Few subjects are so fraught with danger as the teaching that wives should submit to their husbands. There are numerous reasons for this. First, the church has played the whore with the world on this particular subject. Thus Christian women have been taught that Ephesians 5:22, Colossians 3:18, and I Peter 3:1- 6 are irrelevant to their lives as Christians. Second, too many Christian men treat their wives like dirt in the name of submission. Third, too many Christian wives really don’t want to submit, though they want desperately to look like they are. Thus hypocrisy reigns. Therefore Ephesians 5:22-33 and passages like it are often torn to shreds or ignored. What our Christian fathers took as obvious, has become the subject of scholarly debate, which often means the plain teaching of Scripture is obscured by various academic studies showing that the text does not really mean what it says. Scholars, and eventually pastors, throw just enough mud in the water so we cannot see what is plainly there. That way we can continue compromising with a clean conscience.
Here are some exhortations on submission I gave to my congregation in a sermon several years ago.
Read Pastor Jones’ exhortations here: Whose Daughters You Are
In Jennifer Wilkin’s post “Are Compatibility and Complementarity at Odds?“, she tackles a common error among conservative Christians: emphasizing the differences between Christians rather than the things that make us the same. When it comes to gender issues this is particularly dangerous. Just think about how an emphasis on gender difference plays out around the world in false religions and the cultures taught by them: women are oppressed, abused, disregarded, devalued… In the Bible, Adam’s joy was not just in the glorious differences between men and women, it was a joy in their sameness: “Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh.”
Was there order? Yes, “For Adam was formed first, then Eve.” (1 Timothy 2:13)
Was there difference? Yes, “For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.” (1 Corinthians 11:8-9)
Do these differences have widespread implications in life? Yes, but so does our basic unity as being God’s image in creation and redemption: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27) “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ… there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Let’s not treat friends like enemies to be reconciled! Our gender differences don’t erase our common humanity, and our common humanity doesn’t destroy our differences. In this way the multifaceted glory of God in creation and grace of God in redemption is manifest.
Read Jennifer Wilkin’s post here: Are Compatibility and Complementarity at Odds?
Deb Welch, blogger extraordinaire, has recently brought together her wonderful series on the need and work of women’s ministry in the church. An active member of the PCA, she has years of experience in the trenches of discipleship and has helpful insights for all of us. Her series is interspersed with theology, practical advice, and personal anecdotes. Enjoy!
Series on Women’s Ministry in the Local Church:
1. Women’s Ministry in the Local Church: Intro & FAQ
2. Women’s “Ministry”?
3. Ezers and Eves
4. Complementary Gender Roles: Personal Perspective
5. The Value of Reaffirming the Affirmations of the Danvers Statement
6. Perspective — Women in Combat
7. Titus 2 Women in Reverse: Naomi and Ruth
8. Vocation, Spiritual Gifts, & the Priesthood of All Believers
9. Women in the Church: Praying as Life-Givers
10. Women’s Ministry in an Old-New Way