FORT WORTH, Texas (ABP) – A Southern Baptist seminary professor said at a recent conference that Adam’s sin was in listening to his wife.
Thomas White, vice president for student services and associate professor of systematic theology at the seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, said Adam “abandoned his leadership responsibilities and directly disobeyed God" by accepting forbidden fruit offered by Eve in Genesis.
“The beginning of God’s curse on Adam indicated that he fell because he heeded the voice of his wife, which contradicted God’s established order and represented the first biblical example of abandonment of male leadership responsibility,” White said during a Biblical Manhood & Womanhood Conference Sept. 13 on the campus in Fort Worth, Texas.
Defending a theology called complementarianism, which holds that men and women are both created in God’s image but assigned different roles, White rejected the “egalitarian” argument that the subjugation of women came as a result of the Fall and is something that Christ came to redeem.
“Eve was cursed on her God-given role before the fall,” White said. “She is cursed on her role as a mother and as a helper. She will have pain in childbirth, and her desire will be for her husband.”
Other speakers at the daylong conference included Russell Moore of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Randy Stinson of the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and Southwestern President Paige Patterson.
One session featured a panel of women including seminary First Lady Dorothy Patterson, who answered a question about whether her well-known affinity for wearing hats in public has anything to do with Bible verses requiring women to pray with heads covered.
Patterson, who teaches women’s ministries at Southwestern, said the hats started when a woman who sewed clothing for her when she was a pastor’s wife in Arkansas offered to use leftover fabric to make one and she liked the way it completed the outfit.
But she said she doesn’t mind if people want to view it as an application of First Corinthians 11.
“As I understand the passage, the principal of the passage is the headship of the husband in the home,” she said. In Bible days the principal would have been manifested by head coverings, similar to how today a wedding ring symbolizes to the world a decision to marry.
Patterson said she tells students that because God foreknew her husband would eventually be in a public position that it is possible “the Lord put in my heart a desire to wear hats” as one way to “show that I wanted to stand under his authority.”
“It was a fashion reason, actually, in the beginning, but as I have looked at this passage again and again I do feel very comfortable in saying, ‘Yes I am happy with that application if it is a way to bear a testimony to those who cross my path that I did choose to marry; I do choose to stand under the authority of my husband.’”
White said he doesn’t believe “there can be a more important debate” than the conference topic.
“I contend that if we lose the battle over the gender debate, we lose a proper interpretation of God’s word,” he said. “We lose inerrancy. We lose the authority of the Bible, and that is detrimental to the gospel.”
White acknowledged that the “evangelical feminist” Council for Biblical Equality affirms biblical inspiration and authority, but he labeled the claim “questionable.”
The conference audio is here.