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  1. March 22, 2014 10:48 am

    Excellent article. I love how you break down the philosophical categories of headship and submission to show how the two can never be equal.

  2. Jonny permalink
    March 22, 2014 8:29 pm

    Isn’t it funny how people pick and choose Bible verses out of context to prove their point? This whole argument is irrelevant because there is no marriage in the afterlife!

    In this broken world, yes, we are subject to the laws established by God for our own good. The explicit teaching regarding roles of husband and wife in the New Testament is undenyable. The good news is, you don’t have to get married if you are not called to that state of life! One may just as well serve God single.

  3. March 23, 2014 12:47 am

    CBMW’s article really wasn’t about whether or not there was marriage in the afterlife. I don’t think they would go against Jesus’ teaching that there is no marriage in the afterlife– but that’s beside the point to them. They believe that men are designed for authority over women and women designed to be under male authority, whether it’s in marriage or not– and that this design will remain that way in the afterlife. They would not say it’s irrelevant just because Jesus said there would be no marriage.

    But I think what you call the “explicit teachings regarding the roles of husband and wife” are not nearly as explicit as you think they are, and the New Testament certainly doesn’t set them out as “laws established by God.” Paul was not writing new and stricter law than what the Old Testament said.

    What you are stating is a common interpretation, but one of the biggest problems in the church today is how people conflate Bible interpretation with the Bible itself.

  4. Jonny permalink
    March 23, 2014 5:40 am

    I do believe the CBMW was affirming a belief in marriage in the afterlife (whether they realized it or not!) :

    “…the new creation is, fundamentally, a return to the divine order that prevailed before the fall, it follows that male headship will remain in the new creation. . .”

    Jesus referenced the story of Adam and Eve before the fall as the model of marriage for the New Covenant. Marriage is one man and one woman (created equally as images of God, yet distinctly complementary with different roles) united in an indissoluble union.

    Marriage foreshadows our ultimate union with God in the new creation, where Christ is the Bridegroom united the Church, his Bride. It is here where the book of Revelation refers to recreated humanity: “…the Lord God will be their light, and they shall reign for ever and ever.” (Rev. 22:5)

  5. jeff permalink
    March 23, 2014 8:42 am

    I feel compelled to point out that Jesus the Son submitted to the Father while on this Earth. In no way does this make Jesus less than the Father. In fact Jesus was equal to the Father. It was a willing submission to the Father. And as far as Paul’s teaching about submission, most translations (especially those that include extra headings) ignore the verse that says “Submit yourselves to one another.” The passage then goes on to explain what that submission looks like in various human relationships (husband-wife, parents-children, master-slave (employer-employee in more modern terms).

  6. krwordgazer permalink
    March 23, 2014 9:27 pm

    Jonny, I believe the husband and wife are equal and complementary, yes, but not that either Jesus or Paul ever taught that the first-century model of husband-rule was God’s divine plan for all marriages so long as human history endures.

    Jeff, I feel compelled to point out that Jesus’ submission to the Father was indeed on this earth, but that before He “emptied Himself and took the role of a servant” (Phil. 2), there was no authority-submission relationship within the Trinity. Indeed, the very concept would have been without meaning, because They were of one will and purpose, and submission is only a coherent concept when the will of one (say, the human desires of the Incarnated Son) may differ from that of the other.

    As far as mutual submission is concerned, yes– that is what I believe the New Testament ideal for all relationships is.

  7. Jonny permalink
    March 24, 2014 3:05 pm

    Jesus nor the apostles claim to be teaching a “first century model” that was to be discarded in favor of anyone’s private interpretation of the Bible (which was compiled centuries later.)

    The issue in question is specifically explained as having a theological basis, “the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church…” Eph 5:23. There is no room for doubt that this is not just some tentivive provision given for only the first century Christians, but this is God’s will, and God’s plan for marriage.

    The confusion here, I think, is a misunderstanding that the husband’s leadership means domination and control. Ultimately, the promise is that the “two shall become one flesh” in Christ. This is really not something that can be explained in a nutshell, because it is at the very heart of the Christian mystery for those who choose marriage. “This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church…” Eph. 5:32.

  8. krwordgazer permalink
    March 25, 2014 12:02 am

    The confusion here, I think, is a misunderstanding that the Ephesians passage is talking about a husband’s leadership, when (read closely), it’s really talking about his laying down of his leadership power and position in order to raise up his wife. There is no room for doubt that those who insist there is no room for doubt are overstepping their interpretational authority in order to impose their position on these texts on all the rest of us. There are plenty of biblical scholars with a high view of Scripture who disagree that wifely subordination is God’s divine plan.

  9. Jonny permalink
    March 26, 2014 3:10 pm

    I don’t believe a woman’s femininity is a disorder she needs to be “raised up” from by her husband. On the contrary, I believe that masculinity and femininity are not only gifts from God, but attributes of God!

    I know as Christians God gives us to share in his Holy Spirit, which is neither male nor female, but spirit. But even in participation with God’s Spirit, we still remain male and female. There is no call for Christians to become androgynous, but rather to glorify God with the natural gifts he has bestowed upon them. Why does God reveal himself unto mankind as masculine, as Father? It is that very aspect of leadership he has ordained for husbands and fathers, and it is a shame when they can’t or won’t fulfill that responsibility due to disobedience.

    I am trying really hard not to give interpretations of Scripture here, but rather just state what is written. This teaching is also stated in St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians (3:18) and St. Peter’s first epistle (3:1), albeit without the extra theological insight given in Ephesians. I just can’t conceive that the first century Christians, who were converted directly by the apostles, were so barbarous they had to be given a false testiment against marriage! I don’t agree with the CBMW’s extreme position, but the other extreme is damaging to the dignity of women as well.

    Below is a link to a series of lectures by a religious sister about the gifts of masculinity and femininity, for any blog reader who might benefit from them. I hope all husbands and wives, will love, respect, and appreciate each other as God created them, as a gift of themselves to each other!

    http://www.newmanconnection.com/institute/courses/rich-gift-of-love

    May God bless you!

  10. krwordgazer permalink
    March 26, 2014 9:46 pm

    Jonny,

    There is a certain irony in what you’re saying here. You say you are trying hard not to give interpretations of Scripture, but just to state what is written. You also say that femininity is not a disorder that a woman needs to be raised up from by her husband. What you’re not realizing is that in reading the text in the way it seems to you to be written, you are automatically and unconsciously reading it in light of your own 21st century Western viewpoint. In the 21st-century West, a woman does not need to be “raised up,” because the culture has already raised her up. But Paul wrote these words in the 1st-century Roman world, and in that world the wife absolutely did need to be raised up. She was considered inferior, completely under the power of her husband, and completely dependent on him for provision and nourishment (which was considered, btw, to be the function of the head towards the body in 1st-century Greek and Roman thought; hence the emphasis on the “head” as giving nourishment and growth to the body in Ephesians 4, which is the definition I believe we should carry forward into Chapter 5). Paul in Eph. 5 was telling husbands to behave as Christ did when He laid down His power and position as equal with God (see Philippians 2) in order to raise up the church to be glorious.

    You are also using a false dichotomy when you indicate that there are only two alternatives: to embrace a male-leadership/female-subordination view of masculinity and femininity, or to embrace a complete androgyny, with no differences between male and female. But you see, if you don’t define maleness in terms of authority and femaleness in terms of subordination, you can allow for male and female mutuality while still giving room for men and women to be different from one another.

    I really have no idea what you mean by saying “I just can’t conceive that the first century Christians, who were converted directly by the apostles, were so barbarous they had to be given a false testiment against marriage!” I never said Paul was giving anyone a false testament against marriage, and I can’t see what this has to do with the subject.

    Finally, when you say maleness and femaleness are both attributes of God, but that God has revealed Himself as masculine, as Father, and that that is the very aspect of leadership God has ordained for husbands and fathers, you seem to be implying that the female attributes of God cannot have anything to do with leadership. Are mothers not leaders of their children? This also seems to be implying that men are more in the image of God than women are, because they reflect the power and authority of God while women cannot do so. Is that really what you mean? And if it is, then why did God tell both the male and the female human to have dominion in Genesis 1:26-28?

    I would like to invite you to read a blog post of mine on the problems of assuming we are capable of reading the Bible “straight,” without interpreting it. http://krwordgazer.blogspot.com/2012/09/assumptions-make-you-know-whats-out-of.html

    You also might be interested in “Is God’s Nature ‘Father’ and Not ‘Mother’?” found here: http://krwordgazer.blogspot.com/2012/10/is-gods-nature-father-and-not-mother.html

  11. Suzanne McCarthy permalink*
    March 27, 2014 12:01 pm

    Jonny,

    I ask this question all the time, since I really want to know the answer. In the Bible are there any qualities or attributes assigned to men and not to women, or assigned to women and not to men. I don’t mean positions, but attributes. I have asked this question many times, and have never been given even one example. But you seem to be sure there are some, and I am trying to research this, but haven’t found any yet.

    Just want to let you know that I am not going for androgyny, because I see the importance of our physical beings, and do not support views that deny what this entails. But I don’t see this in the attributes of God and humans in the Bible.

  12. Jonny permalink
    March 27, 2014 2:45 pm

    Suzanne, I don’t think that there are qualities or attributes that are limited to men or women.

    KR, I don’t believe that masculinity = leadership and femininity = subordination. That was the extreme position I don’t adhere to. Thanks for the links!

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