Friday, June 5, 2009

Itching Ears, Part 4 (Wives guide the house)

Those who will only choose a pastor who would declare that husbands have some leadership or authority role over the wife, thus satisfying their itching ears, insist that if the husband is to be the head of the wife, then he is to be her leader or guide. But in part 3 we saw that Jesus is our leader. His leadership involves going before us, being our example, sacrificing for us. If a husband is using submission abuse or any type of domestic violence against his wife, or is not doing Jesus's style of leadership, his directions will be in opposition to Christ’s directions. His wife cannot serve two masters. She will either serve Jesus, or serve her husband. Besides, Christ's type of leadership is not the leadership the itching ears crowd wants. These men want to be her coach, mentor, or guide, at the very least. And quite a few of them not only want to control as many of the details of her life as they can, they also want to threaten, demean, and harm her, while exalting themselves.

So let’s look at what the Bible says about “guide.” Paraphrase: For the husband is the guide of the wife, as Christ is the guide of the church.

Matt 23:24-25 “Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.” This actually sounds like a description of an abuser! Abusers make a big fuss about minor things, (gnats) but they ruin their own lives (swallow a camel) by allowing themselves many self-indulgent privileges and excesses while they keep demanding the most selfless behavior and labor from their wives—which is a type of extortion. Jesus pronounced "Woe" to people who act like that.

John 16:13 adds to the study. “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.” It is the job of the Holy Spirit to be our leader and guide, but the church is telling husbands to fill that role. This looks like sheer arrogance to me. These men with itching ears are actually usurping God’s place in the lives of their wives!

Ouch! Romans 2:19-22 rebukes the Jews for thinking they know God’s will and are “confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself?...Thou that abhorest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?” And the Itching Ears crowd would indeed abhor idols, yet set themselves up as the god of their families, thus committing sacrilege. Here again, the Bible does not look favorably on those who think they are so knowledgeable about God’s will, that they can teach others. (the context and tone suggests bossing others, or talking down to others.) It seems folks who boast of their own importance tend to not follow God’s will themselves. Sounds just like the abusers.

I Timothy 5:14 turns the whole guide/leader argument on its head. “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.” The WOMEN are told to guide their homes. (the NIV uses the word “manage”). For Paul to tell Timothy to instruct women to guide their homes, and then to tell men to overrule their wives, would be ludicrous. Why tell wives to guide their homes at all, if their decisions are to be shot down by their husbands?

But wait. Perhaps the concordance will shed some light on this verse and it will mean something different from what I think “guide” means. “Guide” in the New Testament has many different meanings. For example, in John 16:13 the Spirit of Truth guiding us means “to show the way.”

However, according to Strong’s Concordance, the “guide” in I Timothy 5:14 means “to be the head of (ie: rule) a family: --guide the house.” Wait a minute! This says the WIFE is to guide her family, and is to be the head of the house. This time, unlike the “head” in Ephesians 5, the “head of the house” is in our language, English, and it is spelled out to mean “rule.”

I am surprised by this. I had no idea I would find that wives are instructed to be the heads of their homes. If I ever heard of it, I totally forgot it. How could I have forgotten something so important??

Did the men with itching ears know this? How about the pastors they chose to tickle their ears? Do the pastors know about it but purposely keep silent? Surely in all their studies they ran across this. Are there other verses that support this one?

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel," a story about a woman who grapples with her husband's demands that she submit--no matter what.
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  1. >>His wife cannot serve two masters. She will either serve Jesus, or serve her husband<<

    This is such a critical point, Waneta, that it cannot be emphasized enough. I am so glad you brought this out.

    It is all too easy for wives who are following traditional role religionist /complementarian doctrine to fall into the trap of "husbandolatry"

  2. >>I Timothy 5:14 turns the whole guide/leader argument on its head. “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.” The WOMEN are told to guide their homes<<

    You are pointing out many things worthy of our attention. I would add to these the parable Jesus told, concerning himself, about going to a far country and giving to his servants (both His maidservants and his manservants) "authority."

    There are numerous examples in scripture of women exercising great authority independently of men or husbands--even in contradiction to what their husbands known will would have been--yet received praise for exercising that authority.

    Deborah rebuked a male authority,Barak, for disobeying her command, and his regard for her authority was so great, he promised to obey her only if she would accomany him while he carried out her orders.

    Jael, without consulting any male authority executed her husband's ally, Sisera. She is famous for that act which delivered God's people from oppression.

    And of course most everyone knows about how Abigail defied her brute of a husband Nabal and was commended for it.

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  4. There is a huge amount of scripture that you have missed out. The bible is VERY clear, the wife is to guide the house, the husband is the head of the house. The author of this blog has alligned herself with Satan, perverted scripture, please everyone who reads this do not be taken in by this woman.

    "Why tell wives to guide their homes at all, if their decisions are to be shot down by their husbands?" - We're not all as stupid as you not to marry a Christian man who loves you and listens to you. I think this whole blog is disgusting and you should shut it down.

  5. Dear Anonymous,
    Thank-you for your input.

    I feel compassion for you. It appears what I have written hits closer to home than you would care to admit. The fact that you stoop to name calling and say the blog is "disgusting" says you have either failed to rightly divide scripture, (perhaps because of pressure and abuse from your husband and/or church) and/or that you are hurting in your own marriage and are much too close to this issue to see it clearly. I pray God will show you His truth.

    You are correct, the Bible does say wives are to guide the house. If you look this up in Strong's concordance, you will find that the word is actually referring to being the head of the house. This is for Wives!

    You are also right that scripture says husbands are the head of the house. Notice that the ONLY place husbands are told to rule their wives is in Esther, where a gentile king makes this decree. In Ephesians 5, husbands are told to love their wives as Christ loved the church. This means they are to be a living sacrifice, giving themselves up for their wives. What is a wife to do when her husband fails to obey God's commands? This blog is dealing with that issue.

    One in four women experiences domestic abuse in her lifetime, and this includes Christian women. So look around in your church. Which wives (25% of them) dealt with or are currently dealing with abuse from their husbands? It may even be your good friend, who does everything she can to hide the fact that she is abused.

    Are you aware that Christian husbands who choose to abuse their wives also use scripture to justify their behavior? They also use name-calling, (your use of name calling clues me in that you are used to being called names. I am soo sorry! No woman deserves that!)

    Don't be frightened. Although the Word of God is sharper than any 2-edged sword, it is also the truth, and it sets us free.

    God bless you as you take steps into the freedom of God's light and truth!

  6. "the wife is to guide the house, the husband is the head of the house"

    I must correct myself and also Anonymous. The husband is actually the "head of the wife," not the head of the house. Although "head" sometimes means "authority" in English, it does not mean authority in Greek. It carries the meaning of "source" or perhaps "nurturing source."

    The phase "guide the house" for wives, when you look up the original meaning of the word, actually means "rule the family."

    The phrase about husbands "rule well their own house," only refers to family by implication, and is not the direct meaning like the one for wives. A more correct interpretation may be "maintain the dwelling." If it means family, then children are mentioned twice, which would be totally unnecessary, since there would be no need for clarification.

    Jocelyn Andersen's post on Headship vs. Lordship clears up a lot of the difficulty. Jesus is both head (He came first, and He is our source of eternal life) and Lord (He guides and directs us, and even schools us at times. A husband, however, is the head of his wife (IE: Adam was created before Eve, and the husband is to be his wife's source of nurturing), but he is NEVER her Lord. Jesus is our Lord, and we have only 1 Lord. Head does not mean lord. The context of Ephesians 5 makes that clear by NOT telling husbands to rule their wives, and by TELLING husbands to love their wives as living sacrifices, and to give themselves up for their wives as Christ did for His church.