In the comment string of this post at Quivering Daughters, I was asked by a patriocentric supporter if I was familiar with Hebrews 13:17.
Let's look at Hebrews 13:17 from, for no particular reason, the New King James...
"Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you."
I'm extremely familiar with Hebrews 13:17. Like buzzwords that are used in cultic, authoritarian systems, buzzverses are a handy item for those imposing their own will on others, too. Given my situation, I've done a considerable amount of research on cults and cultic movements over the last two years, and Hebrews 13:17 is definitely in their quiver. One of their oaks, in fact.
The problem is, it only works for authoritarians when issued as a blanket statement with no context, in such a way as to totally stop critical thought in it's tracks. To understand the verse as the writer intended it, it must be read with the presupposition that the writer was speaking of authorities who point you exclusively to Christ and never stray from the whole counsel of God's word into their OWN extra-biblical ideas for the flock or the extra-biblical ideas of other men - and authorities who don't revel in their own authority. It isn't speaking of those who lord themselves over the flock, or I strongly suspect it would be an entirely different verse. In fact, that takes us over to 1st Peter 4:15 territory, with the word "meddler" (busybody in some translations) being translated from the Greek compound word allotriepiskopos, which means "not one's own" and "overseer", hence, "not one's own overseer." It's serious business. It's the only place in the scripture that this particular Greek compound word is used. And here you have God placing it in a group with theft, murder, and all sorts of evil (and note that the thief comes to what?...steal, kill, and destroy - theft, murder, evil). Meddling leaves a trail of debris and a legacy of destruction. One who assumes authority over another, authority that God hasn't given, becomes "not one's own overseer."
Those who exercise authority that God doesn't give them, and do so in his Name, do those poor souls under their extra-biblical authority no justice and certainly don't please the Lord. A father exercising extra-biblical authority over his children, particularly grown daughters, has stepped FAR past any biblical mandate into his own ideas and the ideas of men. That's lording. Be there for them? Sure. Encourage them? You bet. Love them with all their heart, offering wise, biblical counsel when called upon? You betcha. Exercise veto power over their daily lives? That isn't the heart of God, nor the counsel of God. It's the idea of paranoid men using the name of God to fight a sociopolitical cultural war. Families end up as prisoners of this war and collateral damage from it's various battles.
I would ask those who lean on this type of buzzverse to very closely examine their hearts on the matter, and see if, at their core, they genuinely believe they are promoting Christ and His heart, or if they're actually just defending a works-based system of faith, perpetuating a systematic cycle of extra-biblical control.
Communism has to be rigidly enforced, too, what with walls being built and people being imprisoned for merely wanting to leave a communist country. It's a system built on the principle of benefitting the system and those at the controls of the system. It eats it's young as a resource.
The parallels are striking.
I suppose what disturbs me the most about this type of use of these scriptures within hyper-fundamentalist/patriocentric communities is this: A verse like Hebrews 13:17 is FAR more foundational to their way of life than perhaps a verse like John 3:16, any number of verses in Romans 10, the 23rd Psalm among many other wonderful, life-giving Psalms, and a breach of it seems to be seen as a greater offense than, say, the 9th commandment - speaking the very language of the devil. Everything about patriocentric life is built around the authority structure, elevating all relevant scripture, no matter if proof-texts, into rare atmosphere. If the authority structure crumbles, the entire galaxy of Patriarchy crumbles (even CHRIST crumbles), which is all the evidence I need to know that it isn't built on the Rock, the chief cornerstone.
Feel free to offer up some other buzzverses in the comments. There's a boatload of 'em.