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Follow-up post to "Leadership and Submission in the Home"

Hello again, friends! I hope your holidays have been enjoyable, Christ-centered, and only slightly “insane” (if you have extended families, you know what I mean! 😉 )! With Christmas in the rear-view mirror, it is time for me to make good on my promise to write a follow-up post to “Leadership and Submission in the Home.” A day late, yes, but hopefully it will be “done soon enough if well enough,” as Calvin would say!

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Wow. That’s all I can say, “WOW!” …this has been a difficult article to write! I feel like I have spent more time working on this post than on any other thing in these past weeks….and yet here I am, down to the wire and staring at a blank screen!

Mostly, I have been trying to understand, “Okay, what just happened?!”

My blog has dwelt from the beginning on theology, controversies, and my evolving thoughts as I wade through the sea of opinionation in academia and the church. I have had a modest readership and a few responses from friends and family. I thought I knew what the rules were, and what a blog was: recently, however, I been realizing that I have much to learn about online etiquette!

I am reminded of a story told by a professor, who asked his son to make him a web-site to promote a recent book. His son had the site built in a day or two, and in a few more days there were hundreds, then thousands of readers. They formed a community and a busy forum. Within weeks, they were requesting, then demanding that this professor – this professor who thought he was making a site for himself – would contribute to their forum. After all – he owed them!

Ah, the mystery and complexity of the online social ethics!

I believe that I have transgressed an unspoken online rule, and for this I must repent and apologize. This rule is as follows: When you are posting in a “public” forum, you must be a) able to back up your words with research, b) able to defend your beliefs against all takers, and c) be able to dedicate a reasonable amount of time to fielding questions, moderating discussions, and following links to further resources which are presented. Blogging is not “journaling,” but a form of “publishing,” and similar rules apply.

Having re-read Leadership and Submission, I feel that it was not here that my online blunder occurred. Although my words should have been kinder at points, I was wise to limit myself here to only one section of the gender debate (the concept of leadership/authority in the home), to hing my arguments on defendable grounds (personal experience), and to give a clear request for a very specific type of response (seasoned advice).In the comments section, however, things went in a much different direction.

When Leadership and Submission began to be viewed and commented on by an increasingly large number of people, I go that giddy, excited/confused/scared feeling that Frankenstein must have had when his creation rose from the table. “It’s….ALIVE!!! …….now what?” I suppose that I have been building towards increased readership and discussions on my blog from the beginning – now that it was happening, however, I didn’t quite know what to do!

At first, the comments were just what I had requested – short summaries of “what worked for me,” with some comments and corrections. As I began to respond, and then counter respond, and counter-counter respond (etc.), however, things began to change. I was at first motivated by curiosity: it has been a while since I exchanged thoughts with a well-versed egalitarian: I was curious of how they would respond to various arguments. Very quickly, however, the conversation seemed to escalate. Not only were there four very well versed egalitarians responding and counter-responding to my comments, but they were not letting up! It seemed that the more energy I poured into replying, the more responses came back at me.

I was beginning to be swamped, but I hated the thought of having the comments section of my post completely overwhelmed by people posting their disagreement with it! Although I had begun this discussion with a desire to learn, somewhere in there pride reared it’s ugly head and I began to focus more on just “winning.”

In trying to “win” this discussion, I made two grave errors. First, I stopped really listening to the egalitarians who were posting. I did not want to hear their case: I wanted to win! I found myself reading only to find loop-holes, in order to craft frustratingly unanswerable responses. When I had the last word on a thread, I chalked one up to victory.

I deeply regret my combative spirit present especially in the middle section of the threads, because from the beginning, this is not what I have wanted my blog to be about. I really, really dislike debating for the sake of debate, and I hate the fact that I have done just that.

I am very, very sorry to those whom I have hurt in this way!

I made a second error as well – and here I return full circle to the idea of “online-ethics” which I began with. In trying to “conquer” the whole egalitarian position in one foul swoop, I left the narrow bandwidth of knowledge which I could defend with authority, and ventured boldly across the wide topography of the gender-roles battlefield. If I were to track down every point which I touched on, and every counter-point which was presented to me, I think a lifetime would not be long enough to do all of the research necessary to validate my words!

It is here that I think I have erred most grievously, and been punished most severely. (Yes, I have been hurt in this debate, just as I have hurt others)

Certain people have made it very clear that since I have spoken, the online code clearly states that I must follow through: I must follow every link, and I must validate every word which I have spoken, or retract.

Well, as tempting as the research option is, my present schedule prohibits it. For this reason, I feel that my only option is simply to “retract:” whether complementarianism or egalitarianism is correct, I must admit that I have failed to “win” this battle for the complementarian side. Further to being not being very nice, I have also “lost.”

The white flag is up, the battle is over, and that is that.

This leads to the obvious question: where do we go from here?

Although this has been a steep learning curve for me, and it has been difficult and costly (to myself and, I regret, to others), I still feel that it has been immensely valuable. My beliefs have been challenged, my worldview has been broadened, and my thinking has been sharpened by these interactions. I hope that this will only be the beginning of something very profitable for myself and others!

I am moving forward a wiser man, however. After attempting to drink from the fire-hose, I have learned some humility. I will not again bite off more than I can chew, but will divide the debates into narrow, manageable, “bite-sized” slices. I will also moderate the discussions in such a way as to keep our thoughts focused on the ideas presented, rather than fanning out infinitely, as they have done here.

Towards this end, I have mapped out a series of posts which I would like to write, to do real justice to this massive and pressingly relevant topic.

Phase 1: Understanding the Intellectual Landscape

….a) Not all complementarians are the same

….b) Not all egalitarians are the same

….c) Let’s be clear about what comp./egal.’s disagree on!

Phase 2: Developing a Coherent Hermeneutic

….a) Read “The Blue Parakeet,” and re-read “Slaves, Women and Homosexuals”

….b) Do serious research on Christian hermeneutics

….c) Formulate and write a personal hermeneutic, which answer questions like:

……..i. How do we know which Bible-rules to follow, and which ones to ignore?

……..ii. How is context related to the commands of Scripture?

……..iii. Have the biases of church history distorted Bible translations?

Phase 3: Examining the Relevant Passages

….a) 1 Cor. 11:3-12, 14:31-38

….b) Eph. 5:21-33

….c) 1 Tim. 2:8-15

….d) 1 Pet. 3:1-9

Phase 4: Formulate a coherent position about the Bible’s teaching on…

….a) Gender-roles in the home

….b) Gender-roles in the church

….c) Gender-roles in society

I will likely have the first set of posts written within the next two months: it may be years before I work my way up to the final phase, however. I wish I could move faster, but life is life!

Whether you track with my progress over the long haul, or choose to leave at this point, I wish to extend my heartfelt gratitude to all those who have participated in the discussions. Iron has sharpened iron here, and I feel that I have really learned a lot from this experience!

May God bless you as you walk in humility and love before Him!

– Josiah

PS – As I have time, I will post answers to the questions raised to me in the threads, just to give closure to those who asked.

50 Comments »

  1. FWIIW, I do not recall you offending me and I hope I have not you and hope you would tell me if I did.

    Also, I see it as a paragigm shift in my becomining a Biblical egal, this is NOT something that is easily done, it takes a rethinking of the way one views the gender verses.

    This is why I see it as essential to do a committed study of both sides and this is made more difficult as each side is not even monolithic in what it teaches, except for the general conclusions.

    I try my best to use the Grammatical-Historical-Literary method of exegesis, which is a mouthful that says to try to understand Scripture as the original reader would have. But since I am NOT them I need to be humble with my conclusions, willing to revise as I learn more. I also realize that I can be deceived, even by myself, and that I may not know it, so I need to be willing to listen to others and I need to be very suspect of interpretations that give me an advantage, as a part of me is selfish.

    • Good to know I didn’t offend you! So, as an egal, do you not think I wrote in a way which was unfair and offensive to egal’s? I actually was leaning towards thinking I had.

      I did a lot of research on it (like, a lot of research – I suppose there’s always more that can be done, though) back when I was writing my paper. I hope to keep picking away at this topic, and maybe someday n the future I will be able to really tackle it head-on like that again.

      I am hoping to focus on understanding the topic of Christian hermeneutics sometime in the future – maybe this summer, or next fall. I’ll probably listen to a few iTunes U courses on it, read some books, and then try to formulate a position. It’s pretty sad that after a BA and most of an MA in theology, I still need to do personal, self-study to know how to understand/read the Bible!

      • I previously posted as Don. I created a blog “Partially Christian” and now I post as that here, unless I log out.

        I think it is VERY EASY for egals and comps to misunderstand each other. After all, we are discussing the meaning of some words written almost 2000 years ago, each of us has a framework we do our interpretation inside, and each of us believes we are doing it correctly, yet we have this fundamental disagreement over whether the Bible teaches a male hierarchy in family and church or not.

        It seems so OBVIOUS to the comp side (AKA plain reading), why is there any discussion at all? I was VERY skeptical that egals had any possibility of being correct when I started reading an egal book. Might I really be THAT WRONG?!!?

        Fortunately for me, I had previously seen a different example of where I was wrong. This lessened my confidence that I was correct about being called by God to be THE benign leader of the home. There is a big diff. between being 100% sure and being 99% sure.

      • Here is the thing, one can study a lot, but it it is mostly from one side, then one can be hornswoggled. Do not expect one side’s adherents to get the arguments of the other side correct. One needs to read both sides in their own words.

      • “I did a lot of research on it (like, a lot of research – I suppose there’s always more that can be done, though) back when I was writing my paper. I hope to keep picking away at this topic, and maybe someday n the future I will be able to really tackle it head-on like that again”

        Admirable idea Josiah. I’ve been researching these issues since the 70’s, diligently as possible consulting both sides. I’ve all (I think) of Grudem’s books, Pipers, some Ware and many more on the hierarchical side. My first book explaining the concept of true equality and mutuality was “Man as male and female, by Paul Jewett. I had been digging through Scripture and resource books before computers were around. 🙂

  2. Sounds to me like I’m entering the discussion too late. There’s a good chance everything has already been said.
    I read the Bible every year, so that means I’ve read it cover to cover now about 25 times. I find this to be an invaluable tool, yearly seeing Scripture in an overview. God sometimes puts what we would see as “conflicting messages” together. It might at first be assumed that the Bible contradicts itself. But I’m starting to see that some “truths” cannot be described by a single logical statement. Sometimes truth is held in tension between two opposing “thoughts”.

    Eph 5:23 KJV For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

    This is a fairly definitive verse on the subject. Perhaps if someone would like to share a Bible portion that “contradicts” this or puts it in tension.

    • I agree it is definitive.

      Head is a metaphor, we know this as it is NOT the thing on one’s neck. The question is what the metaphor is.

      I see it as a head/body metaphor of unity.
      Paul is doing a mapping, Jesus as head/kephale of the church, the body. The husband is head/kephale of his wife, his body, together they form a unity, a one-flesh union.

      What does a head do? Paul does not let us wonder, he tell us. Jesus as head of the church maps to Jesus as savior of the church, that is, the head serves the body. So a husband is to serve his wife. We see this idea of serving elaborated in later verses, in ALL of them they are serving functions.

      One principle of Bible interpretation is to not go beyond the text, to not add to what is written. So one is in solid Biblical ground to understand this verse as Paul telling husbands in Ephesus to serve their wives, this is in contrast to the pagan culture which told them to control their wives, even to decide whether a baby lived or died.

      • The head is NOT a picture of servant hood, but of leadership. You must have forgotten that the head is where the brain resides and the brain directs all functions of the body, or at least it should.
        Why did you not include a Scripture reference? Do you assume that your human arguments carry more weight than the word of God?
        Perhaps I should have included a few more verses which add a bit more context. I’ll try again.

        Eph 5:22-24 KJV Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. (23) For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. (24) Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

        These verses clearly state that the Husband is the head of the wife, a position of authority or leadership. The wife is clearly directed to submit to her own husband, to be subject to him in everything.
        This is what I’m asking for:
        Is there a Bible portion you can quote that seems to “contradict” this verse, or “put it in tension”? If so, please share it with a brief explanation and we can explore this matter further.

      • In the 1st century, the head was not necessarily seen as the leader of the body. In Scripture, the heart holds that position, this is why David can say the things he says in the Psalms.

        Do not teleport the 21st century idea of head as boss into 1st century text, it is simply too easy to take verses out of context that way.

        There are many possible metaphors that use head/kephale; it is suspect to use one that gives one advantages over another. A head/body metaphor in Eph 5 does not need to be taken further than a metaphor of unity.

        ALL of the text subsequent to Eph 5:21 in this pericope are subordinate to v. 21, where submission is called for for ALL believers. All 6 examples are ways to practise this mutual submission principle, given the realities of the 1st century.

        Furthermore, a husband is told to love his wife, does this mean a wife is not to love her husband? Perish the thought.

        A wife is told to respect her husband, does this mean a husband does not need to respect his wife? Perish the thought.

        Similarly, Paul tells a wife to submit to her husband, does this mean a husband does not need to submit to his wife? Perish the thought. It is EXPLICIT that a believing husband should submit to his believing wife in Eph 5:21, as all believers are to submit to one another.

      • The point is you are CHOOSING to interpert head/kephale as a position of leadership, when this is not required; in fact, there is NO OTHER indication of leadership in the text, you are importing the idea.

        I decline to make that choice, I am a co-leader WITH my wife of my family.

      • The fact is that we must be totally honest about HOW submission in Ephesians is presented. Romans 13:1,5, says, “let every soul be subject to the higher powers (governing authorities). James 4:7 tells us to “Submit yourselves therefore to God.” These verses show us that submit/subject means to submit to the authority of a higher power, to yield etc. In Ephesians 5:21 though we see ‘mutual submission’ between believers (not a one-sided unilateral submission) of “some to others” as in Romans 13:1,5, or as “ALL” believers to God in James 4:7.) Mutuality is enjoined by the Word of God as the Normal Pattern of Relationships among christians (which also includes married couples.) To place the marriage relationship OUTSIDE the norm for all believers as it pertains to submission/or submitting “one to another’ is not warranted by the context of Ephesians 5.

      • I tried to post these Bible verses a couple of days ago, but something went wrong. At any rate, these are sufficient to show how the concept of “head” is used in the Bible. It is a term describing a position of leadership or authority. NOT a position of servant-hood.

        Jos 11:10 And Joshua at that time turned back, and took Hazor, and smote the king thereof with the sword: for Hazor beforetime was the HEAD of all those kingdoms.

        Jos 22:14 And with him ten princes, of each chief house a prince throughout all the tribes of Israel; and each one was an HEAD of the house of their fathers among the thousands of Israel.

        Jdg 11:9 And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, If ye bring me home again to fight against the children of Ammon, and the LORD deliver them before me, shall I be your HEAD?

        Jdg 11:11 Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him HEAD and captain over them: and Jephthah uttered all his words before the LORD in Mizpeh.

        1Sa 15:17 And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the HEAD of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel?

        Isa 7:9 And the HEAD of Ephraim is Samaria, and the HEAD of Samaria is Remaliah’s son. If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established.

        1Co 11:3 But I would have you know, that the HEAD of every man is Christ; and the HEAD of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

        Eph 1:22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the HEAD over all things to the church,

        Col 2:10 And ye are complete in him, which is the HEAD of all principality and power:

      • ” The head is NOT a picture of servant hood, but of leadership. You must have forgotten that the head is where the brain resides and the brain directs all functions of the body, or at least it should.”

        That is a modern concept. When these words were written it was thought that the heart, not the head, directed the will, the thoughts, and the actions. Additionally, as a medical health person I can tell you that the brain does not dictate to the body. It is actually a symbiotic relationship; the living together of two dissimilar organisms in mutuality.

  3. It is always interesting how some would want husbands to be a ‘higher power’ or ‘authority figure’ for a wife. What is missed is that is not biblical language but rather modern corporate language. For Biblical language we can refer to Christ’s words in Matthew 20. This is Jesus’s response to the brothers who wanted to be ‘higher powers’ and authority figures as they thought Jesus was.

    ”25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

    • (I am assuming you have read this string of posts, but could not post a reply at the end, due to the limitations of the blog site)

      It isn’t my idea and it isn’t modern corporate language that places the husband in authority. I will go back to the verse in question, Ephesians 5.22 – 24
      Eph 5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
      – The Biblical concept is very clear: Wives are to submit to their own husbands. The verse even clarifies the type of submission, it is “as unto the Lord”.

      (23) For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body.
      – The reason a wife is to submit is because her husband has a position similar to that which Christ has in His relationship to the Church. In the Bible, the term “head” always refers to a leadership position.

      (24) Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
      – This verse speaks for itself.

      – Matthew 20 defines HOW leaders are to lead. It does not REMOVE leadership positions. Eph. 5 makes it amply clear that God has given Husbands a special leadership role within their homes. Wives are given a role as well: to submit to her own husband. It would be so good to talk about how these roles should be exercised, but how can we if you refuse to agree with God’s word on their very existance?

      • Again, you CHOOSE to interpret these verses as saying the husband is in authority over his wife, this is not required by the text, it is YOUR choice.

        You neglect that all this text is subordinate to Eph 5:21, where believers are to mutually submit to other believers.

        The contrast is with Aristotle’s teaching on the household, which said that a wife was to obey her husband, but Paul does NOT say this.

        Slaves are to obey masters and children their parents, but Paul pointedly does not say this about wives.

      • Paul does, pointedly, say that wives are to submit to their own husbands. Eph 5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. (23) For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. (24) Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

      • P.S. The solution is of course for you to remove your “blue” lenses that you view these verses thru. That is, to repent of your masculism.

      • Gen 1:27 KJV So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

        Hey…….. God created me as a male, there’s nothing to repent of.

      • There may be a point of confusion, some non-egals get submission and obedience confused as if they were the same thing. They are not, although obedience can be A way of exercising submission, it is not the only way. For example, Daniel always submitted to the king but did not always obey him.

        Furthermore, Paul says that ANYTHING that is not done in faith in sin, so even assuming a hierarchical marriage, if a wife cannot in faith do something that her husband has made the “final decision” about, then she should not do it and the husband should not ask her to sin.

  4. ” At any rate, these are sufficient to show how the concept of “head” is used in the Bible. It is a term describing a position of leadership or authority. NOT a position of servant-hood.”

    Different words. We can see that in the LXX. When authority is implied, the Grk. words chosen could be despotes, archeon or similar, but not kephale. There have been several studies of kephale trying to decipher it’s usage. Most were done thanks to Grudem who hugely overstated his case and did not accurately support his conclusions. When the statistics were checked, out of hundreds of usages only a handful or less could be attributed to the word kephale. Also, context is key. When I have time later, I may find some of these statistics.

    Context being key in the Ephesians dialogue, we can see that Paul is talking about serving one another, starting with verse one.

    • You are choosing to reject the clear and simple truth of God’s word for statistics? Let’s just drop the passage with the word “head” in it for now. Perhaps if we just consider this one, what’s your take on Eph. 5:22???
      Eph 5:22 KJV Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

      • In the Greek, Eph 5:22 is not even a sentence, as it has no verb. The verb is inherited from Eph 5:21 according to the rules of Greek grammar.

        My translation of Eph 5:21-22 … mutually submitting in the fear of Messiah; wives (mutually submitting) to your husbands as to the Lord.

      • FINALLY! A clear description of what you think about Vs. 22 – 24. Wait a second, you seem to be forgetting some portions of the passage. Let’s see now, you’ve included vs. 21, and then you somehow blend that with a couple of words in vs.22, then you somehow ignore vs. 23, and 24. OK,, Since you really want to also look at vs. 21, let’s throw that one in too. You give me a word by word analysis of vs 21 to 24 (inclusive) and I’ll critique you. Then I’ll do the same for you and you can critique me.
        Eph 5:21-24 KJV Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. (22) Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. (23) For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. (24) Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

  5. “Matthew 20 defines HOW leaders are to lead. It does not REMOVE leadership positions. Eph. 5 makes it amply clear that God has given Husbands a special leadership role within their homes. Wives are given a role as well: to submit to her own husband. It would be so good to talk about how these roles should be exercised, but how can we if you refuse to agree with God’s word on their very existance?”

    IMO Christ (in Matt. 20) is not addressing leadership at all. Christ is addressing the desire to be leaders. His response is saying that the children of God, US, are not to desire to be in positions of leadership, but rather we are to desire to serve. And the more important we want to be, the more important it is that we exemplify a life of serving.

    The concept of roles did not arrive until the French coined the term for actors in plays. There was no concept of roles in Christ day or before. Rather, there was the wickedness of considering men superior to women. As such all the surrounding societies and tribes relegated women to limited and inferior responsibilities in life.

    Ephesians five does not talk about leadership but rather about :

    walking in love as Christ walked, (loving sacrificially)
    living pure lives,
    walking as children of light,
    walking circumspectly as wise people,
    being filled with the Spirit,
    speaking to one another in spiritual worshipful attitudes,
    making melody in our hearts,
    giving thanks for all things,
    submitting to one another in the fear of God.

    This is written to all believers in every area of their lives, including family, and marital.

    • You adequately summarized all of Eph 5, except for verses 22 – 24. Perhaps you could do this now:
      Eph 5:22-24 GNB Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands as to the Lord.
      (23) For a husband has authority over his wife just as Christ has authority over the church; and Christ is himself the Savior of the church, his body. (24) And so wives must submit themselves completely to their husbands just as the church submits itself to Christ.

      • One needs to interpret the whole pericope in context and not just a few verses out of their immediate context, which is the pericope they are found in. The pericope is Eph 5:15-6:9. This pericope includes the infamous “Slaves, obey your masters.” portion which was used by slaveholders in the antebellum South to justify slavery; so we KNOW we need to be careful in interpreting this pericope.

      • So now, if I hear you right, you are saying that the Bible teaches that Slaves should NOT obey their masters. And what does this have to do with the passage in question? Let’s stay focused here. I will include the verse again, and ask if perhaps you could give a word by word description of the thoughts in this passage.
        Eph 5:22-24 KJV Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. (23) For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. (24) Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

      • No, in the 1st century Paul is telling slaves they need to obey their masters. My point was that SBC and other denominations were formed by churches splitting over misusing verses in this pericope and justifying slavery in the 1800’s. So we have historical examples of abuse of Scripture with this pericope that should cause us to be careful and NOT use it today to abuse others.

        Paul is specifically addressing wives, this was very counter-cultural for the time as the PAGAN culture assumed the husband was boss. For example, Aristotle simply told the husband what he was to enforce in the family; in practise this included the right to kill babies at birth. So think of something as powerful as a Mafia godfather but worse.

        A wife is to be subject to her husband and a husband is to be subject to his wife.

      • ”You adequately summarized all of Eph 5, except for verses 22 – 24.”

        You are not understanding the context. EVERYTHING that follows (through to 6:9) is subject to, connected to and acquainted with what I just outlined. Paul started with loving as Christ loved giving his life. Paul bookends this section with all submitting one to another in the fear of the Lord. This sandwich is to be carried forward into all our interpersonal relationships: marriage, parenting, business. Paul sandwiches the husband loving sacrificially in giving himself for his wife with the wife mutually submitting to, clinging to, honoring, supporting, etc. her husband. This does not negate the wife loving sacrificially nor the husband mutually submitting. I say all those things because that is part of the inner workings of the sandwich as spelled out in verses 3-20. The new ‘life’ (head of and body of) only lives a healthy life if both are producing the inner workings as outlined. It is not about authority or obedience for husband and wife because they are to become as one. It is about loving sacrificially and arranging oneself toward the other in a symbiotic mutuality.

      • John,

        Would you respond to this statement…..

        “IMO Christ (in Matt. 20) is not addressing leadership at all. Christ is addressing the desire to be leaders. His response is saying that the children of God, US, are not to desire to be in positions of leadership, but rather we are to desire to serve. And the more important we want to be, the more important it is that we exemplify a life of serving.”

  6. Josh,

    You need to see women as fully mature adults. In a marriage if only the man is making the major decisions, only the man is playing the part of the adult. If a woman always has to submit to her husband’s decisions, it’s not a relationship between two mature adults – rather it’s a father child relationship.

    Wives don’t want a boss, they want a partner. And that is the way God made them to be.

    • What does maturity have to do with Ephesians 5:22-24???? I’ve worked under plenty of “immature” bosses in my life, you don’t have to be “mature” to be given a position of leadership. Neither is it somehow “childish” to submit. What is at issue is simply this: Did God give a position of headship or leadership to the husband? Is God asking the wife to submit to her own husband? The answer is conclusive: YES. If you disagree with this you disagree with the written word of God, which says, and I quote:
      Eph 5:22-24 GNB Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands as to the Lord.
      (23) For a husband has authority over his wife just as Christ has authority over the church; and Christ is himself the Savior of the church, his body. (24) And so wives must submit themselves completely to their husbands just as the church submits itself to Christ.

      • Yes, of course God is saying a wife should submit to her husband, no one is disputing that.

        God is ALSO asking the husband to submit to his wife in Eph 5:21. If you disagree with that you disagree with the word of God.

        Also, it is you that are using the term “headship” that is NOT found in the Bible, what IS found is a METAPHOR using head and body, and the question is what do those METAPHORS mean in this case.

      • YOU, are disputing this truth! Vs. 21 doesn’t eliminate Vs. 22. Vs. 22 gives an extra layer or reason for submission to a wife. Are you saying, Wives are also the head of their own husbands??? Perhaps you could give a word by word breakdown of the thoughts of the following verses.
        Eph 5:22-24 KJV Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. (23) For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. (24) Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

      • I already wrote I agreed wives are to submit to their husbands, what truth am I disputing? The truth YOU seem to be disputing is in Eph 5:21, where all believers are told to submit to other believers, in the case of believing spouses, this means a husband is to submit to his wife.

        Paul gives us what we need to know about these verses, the trick is to not add in human tradition or read them in a way that puts things in there that are not there. He uses a head-body metaphor. Previously in Eph this metaphor is one of life giving, as elsewhere in the Bible, Jesus is the vine and we are the branches, we get our life from Jesus.

        ALL the things that Jesus is said to do as head in Eph 5 are serving things, and so the mapping is a husband is to serve his wife. This is incredibly easy to see once you take away the crud of human tradition that is often added to these verses.

      • John, I’m guessing by your rash and accusatory rhetoric that you are a young man new to the study of Scripture and the proper manner of dialoguing with other and much older Christians. Of the three people you are dialoguing with here my guess is that we have all been Christians longer than you have been alive. I’m not sure about JLP but Don and I are Bible teachers. I’ve been teaching Bible Study for 40 years.

        This does not mean that I have all the answers. It does however, mean that it is likely that I am well acquainted with these Scriptures and might even have spent some years studying them. In fact I have, as I know that both JLP and Don have as well. What you might want to ask us is why we do not view it as giving the husband authority and a demand for the wife to submit to a husbandly authority, We know quite well why you do and we know quite well the methodology by which your teachers come to this conclusion. I call it helicopter theology because you hoist two verses out of their contextual home and demand that they be interpreted on their own. We all know that anyone can take a sentence or two from anywhere and make it say something that the original authors do not intend.

        Now you might also like to ask us how we come to the conclusions that we do, and how we view these verses as fitting in the whole pericope of chapter five….. or 5:1 – 6:9.

        No one is demanding that you believe us. However, it is befitting the character of a Christian young person to honor and respect his elders enough to listen to what they have to say.

      • You’re wrong about my age.
        It is clear that you and your friends absolutely refuse to dialogue on Eph. 5:22-24. Why? I’ve asked now multitudes of times for a clear word by word interpretation of this portion. I can do it, why can’t you? You choose instead to re-define key words (like head), quote the literary works of others, presumably use statistics and a myriad of other techniques to side step the written word of God. Now you are making unfounded and incorrect conclusions about me. These methods do not prove your opinions correct.
        You have not been teaching the Bible for 40 years. You have been teaching what other people think about the Bible. There is a big difference.
        This will be my last post on this subject. I would strongly encourage you to study for yourself the content of Eph. 5:22-24.

      • ”What does maturity have to do with Ephesians 5:22-24???? I’ve worked under plenty of “immature” bosses in my life, you don’t have to be “mature” to be given a position of leadership.”

        The only leadership responsibilities that God doesn’t require spiritual maturity before authorizing us to participate is the rearing of our children. God gave us the ability to propagate and now it’s up to us. As Christian parentss however, we are indeed admonished to be mature in our activities as parents since we are the examples for the world.

        Now IMO marriage isn’t about leadership (except in our examples to the world) but about two dissimilar (yet similarly human) individuals existing in a harmonious symbiotic relationship as if they were one entity (becoming as one). Those who seek to make it a leadership job necessarily must relegate the wife to the position similar of both child and slave. In ancient times when young wives were actually still children being married at 13-15 that wasn’t much of a stretch, at least in the first several years of marriage. But today, women are married as adults in most cultures. And in Christ, they should be treated as both a fellow believer in the Priesthood of believers and an adult capable of hearing God as much as any other adult in Christ might.

      • “What is at issue is simply this: Did God give a position of headship or leadership to the husband? Is God asking the wife to submit to her own husband?”

        to help clarify regarding Ephesians five…..

        Did God (or Paul) give husbands a position of headship over their wives?
        NO!

        Is Paul asking wives to submit to their own husbands?
        Yes!

    • “Wives don’t want a boss, they want a partner. And that is the way God made them to be.”

      JLP, this statement is actually very key to this discussion.

      Generally speaking, those who choose to view the concept of hupotassomenoi (arranging oneself under another voluntarily) as being only relative to authority in another, have gathered this idea from Gen. 3:16. And they have failed to get the context of that as well. When God was talking to the woman, He was mercifully warning her of something that was going to be an uncomfortable new thing in her life. Sin changed much.

      God created man and woman equally human, with no need between them of taking authority or control from one and giving it to another. Together they were to exercise a guardianship type of authority over the creatures of the earth which the creatures of the earth needed, partly due to their inferiority to the humans. The humans had abilities to minister to the creatures that the creatures could not minister to themselves.

      Women do not need men to control their lives or take authority over them. Women do not need men to make their decisions for them. They do not need men to tell them what to do or how to live. And given a choice women would prefer men not try to do so. And the reason is that God created them sufficiently able to do this for themselves, just like men. Women manage quite well on their own, because God created them just as capable as men. This is why women are the perfect ezer (help) for men. The help that a woman brings to a man is from her strengths, not from weakness such as a helpER, an assistant.

      When men seek to dominate or exercise authority over their women, they weaken her. In so doing, they have lost out on the strengths she was meant to bring to them.

  7. ”It is clear that you and your friends absolutely refuse to dialogue on Eph. 5:22-24.”

    Don answered you clearly several times. We have no problem with the fact that Paul is admonishing wives to submit to their husbands in everything.

    Your problem is that you insist on helicoptering two verses out of their context to interpret them on their own. You break the metaphor, and/or ignore it. The metaphor is that while wives are to view their husbands as their head (similar to how Christ is our head), husbands are to view wives as their bodies. Head of and body of is not a metaphor of leader and follower. It is a metaphor of unity and interdependency.

    We also have dialogued profusely about the meaning as it related to a metaphor and the context of the whole area, to which you also ignore. IMO you are clearly intent on keeping yourself and men on a preferential pedestal and will reinterpret verses and words to fit this concept. I pray that someday when you discover your error, that you will not have to look back on a large number of people that you have wounded in the process.

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