Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Itching Ears, Part 13 (A Present Day Deception)

Today I heard a popular TV personage preach on deception. He said women who deny the headship of their husbands are deceived. This is not a rule I made up, he said, it is what GOD says. He went on to say that women who think their gut is telling them something is wrong with husband headship are deceived. He then proceeded to present human arguments that in every organization there always has to be a leader, that it does not work to have 2 leaders of an organization, etc. You all have heard the human reasoning. I’d like to know; since when does human reasoning override God’s word? Why didn’t he just quote scripture if God said it so clearly? Could it be it’s because the scripture he would have quoted is a figure of speech? Why else focus on the reasoning of men? Furthermore, he totally neglected any mention of the deception of husbands who think it ok to rule and abuse their wives, instead of sacrificing their desires for the sake of their wives. I confess, I felt driven to turn off the TV, so great was the assault to my ears and heart. Instead of teaching the true word, this preacher scratched the itching ears of his male listeners and told them exactly what they wanted to hear.

I kept thinking how deceived the preacher was. Did he not realize that God never told husbands to lead or to rule their wives? That instead God through Paul told husbands to love their wives so much that they would give up their own wants, preferences, & desires for the sake of their wives, like Christ did for the church? That Peter told husbands to HONOR their wives or their prayers would be hindered and cut off? Did he not realize that Paul told Timothy to teach young women to marry, bear children, and rule their households?

If this preacher is that deceived, can I trust the rest of his teaching? Will that be biased or skewed, too? Or is Satan content to just have won one huge area of doctrine that causes chaos, hurt and destruction to so many families who claim to be Christian?

A while ago this pastor’s wife and son told how the TV ministry of this pastor started. His wife wanted nothing to do with a TV ministry. She seldom watched TV, and she did not want to be so closely connected with it, nor have to be present on TV herself. Her husband was insistent that he should expand his ministry by making it a TV ministry. The couple was at a stalemate, so they agreed to pray about it. He prayed that God would change his wife’s mind, and she prayed that God would change her husband’s mind. The pair remained staunch in their original positions. Meanwhile, Pastor Husband checked into getting a station, and found he could break into TV much easier if he put it in his wife’s name since she was a minority. So that is what he did—without her knowledge or approval. His move forced his wife to be involved against her will. The fact that signing someone else’s name is illegal and/or unethical is another issue entirely.

It appears God blessed this man’s move, at least if you count the numbers. His TV ministry has grown to become both national and international, and his is a well-known name. His wife commented in a ‘boys will be boys’ tone that he has a tendency to roll over anyone who disagrees with him. I gathered that she was well squashed, although she tried hard to appear the supportive wife.

I have wanted to give money to one of the causes this man heads up, but do not feel right doing so when I consider his disdain for his wife’s input, and how he violated her as a person, and as his wife. If he rules his own family like that, I cannot in good conscience add my name to his organization because sooner or later, he and his entire group will be put on the carpet for other violations.

Toward the end of his message he said that those who attack other Christians are of the devil. Yet here he was not only attacking women and saying they are deceived if they believe anything other than husband headship, which apparently does not require submission on the husband’s part, but actually teaching the opposite of the word of God, which says a husband’s submission shows itself in servanthood. Consider Jocelyn Andersen’s study of headship on her blog, "Woman Submit! Christians & Domestic Violence." the June 19,2009 post entitled "I corinthians 11:3 Headship or Lordship?" Jesus is head over all, He is the capstone, as the top stone of a pyramid. There is not room for a second in command under him. Has Pastor Husband actually done word searches to see if what he is teaching is backed up by the original language? Has he never noticed that the context of Ephesians 5 clearly spells out what it means for the husband to be the head of the wife, and that hubby’s job description does not include boss, authority, leader, guide?

I would like to think Pastor Husband takes his stand in ignorance, but I cannot convince myself of that. And then I recall that my very first impression of him when I first heard and saw him speak, was that he is arrogant. Then I heard him tell husbands that they have no right to use the submission verses to abuse their wives, so I was ready to support him based on what he SAID. But after I heard what he DID, and that he still rolls over the opposition, and that he currently claims a rulership type of headship for husbands by requiring wives to set aside their strong sense of right and wrong, my original impression returned stronger than ever. One of the things I have learned the hard way is that I must evaluate people—especially men—based on what they DO, and not on what they SAY. And I MUST not trust them based on what they say, but must withhold trust until I find out how they behave. I have indeed found out what this particular pastor believes and practices. His wife tries to present a good front when she appears on TV, but I get the sense of a woman who has had more than her fair share of grief—because of her world-renowned husband.

My heart goes out to Pastor-husband’s wife. I know she knows her husband is controlling. But does she know that is abuse? I know she can feel the violation of her personhood and principles. But does she know that is domestic violence?

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. Please visit


  1. Very good point, Waneta.

    Women in the church are tired of getting rolled over.
    Some of them are leaving the church all together which is quite sad.
    But others are seeking out God's true heart towards women and finding that God doesn't have the same attitude toward them as the men (like Pastor husband you mention above) who claim to represent God.

    My prayer for every woman who has ever been in church is that they will be able to find the True God Who loves with kindness and tenderness and without any sort of a controlling, domineering attitude.

    God help us all to find Him as He is and not as false teachers want to portray Him.

  2. I agree with you Waneta that there is often a reprehensible gap between rhetoric and practice, and it takes time and wisdom to discern it.

    However, as you know we disagree about the Bible's teaching on headship: I think it does teach that the husband is head of the wife, meaning that he is responsible for leading her in a God-glorifying direction. I agree servant leadership should be the mark of the husband's relating to his wife, but I'm not agreeing that he should not be seen as head in the relationship. However, as you know, this is a big topic and probably not one to solve on a blog site!

  3. I need to clarify: I do believe the husband is the head of his wife--the Bible states this. Where I disagree with the above pastor is in the MEANING of "head." From my study I gather that "head" is talking of a provider and servant role. Most of the leadership is through example. There are places where wives are told to ask their husbands at home, so providing information/teaching could also be part of the husband's role as "head" of his wife, particularly in the time of the apostles when wives generally had not had training in the scriptures. But nothing is said about the husband's right to enforce his teaching, particularly not when it is self-serving.

    I am playing with the idea that the husband's role as head may be experienced by the wife as a kind of "secure foundation" which would provide her with a sense of safety if her husband practices integrity, has godly character, cherishes her to the point of making decisions for her best interest more than for his own. This would make a marriage be similar to the church's relationship to Christ. Just as Christ is the stablizing factor to the church, so is the husband to his wife--also helping her to turn her eyes upon Jesus for that sense of security which only God can give.

  4. Is it true that the word head in Greek, "kephale" actually means "source"? Like Christ is the source of life of the church, and the husband is the source because God created the man first?

    I know there is a lot of debate, but I see no one has responded to the "Responses to Christian Feminists" on the use of the word "kephale". Or is that not true?

  5. Anonymous,
    Yes, kaphale does not mean in the ancient Greek what it means in English. In Greek writing, when they meant "authority over" they used a different word. (BTW: there are at least 1-2 other languages where "head" does not mean authority. That fact was what clued someone in to check out what "head" meant in Greek.)

    In January, shortly before she died, I spoke with Catherine Clark Kroeger, who told me about the book she was about to publish. (I hope publication will go forward). The book contained ancient Greek art that was not well-known because it was thought to be so weird. It turns out their art explains their thinking. For example: one of the pictures shows that they think sperm comes from a man's head, travels down his spine, and comes out the usual way. In other words, they did think life originated from a man's head. Tie that thinking in with "the husband is the head of his wife" and it is very easy to see that Paul was likely speaking of a type of provision, life-giving, sustanence. When a person tests this meaning on Ephesians 5:25-30, husbands love your wives and sacrifice for them as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her (my paraphrase) it fits. In fact, it fits far better than "husbands take authority over your wives." Not only does one have to strain scripture to try to make the latter fit, one also has to go totally opposite to Jesus's own teaching of not exercising authority or dominion over others like the gentiles do, but rather if one wants to be great or chief, they should instead be a servant. Note, He did not say a leader-servant, or an authority-leader-servant. He said servant. The context indicates He is talking about a ministry where one gives up their own lives for the sake of ministering to others. Think Mother Theresa.

    Christians have twisted ministering into being the leader, being a "public servant," meaning one who makes the rules--supposedly to serve the public, but we find out more often than not, the rules they make are intended to serve themselves. Jesus said "no so among you" and "do to others as you would have them do to you." He taught against authority seeking among His followers. The passage to husbands agrees with that, and so does Eph 5:21, where all of us are told to submit to one another.

    Rereading your question: actually, one of the reasons the husband is the source is that woman came from man at the creation. Man came from Christ, who spoke him into existence, the incarnate Christ came from God, (of which He was also a part). This of course refers to I Cor. 11. Notice that I Cor 11, lists the heads of in proper order. First, Christ spoke man into existence. Next, woman came from man. Later, Christ came to earth from God. If you interpret this passage as authority over, Paul, who is usually so meticulous about having his lists in the correct order, would have had this one out of order. He should have said "God is the head of Christ, Christ is the head of man, and man is the head of woman," if the authority interpretation is the correct one. As it is, if "head" means "source" the order in I Cor 11, is correct.