“BECAUSE I SAID SO, WOMAN!!!!!!”: Examining the Biblical Concept of HEADSHIP in a Marriage

Posted by Gabriel (G²) on November 21, 2007

Regarding the issue of headship, as evidenced in Ephesians 5:22-30, I’d like to share that although some have distorted this teaching by giving UNLIMITED AUTHORITY to husbands, we cannot get around it–Paul told wives to submit to their husbands. The fact that a teaching is not popular is no reason to discard it.

However, one must remember that REAL SPIRITUAL HEADSHIP/leadership involves loving service (a form of DYING). & Just as Christ served the disciples, even to the point of washing their feet (John 13)…..& using HIS LEADERSHIP not to BE SERVED but to SERVE (, so the husband is to serve his wife LIKEWISE.


Mark 10:35-45
The Request of James and John 35Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”

36″What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.

37They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”
38″You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”

39″We can,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, 40but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”
41When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. 42Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”


Luke 22:24-2724Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.

Authority is not given for SELF-IMPORTANCE, AMBITION, or RESPECT……But rather for USEFUL SERVICE TO GOD & HIS CREATION…..& A wise and Christ-Honoring Husband willl never take advantage of his leadership role, and a wise and Christ honoring wife will not try to undermine her husband’s leadership. Either approach causes DISUNITY/FRICTION in the marriage.

Paul devotes TWICE AS MANY WORDS TO TELLING HUSBANDS TO LOVE THEIR WIVES as to telling wives to submit to their husbands.

Again, men should be willing to sacrifice everything for her……& should care for her as he cares for his own body/self (and note, if you love yourself so much that you value your opinion as having validity/worth, a wife’s voice should be treated the same as well……not as if it’s “less”)…..& you shiould make HER WELL-BEING OF PRIMARY IMPORTANCE (Ephesians 5:25-30)

Moreover, just as the MANAGER in a corporation is responsible for making sure that he/all those under him are in line with the ORIGINAL PURPOSES of the COMPANY EMPLOYING HIM, so we as HEADS OF OUR HOUSEHOLDS need to make sure that we’re operting under the ORIGINAL PURPOSE our MASTER HAD IN MIND WHEN IT CAME TO MARRIAE: ONENESS!!!!!!

Oneness in marriage does not mean losing your personality of the other, but rather caring for your spouse as you care for yourself, learning to anticipate his or her needs, helping the other person become all he or she can be. That’s what the Creation story tells us (Genesis 2:24)…and what Jesus also refeered to as the GOAL IN MARRIAGE (Matthew 19:4-6).

In case anyone missed it, I’d encourage EVERYONE TO GO HERE & LISTEN TO THIS, seeing that it gives a better explanation of what I’m trying to say & will hopefully AID THIS DISCUSSION GREATLY!!!

MS pt.1-Matthew 19:3-8: http://www.libertychurch.org/streaming/audio/topical_series.php#top

MS pt.2-Genesis 2:18-20 :http://www.libertychurch.org/streami…series.php#top


MS pt.3-Genesis 3:16: http://www.libertychurch.org/streami…series.php#top


To add on to what I was saying, whenever men try to quote the verses in Ephesians as describing heirarchy & that CHRIST DOESN’T LISTEN TO US SO NEITHER SHOULD MEN TO WOMEN & WOMEN SIMPLY NEED TO OBEY……I’m sorry, but that is simply being a BULLY. Call a SPADE A SPADE.


As far as I know, Jesus himself made clear NOT TO SIMPLY SUBMIT TO HIM on MANY OCCASIONS unless what He said lined up with SCRIPTURE/GOD’S HEART!!!!


John 5:19-2319Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these. 21For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. 22Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him



John 5:30-3230By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me. Testimonies About Jesus

31″If I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid. 32There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is valid.


<H3>John 7:16-19


16Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. 17If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. 18He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him. 19Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?”

NOTE FROM G2: As Jesus made clear, whenever it comes to religious leaders and wondering whether or not they’re telling the truth & therefore should be FOLLOWED, we should do this: Test them to see if they’re words should agree with, not CONTRADICT, the BIBLE……& whether or not their words should point to God & His Will, not to THEMSELVES



13The Pharisees challenged him, “Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid.”
14Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going. 15You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. 16But if I do judge, my decisions are right, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me. 17In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two men is valid. 18I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.”John 8:13-18


John 8:27-2927They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father. 28So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. 29The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.”

The list could go on, from John 8:46-47 where He even encouraged people to question His authority/claims & character as long as they were willing to follow through on what they discovered to John 8:54-56 where He said that His word alone meant nothing if it DIDN’T GLORIFY THE LORD & was VALIDATED BY SCRIPTURE/HIM…….and most of all, what to make of John 10:34-38, where He said POINT-BLANK that unless He was doing as the FATHER DID, HIS AUTHORITY MEANT NOTHING & HE SHOULD BE AVOIDED. As He said,




This is a BASIC PRINCIPLE, as seen in Christ’s actions with the Pharisees & paying TAXES yet still OBEYING GOD (Matthew 22:15-22, Mark 12:13-17, Luke 20:20-26), Romans 13, I Peter 2:13-25, & even in the OT various TIMES (Genesis 39:1-23, Exodus 1:15-22, Nehemiah 1-2, Daniel 1-4, etc)…..


Just my two cents….

For some  interesting articles that may aid the discussion, consider these:


Our first submission should be unto the Lord. “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matthew 22:37).

God never forces someone to follow Him nor does He want us to be forced to follow or yield to another human being. He wants us to lovingly submit to Him and to each other.

However, because of the evil in some men’s hearts a person under their authority can be abusive and a submissive person can be asked to do things that they do not believe is right. That is why the Bible also gives perimeters to submission.

The Bible teaches that, in the Spirit, women are equal with men, and each must submit unto Jesus as their spiritual head. In the flesh, in the marriage relationship, women are to be subject to their husband’s headship.

The Lord ordained that the man be the one that would make final decisions in the home because in any relationship involving two people one must be the final authority.

In the marriage, or fleshly relationship, the man is the head and should guide his home and family. In the spirit, Jesus Christ is the head of His family and He guides each member according to His headship. Men are to love their wives like Jesus loves the church. He laid His life down for her. Men that are demanding that their wives submit to them have not learned the right way to win them and that is to love them with the love of the Lord.


Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 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. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies.

He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband” (Ephesians 5:21-33).


Submission means to yield or “to set yourself under.” From this definition we see we are to yield to one another instead of demanding our own way. Love should be the rule in our homes, and we should “prefer one another.” Not only should this be especially true in our homes, but in our church family as well.


“Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another” (Romans 12:10).

Both husband and wife should be submissive and loving……….

Both husband and wife should be submissive and loving. The love of Christ should be the rule in the home. When wifely submission is over-stressed we find it can lead to many problems that cause the husband-wife relationship to be thrown out of balance.

Some even stress it to the degree that a wife must obey every command her husband dictates to her. They arrive at this conclusion because of the Scripture, “Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything” (Ephesians 5:24). The word “everything” here is not inclusive of evil things.

Women are to submit to their husbands as the church is to submit unto Christ. Christ would never ask anything of the church that was not according to God’s Word. Women are never to submit unto things that do not line up with God’s Word.

The word “everything” here is not inclusive of evil things. Women are to submit to their husbands as the church is to submit unto Christ. Christ would never ask anything of the church that was not according to God’s Word. Women are never to submit unto things that do not line up with God’s Word.

A perfect example of this is the New Testament account of Ananias and Sapphira. Chapter 5 of Acts records the story of how this couple conspired to hold back what they had agreed to give unto the church. The church had not asked them for anything; it was their own decision to contribute the money from the sale of their land. When the land sold, they conspired to keep back a portion of the money. However, when Ananias gave the money to the apostles, he lied and told them it was the full amount. The Holy Spirit revealed this evil lie to Peter and showed him that Satan had entered Ananias’ heart. Because he lied to God, he instantly fell dead at the apostle’s feet.

Sapphira, Ananias’ wife, later came along and upon telling the same lie, also fell dead. If she had not submitted to her husband and agreed to this evil, her life would have been spared. However, she followed in her husband’s evil; thus she suffered the same fate. This should show us clearly that to submit to the evil in a husband’s life will only bring destruction upon the woman.


If any man, husband or otherwise, would ask us to do something that Jesus would not sanction, then we must refuse to do it. We should also do and apply those things that the Holy Spirit would speak to us to do. We must obey Him over what man would say to us. If it is truly the Lord speaking to us, He will deal with the one who is wrong.And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:18-20).

If we are submitted unto the Lord and our husband is requiring things of us that we feel are not of the Lord, we should take the matter to the Lord and ask for His wisdom on how to deal with it. We should pray for our husbands and ask the Lord to speak to them if they are in the wrong. However, we should also be willing to be corrected if we are in the wrong. We should ask the Holy Spirit to resolve the conflict and to deal with the party who is wrong, and both should be willing to change an opinion.

The Holy Spirit generally will not ask a woman to do something that would cause her to disobey her husband and thereby cause conflict in her home. Most women who have a problem submitting to their husbands have the same problem submitting to the Lord. Our relationship with the Lord will reflect in our attitudes with not only our husbands and children, but with all others as well.

If we please the Lord and obey Him, we will find we will have favor with the people in our lives. And, to those who do not understand us and spitefully use us, we shall have God’s grace to bear their persecution and God’s love toward them to forgive them.

There are several accounts in the Word of God that plainly teach submission to God over submission to husbands. One familiar story is that of Mary, the mother of Christ (Luke 1:26-38; Matthew 1:18-25). She yielded to what God asked her to do without asking Joseph what he thought about it. In fact, he wanted to put her away when he found out she was pregnant.

Surely Mary tried to explain to Joseph that this child was conceived by the Holy Ghost, but he could not receive her explanation until the Lord sent an angel to confirm to him that she indeed had heard the Lord. This is a case where a woman submitted to God first, and then the Lord dealt with her husband showing him she had heard the Lord.

All through the Bible we find accounts of God speaking to women before speaking to their husbands. The Apostle Peter speaks of Sarah as a model wife in


I Peter 3:5-6, “For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.”

Genesis 16:5-6 gives us another side of the picture, for we have here an account of a disagreement between Sarah and Abraham. On this occasion, Abraham conceded and allowed Sarah to have her way. We notice that God justified her for this in Genesis 21:10-12 when the question came up again. God told Abraham to obey Sarah:


“…Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac. And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son. And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.”

When the Scripture speaks of wives obeying and submitting to their husbands, it cannot mean that every wife must obey her husband always in everything.

She, as well as he, is responsible to obey what the Spirit gives each to do.

The husband does not lead the wife into all truth since this is the work of the Holy Spirit.

This does not license a wife who has a domineering spirit to do anything she wants simply because she says she is only subject to the Lord. The Lord is displeased with any person who tries to dominate and rule another’s life, whether that person be male or female.

There is nothing worse than a domineering, nagging wife.


Proverbs 21:9 expresses it this way, “It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.”

The main thing for women to do in regard to following and obeying what they feel the Lord is telling them to do is to be sure it is the Lord.

If it is the Lord, He will justify them as He did Sarah and other women of the Bible. If it is not the Lord, they will create for themselves a lot of problems, not only with their husbands, but with others as well.

Women who are single are not under any earthly man’s headship since they do not have a flesh relationship with a man.

Their head is Jesus Christ and it is this union to which they are subject.


“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God”(Romans 7:4).

Most Christian women experience two marriages. They are married to Christ and they are married to their husbands. The first is a spiritual marriage, the other an earthly or fleshly marriage.

They are to be obedient to both. If they obey their spiritual head, they will not be disobeying their physical head, even if it is against what their husbands command because God will deal with their husbands.

Some women are unequally yoked and have difficulty submitting to the desires of their ungodly husbands. They are to obey them as long as it does not mean disobedience to Christ. They are not to obey them if it would be morally or spiritually wrong.

A Biblical account of this can be found in I Samuel 25:4-42. Abigail was a woman who knew God. She was the wife of Nabal, an ungodly husband.

She realized her husband’s refusal to give gifts unto David’s men endangered her whole household. On her own initiative she took food and rode to meet David. She was a wise woman–by disobeying her husband, she saved his life, for David would have slain him. She saved not only her husband’s life, but also her own and her household’s lives and possessions. She also found favor with David and with God. Her wicked husband Nabal died shortly after this as his heart was cold toward God. He was a son of Belial (another name for Satan).


“Now therefore know and consider what thou wilt do; for evil is determined against our master, and against all his household: for he is such a son of Belial, that a man cannot speak to him. Then Abigail made haste, and took two hundred loaves, and two bottles of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn, and an hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses. And she said unto her servants, Go on before me; behold, I come after you. But she told not her husband Nabal…So David received of her hand that which she had brought him, and said unto her, Go up in peace to thine house; see, I have hearkened to thy voice, and have accepted thy person. And Abigail came to Nabal; and behold, he held a feast in his house, like the feast of a king; and Nabal’s heart was merry within him, for he was very drunken: wherefore she told him nothing, less or more, until the morning light. But it came to pass in the morning, when the wine was gone out of Nabal, and his wife had told him these things, that his heart died within him, and be became as a stone” (I Samuel 25:17-19 & 1 Samuel 25:12-44NOTE FROM G2: This story is what I think to be a PERFECT EXAMPLE that WOMEN WERE NOT SIMPLY MEANT TO FOLLOW, as others have said…….for David was in no mood to listen when he set out for Nabal’s property (I Samuel 25:13-22), but nevertheless HE STOPPED to hear what Abigal had to say…..& had he ignored her thinking she was never right or had worthwile things to say simply because she was a “WOMAN” & “MEN KNOW BETTER” , he would’ve been guilty of taking vengeance into his own hands….& thus commiting murder/BREAKING GOD’S LAW!!! No matter how right we think we are, we must always be careful to stop/listen to others—regardless of gender—for WISDOM IS WISDOM.

quote]Another account of a woman who moved in faith and was responsible for the salvation of her whole household was the harlot Rahab in Joshua 2 & Joshua 6 . There were men in her household but none of them had the faith and boldness to seek deliverance.


“And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father’s household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho” (Joshua 6:25).G

Christianity Gave Women Freedom and Dignity

What would the status of women be in the Western world today had God not entered the world in the flesh of his Son Jesus Christ? One way to answer this question is to look at the low status women still have in Islamic countries. In Saudi Arabia, for instance, women are not even permitted to drive automobiles, and in the Koran a man is commanded to beat his wives physically if they are disobedient (Sura 4:34).

When one looks back in history before and at the time of Christ, women, similar to Islamic countries today, also had very little freedom and dignity. They were seen as evil, inferior, unclean, unequal, and kept silent.

Women as Evil
Reflecting Greek culture, Homer (eighth century B.C.) wrote, “One cannot trust women” (The Odyssey). The Greek playwright Euripides (d. 406 B.C.) said, “Women were the best devisers of evil” (Medea). Tacitus the first-century Roman pictured women as dominating and cruel (Annals). Among the Hebrews, Jesus son of Sirach (second century B.C.) stated, “From a woman sin had its beginning and because of her we all die” (Ecclesiastus).

Women as Inferior
The Greek physician Hippocrates (d. 377 B.C.) argued, “The female is less perfect than the male.” Aristotle (d. 322 B.C.) the philosopher asserted, “The female is as it were a deformed male” (Generation of Animals). Because women was seen as inferior Roman culture placed her under the law of patria potestas and manus, which gave man total control over his daughters and wife. During the rabbinic or oral law era (ca. 400 B.C. – c.a. 200 A.D.), the Hebrew wife was obligated to wash her husband’s face, hands, and feet (Kethuboth). A Hebrew prayer declared, “Blessed {art thou} who did not make me a woman” (Menahot).

Women as Unclean
The belief that woman are unclean was present in virtually all cultures, for instance, among the Hindus of India, the Caribs of British Guiana, many North American Indian tribes, Eskimos, and others. And it was also a common perception among the Grec0-Romans and the Hebrews. Women’s perceived uncleanness was the result of their monthly menses, which led to their being deprived of many freedoms and privileges. The Hebrew Talmud, for instance, has an entire book titled Niddah that largely deals with woman’s menstrual uncleanness.

Women as Unequal
Compared to men, ancient cultures gave very unequal treatment to women. Married men were commonly permitted to have extra-marital-sexual relations, but mot so for married women. This double standard was lamented by a Greek wife in one of Euripides’ plays. She said, “If a man grows tired of the company at home, he can go out and find a cure for tediousness. We wives are forced to look to one man only” (Medea). The Roman law Lex Julia issued by Caesar Augustus (d. A.D. 14) stated that a wife had no right to bring charges against her husband when he committed adultery. However, a wife who committed adultery was punishable under patria potestas, often resulting in her execution. Similarly, among the Hebrews adultery was defined in terms of woman’s marital status, not a man’s. Women’s unequal treatment was also evident in not having the right to speak in public. The rabbinic oral law said it was “shameful” to hear a women’s voice in public (Berakhoth). Homer had Telemachus rebuke his mother Penelope for speaking in public. He told her, “speech is only for men” (The Odyssey). The Greek playwright Sophocles (d. 406 B.C.) wrote, “O women, silence is an adornment to women” (Ajax). In 215 B.C. the Roman men were upset when women gathered in the Roman Forum to ask that the Oppian Law be repealed. In response, Cato said, “Could you not have asked your husbands the same thing at home?” (Livy, The Founding of the City).

Jesus Gave Dignity and Freedom to Women
One could cite many more examples of how women in the ancient world were denied freedom and dignity. This was the world that Jesu entered. And how did he respond? His interaction with women shows he rejected the ancient-prejudicial beliefs regarding women.

When a woman with an issue of blood touched his garment, he was not shocked; nor did he think he had now become unclean. Instead, he told her, “Your faith has made you well” (Mark 5:34). He honored women when he taught them theology. He told Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in me shall never die” (John 11:25-26). He taught Mary in the Mary-Martha account (Luke 10), and he also taught theology to the Samaritan woman (John 4:9-29). As a result of this incident, his disciples “marveled that he talked with a woman.” They knew Jesus had clearly violated the Rabbinic Oral Law, which said, “Let the words of the Law be burned rather than committed to a woman . . .” (Sotah), and Hebrew men in Jesus’ day were also taught, “One is not as much as to greet a woman” (Berakhoth).

All three Synoptic Gospels mention that women followed Jesus. Such behavior ran counter to the ancient practices concerning women, but Jesus did not chide them for their behavior. And just after Jesus’ rose from the dead he told the women who had come to the open tomb to go and tell his disciples he had risen from the dead (Matthew 28:10). John’s Gospel tells us that Peter and John also came to the open tomb. So why did Jesus not tell them to go and tell the other disciples? Why did he choose the women to tell his male disciples? The answer is not hard to see, especially when one remembers that he so often came to the defense of the deprived and oppressed. In choosing the women to tell the disciples, he in effect brought to mind his own words, spoken on another occasion, “But many who are first will be last, and the last first” (Matthew 19:30).

Jesus also rejected the ancient idea that adultery was determined by a woman’s marital status when he said that whoever looks at a woman with lust in his heart has already committed adultery (Matthew 5:28). The marital status of a woman was irrelevant. Sex outside of marriage violated God’s will not a man’s property, his wife.

Christianity Implements Jesus’ View of Women
As apostolic Christianity spread, it gave women freedom and dignity unknown to the ancient world. It did this not only by baptizing and admitting women to the Lord’s Supper–equal to men–but it also gave them leadership roles. St. Paul notes that Apphia “our sister” was a leader in a house church in Colossae (Philemon 2). In Laodicea there was Nympha who had “a church in her house” (Colossians 4:15), and in Ephesus, Priscilla was one of Paul’s fellow workers (Romans 16:3). Phoebe was a key female leader in the church in Cenchreae, where she was a deacon (not deaconess) and a leading officer (Romans 16:1-2). Paul also said Euodia and Syntyche “labored with him in the gospel . . . and the rest of my fellow workers” (Philippians 4:2-3).

Christ’s influence had numerous other effects that benefited women. Unlike the pagan Greco-Romans, the early Christians valued baby girls as much as boys. St. Paul commanded husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25). Women obtained bridal freedom by being able to accept or reject male suitors. In A.D. 374, the Emperor Valentinian I (a Christian) repealed the old patria potestas law that gave the husband the power of life or death over his wife and family. And in time even the veiling of women ceased. In India, the British in 1829, influenced by Christian values, outlawed suttee (widow burning), and in China, with the efforts of Christian missionaries the cruel practice of binding the feet of young girls was outlawed in 1912.

With these revolutionary changes for women, one is reminded of one scholar’s poignant words, “The birth of Jesus was the turning in the history of women.” Another has noted, “Whatever else our Lord did, he immeasurably exalted womanhood.” Yet neither Christ nor the early Christians ever preached a political revolution. Rather, it was Christ’s example that his followers reflected in their relationships with women, establishing their dignity, freedom, and rights to a level previously unknown in any culture. To be sure, given the sinful nature of human beings, there were times that some erring Christians ignored or even violated the standards Christ and his apostles accorded women. But in time the freedom and dignity that Christ bestowed on women continued to unfold in the Western world. Thus, one can unequivocally state that women have attained the greatest amount of freedom and dignity where Christianity has had the greatest presence, and they have attained the least freedom and dignity where Christianity has had little or no presence.

(used with permission from American Vision. authored by Alvin J. Schmidt, PH.D.)

 Men and Women in Ministry: The Meaning of Submission

“Submission” (Greek., hupotasso) carries the implication of voluntary yieldedness to a recognized authority. Biblical submission is appropriate in several relational spheres: (1) the wife to her husband (Ephesians 5:22-24); (2) children to their parents (Ephesians 6:1); (3) believers to the elders of the church (Hebrews 13:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:12); (4) citizens to the state (Romans 13); (5) servants (employees) to their masters (employers) (1 Peter 2:18); (6) each believer to every other believer in humble service (Ephesians 5:21).A. Misconceptions about the Nature of Submission

1. Submission is not grounded in any supposed superiority of the husband or inferiority of the wife. See Galatians 3:28; 1 Peter 3:7.
The concept of the wife being the “helper” (Genesis 2:18-22) of the husband in no way implies her inferiority. In fact, the Hebrew word translated “helper” is often used in the OT to refer to God as the “helper” of mankind. Surely He is not inferior to us! Rather, this passage means that (1) the husband, even before the fall into sin, was incomplete without his wife; (2) the husband will never reach his full potential apart from the input of his wife.

(2) Submission does not mean a wife is obligated to follow should her husband lead her into sin.
The biblical principle that we owe obedience to God first and foremost applies to Christian wives as well. If there must be a choice between obedience to God and obedience to the state, God is to be obeyed
(Acts 5:29). The same would apply in a marriage. However, as Susan Foh has pointed out,
“This qualification of the ‘traditional’ concept of wifely submission does not mean that the wife has an excuse to follow her ‘better judgment’ when she disagrees with her husband. The wife’s submission to her husband is qualified by God’s commands, not her own preferences, opinions, or even expertise.”

(3) Submission does not mean the wife must sacrifice her freedom.
(4) Submission does not entail passivity. See Proverbs 31. Note especially the emphasis on her initiative, creativity, tireless industry, etc. There is no biblically prescribed “personality” for wives, anymore than there is one for husbands. Husbands who exercise godly leadersgip can be introverts and wives who submit can be extroverts.
(5) Submission does not entail silence.
Many mistakenly think a wife is unsubmissive if she ever: criticizes her husband (constructive criticism that is lovingly motivated and corrective in nature is not inconsistent with godly submission)
makes requests of her husband (in particular, that her husband and family act responsibly in private and public; submission of the wife is not an excuse for sin or sloth or sloppiness in the husband)
teaches her husband (cf. Proverbs 31:26; Acts 18:26; it is not inconsistent with godly submission that a wife be more intelligent or more articulate than her husband; on a personal note, I’ve propably learned more from my wife than from any other living soul).
(6) Submission does not mean the wife can never do anything for her own benefit or for the benefit of others or that she should never become involved in activities or ministries outside the home. See Proverbs 31. “It does mean, however, that she ought never to do anything which would be detrimental or harmful to her husband or that would cause her to neglect her primary ministry of helping her husband {Proverbs 31:12}”

B. Identifying the Essence of Submission
(1) Submission is the disposition to honor and affirm a husband’s authority and an inclination to yield to his leadership. John Piper puts it this way:
“{Submission} is an attitude that says, ‘I delight for you to take the initiative in our family. I am glad when you take responsibility for things and lead with love. I don’t flourish when you are passive and I have to make sure the family works.’ But the attitude of Christian submission also says, ‘It grieves me when you venture into sinful acts and want to take me with you. You know I can’t do that. I have no desire to resist you. On the contrary, I flourish most when I can respond creatively and joyfully to your lead; but I can’t follow you into sin, as much as I love to honor your leadership in our marriage. Christ is my King.'”
(2) Submission is a commitment to support one’s husband in such a way that he may reach his full potential as a man of God. This may involve several things:
making the home a safe place, free from the sinful influence of the world
striving to be dependable and trustworthy (Proverbs 31:11-12)
providing affirmation and encouragement
building loyalty to him in the children (differences of opinion about ciscipline should be settled in private, away from the children, lest she be seen as taking sides against her husband)
showing confidence in his decisions

C. Submission when the Husband is an Unbeliever
See 1 Peter 3:1-7.
(1) Submission does not mean she must agree with everything her husband says.
1 Peter 3:1 indicates that she is a believer and he is not. Thus she disagrees with him on the most important principle of all: God! Her interpretation of ultimate reality may well be utterly different from his.
This indicates that submission is perfectly compatible with independent thinking. The woman in this passage has heard the gospel, assessed the claims of Christ, and embraced his atoning work as her only hope. Her husband has likewise heard the gospel and “disobeyed” it. “She thought for herself and she acted. And Peter does not tell her to retreat from that commitment” (John Piper).
(2) Submission does not mean giving up all efforts to change her husband.
The point of the passage is to tell a wife how she might “win” her husband to the Lord.
Strangely enough, Peter envisions submission as the most effective strategy in changing the husband.
(3) Submission does not mean putting the will of one’s husband above the will of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Peter in no way suggests she should abandon her commitment to Christ simply because her husband is an unbeliever. This wife is a follower of Jesus before and above being a follower of her husband.
(4) Submission to an unbelieving husband does not mean a wife gets her personal, spiritual strength from him.
When a husband’s spiritual nurturing and leadership is lacking, a Christian wife is not left helpless. She is to be nurtured and strengthened by her hope in God (verse 5).
(5) Submission to an unbelieving husband is not to be done in fear but in freedom. See verse 6b.

(Copyright 2007 Enjoying God Ministries.)

Confessions of a Recovering Feminist

Confessions of a Recovering Feminist, by Courtney Tarter
When we think of a feminist we can all probably think of a person we know, or know of, who typifies the feminist ideology. There are all types of fixtures of feminism ranging from Presidential candidates to evangelical scholars to college students–and I am one of them. Prior to conversion I was the stereotypical Generation Y feminist– anti-marriage, anti-child rearing, and corporate ladder hopeful. After conversion I sang a slightly different tune, although held onto many of my previous ideals regarding marriage and settling down. I simply masked it with a missions/ministry focus, content to be the single girl on a mission to save a third-world country for Christ. What I did not want, or think I needed, was the idea that my changed life ment changed priorities. It was not that I needed to find a husband or chuck any career aspirations, the problem was that I thought feminism was an outside of church issue, at least the conservative church that I belonged too. I had no notion that my heart, at its core, was fighting against the authority of God in the Scriptures, and still does have a lot of change left to be done to it.

I may have moved out of the militant feminist camp, but I most certainly have been a part of one too many male bashing conversations in a dorm room and coffee shop with my girl friends. What we must understand about feminism is that it did not originate in the wake of the women’s liberation movement of the 1970’s. And the mother of feminism is far older than Ms. Magazine and her friends. Feminism started in a garden in the Middle East thousands of years ago. Feminism is at the very heart of our fallen nature, and manifests itself in many different forms.

Recovering from feminism must first start with an embracing of the Gospel of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Only then will we see the roots severed because we will be clothed in the humility of Christ, who willingly submitted himself to the Father on our behalf. For older women it will mean embracing and modeling femininity, motherhood, and marriage in a Titus 2 way. For younger women it will mean knowing the godly women in our congregations better than we know the celebrities on late night television.

Feminist ideology is not simply relegated to the brash Gloria Steinem types, or even the female executive with the corner office. Rather, feminism rises up in ordinary women in our congregations, homes, and in the least obvious place, the mirror. Feminism is in the core of our hearts apart from the saving work of the shed blood of Christ, and not simply because we are militant against male authority, but primarily because we are opposed to the greatest authority of all–our Creator. The feminist is not some abstract “out there” women. She is staring right back at us every morning when we put on our make-up.

If we are going to make any headway in the gender discussion, we must first admit that our problem lies much deeper than a woman filling the pulpit on Sunday morning, or stay-at-home dads. Our problem lies in the fact that there is no one righteous and we are all opposed to God–we are all feminists at heart. And we can’t wake up one day and decide to be a Proverbs 31 woman any more than a man can decide to lead like Christ. Instead of seeing our gender differences as mere cultural constructions we must first admit that there was something far greater going on in the Garden than we now realize, and when Creation fell, it was distorted. In creating man and woman differently, God was pointing to the beauty of the Trinitarian relationship, and the relationship between Christ and His Church. The fact that we fight against it reveals our depravity even more.

Many times we are so busy looking for the woman with the hyphenated name that we miss the woman who scoffs at a man for opening the door for her. Both of these actions are products of our feminist heart. My “recovery” from feminism is not about learning how to bake pies or a decision to be more feminine (though these are important and helpful things), it is about repentence. Repentence of my desire to be in control and to raise my fist against God’s created order. Only through repentence and faith in Christ am I, or any one for that matter, able to renounce rebellion and submit to the Lordship of Christ. It also means truly believing that God’s Word regarding gender, and everything else for that matter, is true. Recovery for many of us will mean a reversal of the way we approach women in our congregations. It is no wonder why so many young women don’t desire motherhood when what they often hear from older women is to “get your degree first and live your life,” acting as if marriage and children was the final stamp on the end of your life as you know it.

And when I still feel the judgment rising up in me when I see a young woman joyfully choosing marriage and a family over a college degree, I realize that I have a long way to go before this feminist is fully recovered. As I grow in my walk, ther is a great hope in the Holy Spirit’s promise to complete the work that Christ began (Phil. 1:6). From the time the first feminist (Eve) came on the scene, until now, we have been in a cosmic battle against the flesh and Satan because he hates the image of Christ and His Church. We await the final consummation of the good work that was started by King Jesus on Calvary. With the curse came the promise. Feminism was, and will finally be, defeated when the Seed crushes the Serpent (Genesis 3:15). And that’s good news for recovering feminists like you and me.

(You can find more of her outstanding observations on her blog In View Of God’s Mercy) @ http://www.cbmw.org


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