Monday, June 13, 2016

Feminism: Should Woman Submit To Man?

            When did we last hear a sermon in the church about wives submitting to their husbands? Sermons about husband loving his wife are in abundance, but sermons devoted to Christian wives submitting to their husbands…?  

            The church, existing in the feminist era, strives to be politically correct. But churches need to be biblically correct!  

            Should the wife submit to her husband in a Christian home? Who is the head of the Christian home – husband or the wife?

            In God’s creational intent, the woman may have been a sequel to man but she most certainly is an equal to man. Neither dominates the other; neither is inferior to the other within the context of God's creational intent.

            But God in HIS perfect wisdom has ordained a hierarchy in the Christian home. The husband is the head of the Christian home. This hierarchy should be unequivocally accepted.

            The wife is not the head of a Christian home, “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” (Ephesians 5: 22-24, NIV, Emphasis Mine.).

            The husband is compared to Christ and wife to the church. As Christ is the head of the church, husband is the head of his wife. Period.

            Moreover, when love (verse 25) and submission (verse 22) are being equated in Ephesians 5: 22-25, unjust domination of any form in a Christian household is forbidden.

            Christian feminists dilute the meaning of the word “submit” or “subject” as being ‘thoughtful and considerate’ or ‘to act in love’ toward one another! This interpretation betrays the biblical intent for this passage.

            The Greek word “hypotassō” - the root word for “submit,” renders the meaning of “submission to authority.” Here are a few other instances in the New Testament where “hypotassō” has been used:

            Luke 2: 51: Submission of Jesus to the authority of his parents

            Luke 10: 17: Demons being subject to the disciples (Demons cannot be “thoughtful and considerate” to the disciples and neither can the demons “act in love” towards the disciples!!!!)

            Romans 13:1: Citizens being subject to government authorities

            1 Corinthians 15: 27: Universe being subject to Christ

            1 Corinthians 15: 28: Christ being subject to God the Father

            Titus 2: 9: Servants being subject to their masters.

            Hebrews 12: 9: Christians being subject to God.

            In all the above instances, the relationship is pretty straightforward – it’s submission and not anything else.

            Wives cannot rebel or be resentful of their husband’s leadership in the family. Wives cannot compete with their husbands for leadership in the family. (A husband cannot be abusive, selfish or domineering.)

            Submission to authority does not include an utterly inactive presence in the family and agreeing to everything that the husband does or does not do. A wife can be totally submissive and at the same time participate in the decision-making process of the family. (Husbands ought to provide godly leadership, and be loving and considerate towards their wives while wives ought to joyfully submit to their husband’s leadership.)

            The Bible provides us with a few instances of feminism, where the husbands succumbed to their wives, who actively performed sinful deeds. A husband cannot be so considerate of his wife that he allows her to make all decisions, even the wrong ones.

            Always remember that the first man Adam was persuaded by his wife Eve to disobey God. King Ahab submitted to his [wicked] wife Jezebel to worship Baal (1 Kings 16: 31-33). The so-called wise King Solomon listened to his many wives and turned his heart after other gods (1 Kings 11: 4) and even sacrificed to Molech (1 Kings 11: 7-8).

            A dominating wife and an inactive husband are a clear recipe for disaster in a Christian household. Feminism will raise its ugly hood in the Christian home when the wife’s faith in Christ is inadequate. The wife who dominates her husband cannot be a mature Christian. The husband who submits to his dominating wife for the sake of peace and stability of his family will always be the victim of Satan’s evil scheme against the Christian household.  

            This then is the solution to any feminism infected Christian household. It’s not surprising that apostle Paul, who laid out the modus operandi of Christian household, concluded his letter with an exhortation to constantly fight Satan’s evil schemes, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” (Ephesians 6: 10-18, NIV).

            Feminism that destroys the Christian household does not spare the Christian church.

            Consider a church that apparently suppresses its women by mandating them to cover their heads (1 Corinthians 11: 5) and to remain silent (1 Corinthians 14: 34). Should the [spiritually-gifted] women of that church be utterly feministic and rebel against authority?

            Primarily, does the Bible mandate women to be silent in the church? No.

            Before we study 1 Corinthians 14: 34, which appears to mandate women to be silent in churches, we ought to have studied 1 Corinthians 11: 5, which says, “But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head” (Emphasis Mine).

            It’s sufficiently evident that Paul advises women to cover their heads. He does not prohibit women from praying or prophesying. Therefore, Paul did not mandate women to be silent in churches.

            If Paul did not mandate women to be silent in the worship service, he would not have contradicted himself later in the 14th chapter when he said that women ought to remain silent in churches. Therefore, we ought to study 1 Corinthians 14: 34 in the context of Paul’s letters.

            Paul has always been accused of being harsh towards women especially in their involvement in the worship service. But the very same apostle Paul speaks highly of women in positions of leadership in Romans 16: Phoebe (v2); Priscilla (v3-4) and the other women in the same chapter. 

            Therefore, the restrictive passages such as 1 Corinthians 14: 33-36 ought to be viewed as relating to local context of the Corinthian church than interpreting it universally to restrict women from speaking in any church today.

            Should women cover their heads today?

            Would God be more bothered about a head covered in a worship service than a heart that worships HIM in spirit and in truth? Obviously God is more concerned about the heart than the head (cf. Matthew 23: 25-28). 

            Could women be pastors and elders in the local church?

            1 Timothy 2: 11-14, 3: 1-7 & Titus 1: 5-9 and few other passages seem to mandate women to not assume positions of leadership in the churches, whereas we have other verses in the Bible such as Acts 2: 17-18 that seem to suggest that women can indeed participate in leadership positions.

            A church that prohibits women from being pastors and elders does not demean the womenfolk. Women in such situations could be actively involved in the ministries of hospitality, mercy and evangelism. If women are prohibited from teaching men, then women who are spiritually gifted could use their time and resources to teach other women.

            Creating chaos to divide the church is not an option for women who suffer these prohibitions. If your church prohibits you from assuming positions of leadership then so be it. God will provide you with opportunities to serve HIM from other situations.

            Role of women in the church is a fringe theological aspect, which we can agree to disagree. The concerned churches and the women should be gracious and not confrontational. As Saint Augustine said may we be charitable in our relationship with each other, “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

11 comments:

Sarah said...

I am not a feminist. I agree there is a hierarchy as established by God. May it always be there. But the struggle started from the beginning as claimed by Adam that , that the woman God provided was the problem. WAS Adam indirectly telling God that God's choice was wrong. As much
h as eve persuaded Adam, Adam had the freedom to say, no to eve. But he failed and blamed eve. It continues.

Also there are husbands who do not take responsibilities/god given position and abigails who rose up to the situation to deal with crucial moments.

Ephesiand . 5 vs 21 speaks of mutual submission out of reverence for Christ. We know paras and headings came later. So we have to read vs.21 along with vs 22.

If a husband loves a wife as Christ loved the church sacrificially , why wouldn't a wife love and submit to her husband. Just thinking....

Raj Richard said...

Hello Sarah,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

I had a dialogue with another friend who voiced his opinion almost on similar lines, so may I take the liberty to paste my response to him here...

This is what I said,

"A. That verse does not speak about husband submitting to their wives. It merely follows the previous verse, but since a sub-title has been inserted (which obviously is not inspired or inerrant) the reader mistakes verse 21 as a prelude to verse 22.

B. Submission is mandated of the wife, not the husband. Peter echoes the same, 1 Peter 3:
Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

C. If an interpretation mandates husbands to submit to their wives, then analogically Christ should submit to the church...this is tantamount to blasphemy"

Please let me know your response. Thank you.

Sarah said...

NIV bible notes is self explanatory.


A. We cannot exclude vs.21. In fact start from vs 18.

Jesus gave his life for the church and purchased her. His goal is to make her holy and to present her to himself as a radiant church Nd not to find fault with her though the church is still faulty. Vs.28 " in the same way..."She will remain faulty until the grand finale. I am not saying this to win the debate, but to make my point that submission is mutual.

B. Same as above.

C. On one level you do not accept the analogy of Christ and Church in accepting the wife in mutual submission, but in proving a point ,analogy is accepted.

I think we must look at the whole spirit of it rather than harping on the word submission.

Raj Richard said...

Sarah,

In fact, it is not only for the church that Christ gave HIS life, but Christ died for everyone.

But Christ's death is not a submission to the local Church.

The analogy of Christ and Church is with respect to the Christian marriage and when we speak about the Christian marriage, we ought to consider this analogy as a whole and not in part. In verse 21, Paul exhorts the Christians to be subject to the authorities in the church. But in v22, he brings in the Christian marriage, wherein he mandates that wives submit to their husbands.

Where in the Bible does it say that the husbands ought to submit to their wives? Nowhere in such an explicit manner.

But why are Christian women resisting submission? This is the question Christian women need to ask themselves. Please read 1 Peter 3 reference again.

Here is one final thought, the submission of a wife is not predicated on the love of her husband. I am stating this since I reckon you are implying that the wife would submit only if the husband loves her. This is incorrect.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Keep them coming. God bless.

Sarah said...

The wife should submit when she is loved and respected by her husband. The woman has no problem with that. But when the man demands even after disrespecting Nd dishonouring she has a choice to deal with the situation.
Both man Nd woman are made in the image of God Nd when the woman is dishonoured by the man , he not only violated her, but also the image of God. When man upholds the word 'submission' blatantly without love, I don't understànd t and what guides man.

Since you said I am incorrect, I have no more arguments. I hold my position.
When some men believe that, ' dead men bleed', nothing can be done.

I am right biblically.

Raj Richard said...

Sarah, you said, "The wife should submit when she is loved and respected by her husband." But please read the 2nd verse of 1 Peter 3:

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

This passage infers that the wife is married to an unbelieving husband. So the wife is called to submit to an unbelieving husband to win him over to the Lord. No conditions or strings attached!!!

I hope you remember that, in my article, I had said that there can be no unjust domination of any kind in a Christian household....

I am sorry to say that you are not right biblically!

Kim M. said...

Husband should obey their wives when appropriate. There is biblical evidence (the whole counsel of God) to support that; it has nothing to do with Eph 5:21.

ALL Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, (2 Tim 3:16). Therefore, we are not limited to Ephesians 5.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens (Ec 3:1). With that being said, there can be times and seasons in a marriage when a husband should "submit (obey)" the wisdom of his wife, and the Bible confirms that.

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. James 1:5

The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Pr 4:7

The Bible teaches that wisdom is a virtue that BOTH men and women should acquire. In other words, wisdom isn't just for wives seeking to be like the Pr 31 woman.

A wise man will listen and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel. Pr1:5

A wise man is he who listens to counsel. Pr 12:15

Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise. Pr 19:20

According to the lexicon, one of the definitions or synonyms for listen (shama 8085) is "to obey, be obedient." In other words, listening (8085) is something everyone should do - husbands included. Therefore, husbands should listen to (8085 obey) the wisdom of their wives when necessary, and there are examples of that in the Bible.

A virtuous wife "speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue." Pr 31:26

Abraham listened to the wisdom of his wife.

But God said to him, "Do not be so distressed about the boy and your slave woman. LISTEN (8085) to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned" (Gen 21:12).

Hannah's husband submitted to the vow that she made to the Lord (1 Sam 1:11, 21-23). This is especially relevant since an OT husband could lawfully cancel a vow made by his wife. Hannah's husband didn't do that; he didn't pull rank. Instead, he listened to the wisdom of his wife.

Xerxes listened to Esther's plea about reversing Haman's order to destroy the Jews (Es 8:5, 9:13). This is significant because after the king had signed and sealed a decree or given his permission for a decree to be signed and sealed , it was not to be repealed or revoked (Es1:19, Es 3:9-12). However, Xerxes listened to the wisdom of his wife and revoked the decree to kill the Jews.

Nabal was foolish. Proverbs really sheds light on that by listing the traits of a foolish person for us:

... fools despise wisdom and instruction (Pr 1:7b).

Do not speak to fools, for they will scorn your prudent words (Pr 23:9).

Therefore, we can conclude that Nabal "despised wisdom and instruction" because he was foolish, and that's probably why Abigail didn't discuss her plan of action with Nabal beforehand. As a wise woman, Abigail understood that Nabal would "scorn her prudent words." Unlike Nabal, David acknowledged and affirmed Abagail's capacity to " speak with wisdom, and faithful instruction." (Pr 31:26, 1 Sam 25:24-34) David listened to Abigail and decided not kill Nabal and the men in his house. What's the point? Nabal illustrates what can happen when a husband is unapproachable and unwilling to listen to the wisdom of his wife when necessary.

In conclusion, a VIRTUOUS wife can advise and instruct her husband when necessary, and Abraham, Elkanah and Xerxes understood that. Nabal was a foolish husband who didn't get it.

Kim M. said...

Concerning 1 Peter 3:7

A wife should obey her disobedient husband and try to win him to Christ. However, wives should not obey sinful instructions given by her husband (or any other leader).

If that disobedient husband is sinning against his wife and/or others, the Christian wife might need to go to her husband and RESPECTFULLY point out his sin. If her husband doesn't listen to her, she may need to employ the help of others depending on the sin (Mt 18:5, Luke 17:3).

Raj Richard said...

Hello Kim H,

Apologies for the delayed response.

I do agree that the husband should listen to his wife's wise counsel. There is no doubt about this at all. Having said this, nowhere does the Bible mandate the husband to OBEY their wives! So you may want to rethink on that statement of yours.

I also agree that the wife need not consent to the sinful instructions of the husband. Even when the husband offers a sinful instruction to the wife, the wise wife would know precisely what to do in order to NOT consent to the sinful instruction and at the same time WIN her husband over. That's the hallmark of wisdom.

However, none of this changes the mandate that the Christian wife ought to submit to her husband.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Kim M. said...

As you know, the Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew. In Genesis 21:12, God told Abraham (gave him a mandate) to obey Sarah concerning a very important household matter. God could have given the message directly to Abraham, but God chose to have Abraham obey Sarah instead.

12 But God said to Abraham: Do not be distressed about the boy or about your slave woman. OBEY Sarah, no matter what she asks of you; for it is through Isaac that descendants will bear your name. (New American Bible Revised Edition)

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+21%3A12&version=NABRE

The Hebrew word (shama 8085) used in Genesis 21:12 is defined as OBEY and listen OBEDIENTLY. Strong's Bible Concordance and the New American Standard Bible Concordance both define the Hebrew word (shama 8085) used in Genesis 21:12 as obey.

http://biblehub.com/lexicon/genesis/21-12.htm

http://biblehub.com/hebrew/8085.htm

Therefore, we do have a God-breathed, inspired example in scripture where God mandated a husband (Abraham) to obey his wife (Sarah).

Raj Richard said: However, none of this changes the mandate that the Christian wife ought to submit to her husband.

I agree. A wife should submit to her husband as long he's not instructing her to do anything sinful. Why? Because the Bible says so.

Raj Richard said...

Kim, I am simply amazed at your perseverance to sneak in the concept that husbands should obey their wives.

Your link http://biblehub.com/lexicon/genesis/21-12.htm says this...the implication of shama` (shaw-mah') is obedience, whereas the direct meaning is "to hear intelligently"
unto thee hearken
shama` (shaw-mah')
to hear intelligently (often with implication of attention, obedience, etc.; causatively, to tell, etc.)

This is your second link...http://biblehub.com/hebrew/8085.htm...shama is "to hear"
Strong's Concordance
shama: to hear
Original Word: שָׁמַע
Part of Speech: verb feminine; verb masculine
Transliteration: shama
Phonetic Spelling: (shaw-mah')
Short Definition: heard
NAS Exhaustive Concordance
Word Origin
a prim. root
Definition
to hear
NASB Translation
announce (2), announced (3), announces (3), completely (1), comprehends (1), diligently (1), discern (1), disregarded* (1), gave heed (2), give earnest heed (1), given heed (2), hear (270), hear* (1), heard (363), heard for certain (1), hearing (5), hears (33), heed (5), heeded (2), indeed obey (1), keep on listening (1), listen (226), listen attentively (1), listen carefully (3), listen closely (1), listen obediently (2), listened (52), listening (12), listens (7), loud-sounding (3), made a proclamation (1), make his heard (1), make their heard (1), make them known (1), make themselves heard (1), make your heard (1), obedient (1), obey (32), obey* (14), obeyed (21), obeyed* (5), obeying (6), obeys (1), overheard (1), pay heed (1), proclaim (15), proclaimed (6), proclaims (1), reported (3), sang (1), show (1), sound (2), sound* (1), sounded (1), summon (2), summoned (2), surely hear (1), surely heard (1), truly obey (1), understand (7), understanding (1), understood (1), witness (1).

So obedience is an implication and not a direct meaning...let's not play semantics here please...

Thanks nevertheless for sharing your thoughts...Appreciate it