is a small matter. I’m a mom and I can’t FATHOM becoming VP of the United States with small children–but I sure as heck am happy someone will do it for me. “There is a tide in the affairs of men which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune, omitted all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries…and we must take the current when it serves or lose our ventures (Shakespeare).” We’ve come to a time in this country when the overall culture will not respect, or heed, the woman’s role at home. We will eventually have a women in the White House, whether it’s Palin, Clinton or someone else and I would rather have Palin. Sometimes, the stakes are high enough to require personal sacrifice. If our families are to be continually bombarded by anti-family legislation, I would rather have an advocate as my Vice President. Many men have made similar sacrifices in their personal family lives because of the importance of national affairs. Take, for example, John Adams, most influential member of the original Continental Congress, delegate to France, Holland and England, and 2nd President of the United States. He made massive sacrifices and was away from his family for most of 17 years. It was tragically difficult on his family, but they all supported the importance of his role in the birth of their new nation. He fought for good things and was a godly Christian man. My argument is NOT that women are the same as men, but that our current times may call upon some women to make the sacrifices men have made in the past. It’s not the best thing for one family, but it may support the efforts of thousands more.

  26. Caila: Those who like those kinds of arguments would be impressed. I’m not. My tongue was planted firmly in my cheek.

  27. Oh. Haha. 🙂 I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now, I should have known… .

  28. For what its worth…I am a firm complementarian – I think Scripture is clear regarding gender role distinctions in the family.

    Still, I view Baucham’s views as eisegetically moving beyond what the Scriptures themselves say. I do not think that Baucham is the “logical conclusion” to a complementarian understanding. The Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CMBW), arguably the vanguard of the current complementarian movement, is very cautious about not going where Baucham has gone.

    Not that there aren’t excesses – but I would guess that many orthodox egalitarians don’t want to be defined by Rev. Chuck Currie anymore than many complementarians want to be known by Baucham.

    Comments like “From a complementarian worldview, Baucham is quite correct” strike me as examples of defining a position without understanding how an adherent would define his own position – on the order of “Obama is nothing but a baby-killer” or “McCain is a bloodthirsty warmonger.” It adds nothing to the discussion.

  29. I searched the CBMW site and found three articles on their blog by David Kotter on the subject, “Does Sarah Palin Present a Dilemma for Complementarians?” (http://www.cbmw.org/Blog/Posts/Does-Governor-Sarah-Palin-Present-a-Dilemma-for-Complementarians). After a lot of tortured logic about the differences between the home and church on the one hand and public service on the other hand, he comes to this as his bottom line: “Whether or not it is wise to run for public office in this situation is a question for Sarah Palin, her husband, and her pastor before God.” Well, well. Sounds like in this sphere of life, we’re being called upon to seek Biblical wisdom and not to invoke external forms as the appropriate answer. If only he could see that Scripture teaches the same with regard to the specifics of the husband-wife relationship and their roles.

  30. Two things
    One Sarah is a Christian, and as such I expect the Holy Spirit to guide her on flying, running for office, life, ect.
    Two.Is my edition of the bible the only one with Proverbs 31 in it? How can you read about this golden ideal of a business woman and preach stay at home mom?

  31. For years I recommended engaged couples to listen to a series of Voddie Baucham sermons before I would counsel them. I must learn to stick to scripture! Every time I recommend an earthly source that source goes on to say something I regret. Oops, I did it again!

  32. Dawn Hapeman says

    So consistency is now a marker by which we make a judgment as to whether the preacher/pastor is correct or right as to his teachings about God to his congregation and congregation at large. This is just another veil shrouding people’s vision. God’s word says that even some of those who believe will be fooled. We, as a people, are seduced time and time again by the teachings and traditions of men. Jesus hates the traditions of men by which we would completely brush aside the truth of His Word for the sake of our traditions, for the sake of the teachings of men. If anyone is teaching and speaking based on their own ideas of what is right or wrong, then let them say so, let them disclose that to the people, but do not lay that same idea as being right or wrong on the shoulders of God. Dawn Hapeman, wife of a Pastor.

  33. Christopher Lake says

    To the subject at hand, I’m thinking through this issue and am honestly undecided.

    Dave R,

    I see your point about Charlie Ray. I’m currently interacting with him, and it is an experience! As a Reformed Christian, I’m more concerned with taking Reformed theology to its *Biblical* conclusion than to its humanly “logical” one. 🙂 For largely that reason, it seems, I have encountered quite a bit of grief from Charlie, including being called a liar and a heretic (on separate issues)!

Speak Your Mind