Mutual submission is bunk...

It is the final sign of imbecility in a people that it calls cats dogs and describes the sun as the moon--and is very particular about the preciseness of these pseudonyms.  To be wrong, and to be carefully wrong, that is the definition of decadence.  The disease called aphasia, in which people begin by saying tea when they mean coffee, commonly ends in their silence. -G. K. Chesterton

(Tim) I've been privy to a private E-mail discussion between a few men concerning the response Governor Huckabee gave during the recent Fox debate to a question about his having signed a Southern Baptist Convention statement affirming the Creation order of father-rule. Originally, it was our intent to start this post with an excellent summary statement David Talcott had written to initiate the private discussion. As things developed, though, it became clear other good responses to David's argument needed to be included here, and that collating the discussion was going to be a big job. So there things sat.

Still, I don't want to let the moment pass without comment. At this point you might want to watch the video of Gov. Huckabee's response, before reading my own comments.

Few things have been used to greater effect by men wanting to skirt the issue of father-rule and the opprobrium they would suffer if they were plainspoken in their affirmation of Biblical sexuality than mincing words about mutual submission. And make no mistake: every pastor, seminary professor, or presidential candidate who speaks in any way analagous to the way Gov. Huckabee spoke knows precisely what he's doing and why he's doing it.

By this late date many thousands of oil drums of ink have been spilled in argument about the connection between Ephesians 5:21, "Be subject to one another," and Ephesians 5:22 through 6:9 where the wives, children, and slaves of Ephesus are singled out and specifically commanded to submit to their husbands, fathers and mothers, and masters.

Those who hate authority, and specifically the authority of father-rule ordered by our Creator, make much of the "submit to one another" command, trying to use it to trump or confuse or hide or obfuscate the "wives submit to your husbands" command immediately following it. And all their tactics can be illustrated by an exchange something like this:

Foolish Christian: "The Bible tells me to submit to my husband."

Wise Christian: "Yes, but the Bible tells your husband to submit to you, also."

Foolish Christian: "Oh, you mean in 1Corinthians where it talks about me having authority over my husband's body, sexually?"

Wise Christian: "Well yes, there's that; but also in Ephesians 5 where it commands us all to submit to one another."

Foolish Christian: "But that 'submit to one another' isn't a command for my husband to submit to me, but for me to submit to my husband. Look at the rest of the passage--it tells us how we're to submit to one another: Wives to husbands, and then children to parents and slaves to masters. That's what it's talking about when it tells us to submit to one another; not everyone to everyone else, but every believer in whatever subordinate position God has placed him, to the superior God has made him subordinate to. It's not willy-nilly, but ordered submission."

Wise Christian: "No, you don't get it. 'Submit to one another' is the heading of that entire section, it's what holds together everything that follows. Lots of Bibles separate it from the rest of the passage, but it shouldn't be separated. It's the principle through which we're to interpret the rest. Look at the rest of the passage; it doesn't just give commands to wives, but also to husbands; not just children, but also fathers; not just slaves, but also masters. A wife isn't the only one given a command, but also her husband. Both husband and wife are to do what Scripture says: They are to 'submit to one another.'"

Foolish Christian: "You think that's saying a wife should submit to her husband? I don't get it. If that's what it's saying, why doesn't it say it? But it never anywhere tells husbands to submit to their wives--only wives to submit to their husbands."

Wise Christian: "What do you mean it doesn't tell husbands to submit to their wives? I already showed you where it says it. Right there at the beginning. 'Submit to one another.' That's where it says it!"

Foolish Christian: "But that's ridiculous! If we're to take that verse as a command for every Christian to submit to every other Christian, what you're really saying is that every Christian in every relationship is equally a superior and a subordinate. And that's pretty convenient since it really amounts to saying that no one's a subordinate. The way you make it out to be, there's no authority at all and no Christian has to submit to anyone!"

Wise Christian: "Absolutely not! I never said there's no authority! All I said is that the wife isn't the only one who's supposed to submit in the marriage relationship. Her husband's supposed to submit, too!"

Foolish Christian: "Well yeah. Duh! Of course he has to submit. He's got a boss at work, a cop on the highway, the IRS April 15th, the pastor preaching, the elders correcting. Yeah he has to submit--all the time! I never said he doesn't have to submit. Everyone has to submit! What I was saying was that my husband shouldn't submit to me, his wife. That's wrong!"

Wise Christian: "What do you mean 'That's wrong?' That's not wrong! It's right! Read the Bible: It says right there at the beginning, 'Submit to one another.'"

Foolish Christian: "Yes, 'submit to one another' by wives submitting to husbands, children to parents, and slaves to masters--those are the one anothers we're to submit to!"

Wise Christian: "I can't believe you. The words are as plain as the nose on the end of your face, but you won't see them! It says right there, 'submit to one another.' One another! Don't you get it, you dolt?"

Foolish Christian: "Well if I'm a dolt, you're a rebel. But let me ask you a question. If my husband's supposed to submit to me, does that go for children and slaves, too? Does the "submit to one another' mean parents are supposed to submit to their children and masters to their slaves? I mean, that's ridiculous!"

Wise Christian: "Of course that's not what it means!"

Foolish Christian: "Why not? Seems clear enough to me. It says 'submit to one another.'"

Wise Christian: "Well, what kind of an idiot says parents should submit to their children and masters to their slaves! Don't put words in my mouth. I never said anything about parents or masters--only husbands."

Foolish Christian: "Yeah, I know you never said anything about them, but why not? I don't see how you get that husbands should submit to their wives from the text and stop there. If husbands are to submit to their wives, it's got to be--it absolutely HAS to be--fathers and mothers submitting to their children and masters to their slaves, too! Can't you see it?"

Wise Christian: "Don't be ridiculous! You know very well what I mean!"

Foolish Christian: "I'm not being ridiculous. I asked you a question and you're not answering it!"

Wise Christian: "Why should I? You're being ridiculous! Whoever heard of a mother submitting to her baby? Are you a nincompoop?"

Foolish Christian: "Sure, I'm a fool; that's fine with me. I don't need your kind of wisdom."

We've all been around this rat hole more times than we can count. And the pastor, let alone politician, who claims to hold to father-rule and then talks about "mutual submission" when attacked for that commitment is anything but confused or naieve. He knows precisely which ears he's scratching and what his loving strokes will buy him--particularly if he's a Southern Baptist pastor running for the presidency.

Without saying anything at all, one night at the dinner table a week or so ago I played this clip of Gov. Huckabee's response to the whole family. There were about ten of us there, including my mother. After the clip was over, I asked everyone to vote on whether or not Gov. Huckabee was saying that husbands are supposed to submit to their wives? Half voted "yes" and half "no."

After the vote, there was a great clambering for the clip to be played again, so I did so taking the vote a second time. Surprisingly, the vote was about evenly split again, but this time a number of the votes had switched sides. That is, those who'd voted had switched sides but the vote was still evenly split. So we played the clip again and, although some switched their vote again, amidst great hilarity, the final tally remained about evenly split between both options. And one more time failed to resolve into a consensus.

Now what does this tell us?

That Gov. Huckabee was carefully wrong. Especially if he had shown up at our table and told us all that he didn't mean the husband was supposed to submit to his wife, but that he was supposed to submit to God. Especially if that's what he meant, he was carefully wrong.

Why?

Because if my mother and her descendants and their spouses couldn't parse his answer, who on earth could?

No, I'm not saying Gov. Huckabee should have beat his chest and, once and for all, publicly proclaimed himself the head of the house, the man of the plan, the pater familia, the head honcho, the grand poobah, the chief muckitymuck, he who must be obeyed...

There are many ways to answer such a question honoring God without commiting hara kari. Many many ways.

If only Gov. Huckabee had chosen one.

Comments

Thank you for pointing out the (obvious) logical absurdity of insisting that v21 requires husbands to submit to their wives while at the same time insisting that it doesn't also enjoin submission by fathers (and mothers) to their toddlers. This simple response was an "Aha!" moment for me.

OK then, what does "submit to one another out of reverence for Christ" mean, and why did Paul place it at that point in the discussion?

Thanks for taking this up, Tim--I'm sorry I didn't get around to doing it! He could have changed about 5 words and it would have been brilliant--really brilliant, but instead he really muddied it up. It worked for him politically, but he dropped the ball on the central issue he was asked about. His compliments for his wife--excellent! His talking about marriage as a 100-100 deal--awesome, nobody else on that stage could present those ideas in that compelling of a way. But, fudging the central question and calling it a mutuality of submission--dropping the ball big-time.

Also, don't forget one further application of the egalitarian reading of that passage. Not only do children no longer need submit to their parents, but the church need no longer submit to Christ--for just as the church submits to Christ, so Christ would also submit to the church in a mutuality of affection and submission. If that's not a reductio of a position, I don't know what could be.

Ross--Tim answered your question in his post: "That's what it's talking about when it tells us to submit to one another; not everyone to everyone else, but every believer in whatever subordinate position God has placed him, to the superior God has made him subordinate to. It's not willy-nilly, but ordered submission."

Ross,

To expand on a point, "one another" does not always mean "each to every other reciprocally." Yes, it may mean this, but contexts usually indicate when the sense is "some to others."

"They killed one another," for example, does not require a comprehensive murder-suicide pact. "Bear one another's burdens" very likely does not mean that each bears the burden of someone else, but that the burdens of the weak or over-pressed are borne by those stronger.

"Wait for one another" manifestly cannot be reciprocal, as those who are waiting don't leave when the ones waited for show up!

Submit to one another manifestly means what Paul expressly explains -- those of you who are placed under authority submit to those who are placed in authority. Yes, those in authority DO submit, but to a yet higher authority -- God Himself.

It's not rocket science.

David Talcott said: "It worked for him politically."

Yes, it did. If he goes on record as to what he really believes, he'll have to take the flack for it. That means political suicide, and he knows it. Huckabee, like too many, has put politics ahead of integrity. Are we really surprised?

A well known complementarian has written,

there is no hard evidence to show that any first-century Greek speaker would have understood it that way, for the term always implies a relationship of submission to an authority.

However, Clement of Rome wrote,

1 Clement 38.1:

“So in our case let the whole body be saved in Christ Jesus, and let each man be subject (ὑποτασσέσθω) to his neighbor, to the degree determined by his spiritual gift,”

And in 2 Macc 13.23,

”[King Antiochus Eupator] got word that Philip, who had been left in charge of the government, had revolted in Antioch; he was dismayed, called in the Jews, yielded (ὑπετάγη) and swore to observe all their rights, settled with them and offered sacrifice, honored the sanctuary and showed generosity to the holy place.”

Should we not as Christians, yield to one another? When we love our next one as ourself, when we submit to our next one, to the degree determined by that person's gift, we fulfill the law of Christ.

Sue,

Walter Kaufmann, introducing Kierkegaard's "The Present Age," had you in mind when he wrote, "Indeed, the present age is the age of Judas. Who would stand up against Christ and be counted His opponent? Who openly rejects the claims of the New Testament? Who lets his Yea be Yea and his 'Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil'? Certainly not the apologists who simply ignore what gives offense or, when this is not feasible, offer 'interpretations' instead of saying Nay. To be sure, it is not literally with a kiss that Christ is betrayed in the present age: today one betrays with an interpretation. The interpretation may be bold, extremely bold, as long as it is offered as an interpretation and the reader is reassured that the original text is profound and beautiful."

In all human affairs, whether inside or outside the church, someone has to have veto power in the end--otherwise there's anarchy and inertia. You want society to be like the comic sketch where two people can't walk through a door because they're forever mutually submitting to one another.

As for your last paragraph above--you're trying to obscure the difference between "yield to" and "love," which aren't synonymous, much as you're trying to think so. Also, you're misquoting Scripture. The Bible says that in bearing one another's burdens, not in yielding to each other, we fulfill the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2). Other passages speak of love being the fulfillment of the law, but (again) "love" is not the same as "yield to." Last, this notion of "to the degree determined by that person's gift" is, besides being extra-Biblical, vague.

Again, if you really think that mutual submission (as you understand it) is the law of God, you have to explain why those of us who don't let our kids or our employees get away with whatever they want aren't in sinful rebellion against that law.

Sorry, I was, at one point, just commenting - if I don't put quotes, it is a comment, not a scripture verse. But you have supplied the verse, "to bear one another's burdens." Thank you. Here is another,

"but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves."

Back to Clement, I am sure that he was not preaching anarchy. He was quite explicit that each offered out of what he had. It doesn't say "men," but "each one." It seems to mean that each one according to their gift offers to others for the others need. That is submission.

I offer this because so much is said about how submission is always "to authority," and never to a fellow believer or an equal in Greek, or even to someone lower, but, of course, that isn't the case. So I wanted to clarify that linguistically it could be "mutual submission," according to one's gift or strength.

Clement also wrote,

"Many women also, being strengthened by the grace of God, have performed numerous manly exploits." 1 Clement 55.

I think that maybe for Clement, submit meant to give someone else something, to help them out. It wasn't related to position, we could all submit.

This isn't scripture, but I read on this blog earlier about ezer, the comment that it is always good to look at how a word is used in other literature outside of the scriptures to see how it is used. I am not just excerpting words from a word study, I am reading Clement in Greek.

About doorways, I am a grade school teacher, we are mostly women, I have a teaching partner, we work without a designated leader, and we all actually manage to get through doorways too. ;-)

Wise Christian: "Well, what kind of an idiot says parents should submit to their children and masters to their slaves! Don't put words in my mouth. I never said anything about parents or masters--only husbands.">>>>>

Some egalitarians do argue that they as parents do submit to their children. Mutual submission between parents and children would have to be the logical outcome if we are all to submit to one another equally.

Some egalitarians are exactly that kind of "idiot" - please excuse me for saying it that way.

I do believe in breastfeeding "on demand." Apart from that the Bible does give slaves and children the additional instructions to obey.

I am reading Schama's Rough Crossings and am just at the part where John Clarkson has urged a former slave to kidnap his son back from his owner in order to keep the family together.

They had many struggles.

Suzanne--there are further Bible verses that you could bring out on the same theme, such as I Peter 3:7 "You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life...". The Bible says the wife is a fellow heir (an equal) and that the husband should live with her in an understanding way.

Should we bear one another's burdens? Of course. Should we consider others better than ourselves? Yes. Should we sometimes yield to our wives requests (as Antiochus Eupator did to his subjects in 2 Mac 13:23)? Yes. Should we yield to other Christians in ways appropriate their spiritual giftings? Yes.

Ok, now that that's out of the way, here are some further questions: Should wives submit to their husbands in all things, even as the church submits to Christ? Yes. Should women not teach men because Adam was created first then Eve and Eve was deceived first, not Adam? Yes.

Suzanne--you are intentionally trying to obscure the issue by bringing in these mutuality passages that don't establish your point. You have no response to the central exegetical points made in this passage. That one can hupotasso to someone who is not socially or politically in authority over you does not in any way change the exegesis of the Eph 5 passage. Authority is clearly at stake in Eph 5, and the submission clearly is not mutual, since the master does not submit to the slave, the father and mother do not submit to the child, and Christ does not submit to the church. If we take your suggestion then Christ is no longer Lord and we are no longer His subjects. Will you please desist from denying the clear teachings of Scripture?

Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time.

She used to sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the sons of Israel came up to her for judgment.

Judges 4:4-5

Looks like a God-ordained woman exercising authority over men.

David T., maybe you should desist from denying the clear teachings of scripture?

Or do you prefer to select verses which support only your side of the argument?

Brady--I don't deny that Deborah was a judge of Israel.

Sorry David, I may have misunderstood you.

So you think there are some legitimate times when a woman might exercise authority over a man, just not in the context of marriage?

>Sorry David, I may have misunderstood you.

So you think there are some legitimate times when a woman might exercise authority over a man, just not in the context of marriage?

Yes. There are times in a marriage when a wife may exercise authority over her husband too--say, if the husband is mentally incapacitated in a car crash. The wife would then assume responsibility for her husband. Or, if a husband loses his mental faculties before his wife does, I could very well imagine a wife ending up having authority over her husband since he is no longer capable of leading her. Of course, these are all fringe cases--in every normal marriage the man is the head of the woman. This applies analogously to the church and the state.

Of course, I think God can command particular people to assume particular roles which would otherwise, in the normal course of things, be wrong roles for them to have: Israel destroying the people of Canaan, Hosea marrying a prostitute, Deborah judging over Israel.

I think the bigger issue here was that you took the time (and considered it worth taking the time) to play a clip of Mike Huckabee at the dinner table and then had your family (and extended family) vote on which genus of Biblical submission Huckabee was espousing.

Of course, being in charge has rarely had much to do with being right.

About Deborah the judge:

But wasn't she a judge simply because there were absolutely no righteous man in the land at that time, therefore God had to put a woman in that position? Wasn't that to Israel's shame, and didn't God use that situation to illustrate how rebellious Israel had become (that they were ruled by a woman, considering that the Bible says that a nation is cursed when ruled by women and children.)?

David,

I wish that 1 Peter 3:7 were quoted from a literal version of the scriptures,

Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. KJV

So the woman has a weaker container or body. This does not impair her in any other way.

But we do see that in the Greek language the yielding of the stronger to the weaker can be called submission. And so Christ's sacrifice for us can rightly be called submission.

However we understand the arrangement, we can rightly say that a husband and wife should live in mutual submission.

I am not actually trying to establish an exegetical point in one comment. I do not feel this is my place here. First, we can look at the language used and then back at the passage.

I see no mention of authority, but rather the responsibility of slave and child to obey, to do what is required of them in their position. There is no command for the slave owners to exercise authority. That is left blank and people have responded to this in new ways through history. The word "exercise authority" does not appear here.

Regarding the need for a wife to exercise authority, it can come sooner rather than later. I have a friend who at the age of 50 had a stroke and has lost his memory. His wife now works as a clerk earning only the lowest pay. What a sudden experience to go from working in the home to full responsibility for her family overnight. I know another couple who lost their home because the wife would not usurp her husbands role as provider when he was unemployed. Finally the doctor eplained to her that her husband had experienced a "silent stroke" and would likely never work again, although he was intellectually aware in other ways.

Yes, I do believe that women rightly exercise authority and the Greek word for this does not appear in 1 Tim 2:12. What that says is rather that Paul does not "allow a woman to teach and dominate a man."

God's purpose for man in creation was not that man should be in charge of woman, but that man should not be alone.

Dear Suzanne,

Please be quiet. Your contributions are opposed to Scripture and you are not responding in faith to those pointing that out to you, but rather in unbelief. We're happy to have you read this blog, and ask other questions or engage in other debates, but please cease and desist in this one.

Thank you,

In Christ's love,

Tim,

I appreciate that you have not deleted me and I have tried to stay within your guidelines. I'll sign off for now. I would just like to promote hesed and racham, kindness and compassion, between the sexes.

Suzanne

>therefore God had to put a woman in that position?

So God was forced to sin, by going against His natural order and placing a woman above a man? Or maybe a more natural conclusion... it is not sin?

Josiah--Playing a youtube clip of a major televised event and then critiquing it from a Biblical viewpoint sounds like a very good use of family time to me.

Josiah wrote: "Of course, being in charge has rarely had much to do with being right."

Quite right, Josiah. How could I not see it?

* * *

Thank you, Suzanne, for your graceful response.

Oh my, I've read way too much on this for one evening (from other sites of course)... Tim, you are so right when you say mutual submission is bunk. Next we will hear that there is mutual submission within the Trinity... and where do you think that came from, and why?

When we allow thoughts not based on Scripture alone (or tested out by Scripture), our conclusions will certainly lead us from truth, and into self-perceived ideas and ideals.

So is this an issue where genuine Christians can agree to disagree or is this an issue that separates Christians making those who disagree to be false teachers?

I noticed that some think that women were used by God when there were no godly men available. That is someone's idea but it isn't scriptural. Huldah was used by God even when Jeremiah had been in the land prophesying for 5 years. Jeremiah was a godly man and a man used by God. Why did God then choose to use Huldah when Jeremiah was available?

The prophet Jeremiah had been prophesying in Judah since the 13th year of the reign of King Josiah (see Jeremiah 1:2) and it was the 18th year of the reign of King Josiah (see 2 Kings 22:3) when Huldah was consulted as a Prophet of God to bring a message to King Josiah. So a woman, Huldah, was used by God even though Jeremiah was available and Jeremiah had already been prophesying in the land for five years. Even though Jeremiah was available, God used Huldah to speak his words to the king.

Clearly God can use whomever he chooses to use no matter who else is available. God does not tell us that he only uses women when no men are available. This is a faulty tradition that should be laid to rest, don't you think?

Is it really the concept of mutual submission that you don’t believe in or is it only the idea of mutual submission between men and women or of husband and wife.

In every situation of life, does there really need to be someone giving orders and everyone else complying? When I get together with friends, regardless if those friends are all male or if there are women present, we yield to one another in all manner of little things. The idea of someone having to be a “decision maker” to which we all capitulate is really wacko to me. We all talk and then we all agree or the majority gets it. Anyone trying to be boss gets dirty looks. And that is mutual submission at work.

Rebecca wrote: “About Deborah the judge:

But wasn't she a judge simply because there were absolutely no righteous man in the land at that time, therefore God had to put a woman in that position? Wasn't that to Israel's shame, and didn't God use that situation to illustrate how rebellious Israel had become (that they were ruled by a woman, considering that the Bible says that a nation is cursed when ruled by women and children.)?

Deborah was The Judge of the Nation because God chose her and raised her up for that position. God knows us all from the womb. Don’t you think that God could have raised up a man for that work if He had wanted to?

As for the Scripture in Isa. 3 it does not say that a nation is cursed by having women “rule” or be in leadership. After all the first three leaders of Israel were 2 men and 1 woman (Micah 6:4). If you read the whole chapter of Isa. 3 (and perhaps the preceding chapt.) you will find that it is not talking about women leaders at all but that the leaders were behaving as children and that their women were like prostitutes influencing them by their wiles. It is a literary device to paint a picture of debauchery and people living in their baser emotions.

How come so few people these days have surnames?

we hardly ever use them where I live. :)

Would you also say that mutual sacrificial love within marriage is also bunk? If a woman donated a kidney to her husband, for instance, would it be out of sacrificial love or submission? It seems to me that what you have here is just a case of semantics. If you don't know the sex of the person, it can be impossible to tell if an act is done out of submission or sacrificial love.

Kevin,

You're equivocating between submission and sacrificial love.

Kevin,

I misread your comment.

To clarify:

I'm not sure your question does much to help with understanding biblical patriarchy. Donating a kidney may be an act of submission, but this isn't part and parcel to understanding patriarchy.

OK that brings up a few questions. Is donating a kidney an act of submission in that of a self instigated free will offer (sounds like sacrificial love) or is it an act of submission out of obedience? My understanding of patriarchy is that a woman's submission is supposed to be from an inferior position of compliance to her leader(s). It is that reason that patriarchalists cannot concieve of men submitting to woman in any fashion because that would violate their positions of leadership.

Martin,

Martin: you do not understand patriarchy at all. Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, is in submission to the will of His Father. You can gather this from all sorts of texts in the NT, especially in John's Gospel. Yet no orthodox Trinitarian is going to say that Jesus is inferior to the Father. They are equal, yet the Son has submitted Himself to His Father's will. It is the same in the marriage relationship. I do not believe that I am better than my wife. In fact, my wife is in many ways smarter than I am and much more godly than I am. However, because I am a man, I have been given authority by God in the relationship to be the leader within our home. My wife is my equal, yet I am the authority in my home. We can all understand how authority works in the military: a general, because he's a general, is the leader of the army. The lieutenant may be just as smart and wily as the general, but he does not have the right or authority to tell the general what to do. Watch what happens if he tries to do so: chaos. Can you imagine mutual submission working on the battlefield?

Sorry I didn't include my last name on the previous post. My name is Brandon Pickett, and I often do not include my last name because Tim and David know who "Brandon" is. Yet, for those who don't know, I have given my surname.

So, the question remains. Do you really think that with your definition of submission being compliance to leadership, that a wife donating her kidney would be an act of submission.

This is perhaps the oddest hypothetical question I have ever heard. I suppose that if the husband asked his wife to donate her kidney to him, and she did, that that would be submission. However, I cannot really imagine any man I know ever asking his wife to do something like that. Actually, I can't ever think of this situation happening. I'm sure that it has, but it would happen so rarely as to make this question not really worth answering.

I thought it was an interesting question as have been the answers. It was Kevin's question.

To my thinking it broadens the scope of what a patriarchalist thinks is acceptable to ask a wife to do. Or it solidifies the concept that anything a patriarchalist asks his wife to do requires compliance. While many cannot imagine asking such a thing, myself included, there are always some who think the sky is the limit unless it's specifically prohibited in Scripture.

To my thinking such an offer should ONLY be an act of sacrificial love freely given. Anything else is unspeakable abuse.

I think that a man that asked his wife to do that would probably be terrified of death or lacking in common sense. There are plenty of things that a man bearing authority in his home would ask his family to do, but endangering their lives to save his would hopefully not be one of them! Yes, men are to rule in their home but are also to have in them the mind of Christ Jesus.

Returning to the LORD's raising up of Deborah and Huldah, it seems to me that some of the comments above border on attempting to examine God's hidden counsels. We don't know God's reasons for doing this, but we do know the things revealed - God's commands as given in His Word for the structuring of human relationships.

Martin is correct that God chose Deborah, rather than a suitable man. And Jesus fed 5,000 from five loaves and two fish. Just as the latter doesn't mean bakers should abandon baking, the former is an example of God's freedom to act according to His inscrutable purposes, and is not some hint that He only jests when commanding father-rule.

Brandon, you wrote “I think that a man that asked his wife to do that would probably be terrified of death or lacking in common sense.”

I’d have to agree. So the question is that according to the patriarchalist doctrine of one direction submission, it wouldn’t matter that it was unwise for a husband to ask such a thing, the important thing is that she is bound to obey. Is that correct?

Martin,

Perhaps others will find it suitable to engage the question, but, again, this situation seems so out of the ordinary that it is fruitless to discuss the matter.

To be more practical, let's say a husband asked his wife to wear a headcovering at church because the husband was convinced that she should per 1 Corinthians 11. Should the husband expect his wife to wear the headcovering? Yes, I think so. Obviously there would be many things that the husband should do to help his wife understand why he was asking her to do so. Yet, even if his wife didn't understand, she would be bound to do so as he is her authority.

OK Brandon. Let’s take your example. What if the husband’s interpretation of the Scripture is incorrect and the wife can see it. Is she bound to interpret Scripture according to her husband’s beliefs? Is the wife bound to accept her husband’s beliefs no matter what they are?

Martin:

Is the wife bound to accept her husband’s beliefs no matter what they are?>>>>

Martin, you must think that men are pigs, or something. :-) What husband who loves his wife as Christ loves the church would act in such heavy-handed ways as you seem to be implying with your hypotheticals?

Let me turn the tables on you just a wee bit. In a mutually submissive marriage, is a husband just supposed to accept any and every belief his wife wants to bring home? What if she decides to involve herself in Wiccan practices, is he supposed to just stand by and let her find herself spiritually?

What is a mutually submissive husband expected to do if his wife comes home and tells him she has decided to abort their unborn child? Is he expected to just cave to her wishes? If he protests, will he be called abusive, not respecting his wife's body?

Two can play at the hypotheticals game...

Donna L. Carlaw

Actually, I'm talking to the men here, Donna, the ones who formulate the doctrines according to their understanding of Scripture. I might entertain your question after we are finished with what Kevin started.

Martin,

The spirit of your questions remind me of another hypothetical question that begins "There were seven brothers among us..."

If you continue to believe that patriarchy is necessarily selfish, dictatorial and cruel, you only show your own ignorance.

You don't understand Scripture, or the power of God.

And when Donna attempts to engage you your response drips condescension.

What humility, what grace, what benevolent good faith....

I fail to see how my question reflects that patriarchy is necessarily selfish, dictatorial and cruel. Although I do think Kevin’s question about the kidney did invite that conclusion. My question is regarding Brandon’s example indirectly. And as for Donna, it appears she was seeking to distract the discussion, which might be fine if I were just yakking. However, I wish to have a discussion with those who actually formulate doctrine, which is the men, not the women. This fact was exampled by Brandon who put forth that a wife should wear a headcovering if the husband was convinced that were the proper interpretation of 1 Cor. 11.

So, my question is regarding who decides doctrine in a patriarchal marriage and how far does that go according to the men here. Is a wife expected to obey that which she believes in her heart is wrong in Scripture, BECAUSE the husband believes it is right according to Scripture. Is the wife expected to accept her husband’s beliefs no matter what they are? How do you deal with a situation of this sort.

Martin:

And as for Donna, it appears she was seeking to distract the discussion, which might be fine if I were just yakking. However, I wish to have a discussion with those who actually formulate doctrine, which is the men, not the women. This fact was exampled by Brandon who put forth that a wife should wear a headcovering if the husband was convinced that were the proper interpretation of 1 Cor. 11.>>>>

If you were my husband, Martin, I would submit to you, but since you are not...fill in the blank...

BTW, I agree with Brandon.

You know, Martin, the "patriarchal" men that I have run into on the internet have been most kind to me and even patient. I have struggled through some of these things in a very public way - and not always on the correct side of things.

OTOH, I have found those who brag the most about mutuality to be among the most intolerant and rude.

So, guess which category I am putting you in...since you are not my husband and since you have no authority over me and since you are not formulating any doctrines that I have interest in following, I guess that's about it.

'This fact was exampled by Brandon who put forth that a wife should wear a headcovering if the husband was convinced that were the proper interpretation of 1 Cor. 11.'

I'm curious regarding the formulation of doctrine by husbands. Which wives should wear a head covering and which one's should not? Should one wife follow her own husband who thinks that she should wear a headcovering and another also follow her own husband who thinks that she should not having been a cultural matter? If both should follow what their husband's convictions are then which one would be following the Word of God and which one would be following their husband's convictions?

Actually I was shocked to see Donna's comments. This type of unsubmissive attitude seems to be severely lacking in grace towards a Christian man. It is my understanding that the doctrine of the authority of the male means that a woman is to submit to Christian men especially when they ask her nicely to remain behind until their conversation with the men is over. When an egalitarian female was asked to be quiet in this same post (Suzanne) she graciously submitted. When a complementarian female is asked to leave her question until the conversation is over with the men who create the doctrine, she refuses to submit.

This is one of those things that causes me to go hmmmmm.......

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