Saturday, May 22, 2010

Joyful Submission

Having been an abused wife, I cringe every time I hear or read that wives are required to submit joyfully to their husbands. In my mind it means to be joyful when I am humiliated by my husband, joyful when he orders me around, joyful when he mistreats me, joyful when my husband mistreats my child, joyful when he destroys my things, joyful when my husband threatens me. It is the ultimate in domestic abuse because it not only demands that wives both permit themselves to be abused—submit to abuse and abuser—and accept the justification husbands, pastors and church folk put forth to force wives to tolerate the abuse, it also demands that wives be happy—joyful—about being violated by their own husbands who promised to love and cherish them.

The fact that this is the experience of so many wives, leads me to examine whether “joyful submission” to one’s husband is biblical. Does the Bible ever command wives to submit JOYFULLY?

First, I look up the word “Joyful” in the concordance to see if it is ever connected to “submission.” Out of 25 occurrences, nearly all of them are about being joyful to the Lord for some marvelous thing He did. Exceptions are Esther 5:9, when Haman went home joyful because he thought he was promoted, Ps 113:9 when the barren mother has children (and is rejoicing in the Lord), and 2 Cor 7:4 when Paul is joyful in tribulation. Unless one concludes the teaching of “joyful submission” is talking about abused wives being joyful when their “Christian” husbands bring them tribulation, it is an entirely man-decreed doctrine that tells wives to leap for joy as they dump their brains down the garbage disposal and rush to allow the very thing they know will ruin their family. It is foolishness.

Picture it: When the husband overturns the table, dumping the pot roast, peas, mashed potatoes and apple crisp on the floor, along with shards of glass from broken glasses and plates, all doused liberally with water and milk, all because he thinks there is too much salt on the peas, the wife is to submit joyfully. Exactly HOW does that look? Will she be singing Amazing Grace or There is Power in the Blood? But that is being joyful to God and will likely provoke her husband to whack her across the mouth.

Perhaps a John Piper moment is what they mean. “My dear husband, I love you very much and joyfully submit to you. I am so sorry the peas were oversalted. I will joyfully make sure they are salted just right in the future. (as if anyone could guarantee that!) I am so sorry to have caused you such distress. What would you have me do now? Shall I clean the mess off the floor or cook you another dinner first? I will gladly do whatever you want.”

Gag me. What a syrupy bunch of hogwash. And why do the husbands who make such messes require their wives to clean them up?

God never asks wives to submit joyfully to their husbands. To say that He does, is to say that He demands that wives grovel at the feet of their husbands and be joyful at their own humiliation. This is a picture of a subjugator and his vanquished foe, not of a love relationship. It has no place in a marriage that is to be a symbol of our loving sacrificial Christ and the reciprocating church.

There is not a single verse in the Bible telling wives to submit to husbands who mistreat them. Slaves are told to submit to harsh masters, I Peter 2:18, but wives are NOT told to submit to harsh husbands. In fact, husbands are told to not be harsh to their wives. (Col 3:19, NIV)

Sapphira buried her brain with the excrement and agreed with her husband to lie to God about the proceeds of the sale of their property. She didn’t even do something that was “clearly” sin, like group sex, as Piper taught. She told a “little white lie” and God held her accountable with her life.

The demand that wives submit joyfully is a demand that wives put their blessing on being mistreated, and even sin joyfully because it isn’t “clearly sin.” BOTH THESE are wrong. While we are to “bless those that persecute us, bless and curse not,” we are never to put our blessing on the sin of persecution, nor on sin. Joyful submission is blessing the sin, because anytime a wife is required to submit against her better judgement, and then pushed to be joyful about it, there is sin involved on the part of the husband.

When husbands love sacrificially and make decisions WITH their wives instead of for them or in opposition to what wives think is best, wives ARE submitting to their husbands, and they don’t have to be told to do it joyfully.

Even worse, it is HUSBANDS who are told to be joyful with their wives. Ecclesiastes 9:9a “Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity.” Once again, a command or recommendation to husbands has been twisted and misconstrued to apply to wives.

We should be hearing, “Husbands sacrifice joyfully for your wives, for that is genuine love and will bring out the best in your wives.”

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge," a novel about a wife who discovers traditional marriage advice doesn't always work. See


  1. poem about Islam but this poem could have been written about Christianity, by Alam [don't know the last name, from Iran Solidarity]

    Before they can dream any dreams

    There was a time when men were kind
    When their words were soft
    And women were wooed
    In the Meccan desert
    And the Afghani mountains
    There was a time when love was blind
    And the world was a song
    And the song was exciting
    There was such a time
    And then it all went wrong

    For a psychopath, he came along
    He built up a gang an’ called them Believers
    He changed the rules, he changed the rites
    Our ancient goddesses he killed
    And put his allah in their place
    Love was outlawed and dowries installed
    And rich old paedophiles could marry a child
    No soft looks
    No tender hugs

    Now the Bearded Believers come at night
    With their dreams of paradise
    And they shoot to kill girls going to school
    And bomb female doctors and strangle dancers
    No woman’s allowed to live her dream
    Oh Muslim men have you no shame

    Muslim men are the guards,
    Women and girls their prisoners
    To be ploughed like a field
    A clod of earth at his command
    The mothers have suffered,
    The same fate and
    So the Stockholm syndrome rules their brain

    Where is the love, where is the honour
    Some degradations no soul can weather
    Don’t look up, don’t laugh out,
    Do not think, do not sing
    So each generation of girls’ souls killed,
    Their bodies covered up
    Oh Muslim men have you no shame

    You hypocrites, hiding behind
    That psychopathic creed
    Your youth are labelled apostates
    If they want to leave
    And them you kill
    Before they can dream
    Their own dreams

  2. Yeah, It's amazing how men add extra rules for women to follow, rules they don't see as applying to themselves.

    The Danvers statement is chuck full of sweet adverbs like joyfully and adjectives like beautiful and loving to make the bitter words of male dominance go down a little easier.

    You know. A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down.

    They can't just say submit. They have to flavor it with a sweet sounding word like joyfully.
    They can't just say the "the husband's leadership". They have to say the husband's "loving and humble" leadership to soften the bitter pill they are trying to sell, the pill of - Men rule over women, period, end of story, get over it and submit you lowly woman.

  3. Jane,
    You are right. With the exception of the specific references to things pertaining to Muslims, the poem could be about Christians. And some lines that point specifically to Muslims, still relate to Christians.
    For example:
    "You hypocrites, hiding behind
    That psychopathic creed
    Your youth are labelled apostates
    If they want to leave
    And them you kill
    Before they can dream
    Their own dreams"

    Christians use a different way of killing. It is called shaming, blaming, back-biting, and refusing to associate with another Christian who has rejected their brand of Christianity or who has been grievously sinned against, as in the case of women and children who have been abused by husband and father.

    And Christian wives are allowed only 1 dream--that of serving a husband and children. That of domestic slave. But to hear the complementarian writers tell it, it is a GLORIOUS dream.

    Yeah, right. If it is so glorious, I wonder why men aren't clammouring to be slaves to their wives.

    There is still a time when Christian men are kind, when their words are soft and they woo women. That is when they are dating/courting. After the wedding reception, the deception is over, and they get down to the business of dominating and ruling.

  4. Mara,

    "They have to say the husband's "loving and humble" leadership to soften the bitter pill they are trying to sell,"

    So well stated!

    Isn't it ironic that they work so hard to get over half their membership to be slaves to the other half? They think if they can get women to be slaves willingly, then the men are not "Lording it over" their wives. They seem to be ignorant of the fact that their doctrine DOES Lord it over wives, and causes husbands to disobey scripture and Lord it over their wives.

    And that spoonful of sugar to make the bitter, gut-eating medicine go down. And we are supposed to be so joyful at being thus ruined. AMAZING!

  5. Waneta, et al.,

    go to my blog and read my latest on Gold, it is relevant to the 'distortion' teachings of religion/ which is Contrary to faith/belief in Christ Jesus. I KNEW there was a strong connection somewhere between the almost truth but slightly bent taught on marriage in churches--and how our culture is where mammon is concerned,

    we are to Serve, be submissive/to Jesus, in that MEEKNESS, but Satan uses that, distorts it to enslave us to him, etc., and it really does take a lot of prayer, discernment, reading the Word, we wrestle not with flesh and blood,

    but it's really Hard when those distortions are so much in the church culture--because the Church and Marriage-Family are the two places that are Supposed to be a Refuge of Love, NOT ABUSE, NOT RAPE, NOT CHILD ABUSE, NOT CONTROLLING TO DESTROY ONE'S SOUL,

    at the same time there is in the world the Rebellion [what I was caught up in] and that isn't the answer either--and I believe the enemy works in the false church to steer disillusioned people, women in particular To those 'rebellions' who are there waiting [spiritual realm] so the two really are related,

    leaven of pharisees and leaven of Herod.

    Anyway, go to the blog, the Hierarchy, Pyramid and Gold, of ancients and in our system and culture today, is in fact, Egypt,

    these 'submission' teachings are in line with the Pharaoh 'gods' worship of ancient Egypt, the HOUSE OF BONDAGE,

    and then Babylonia, they are related. The fastest growing religions in our world are the ancient Mesopotamia ones including Mayan [the serpent] and Islam, which means Submission.

    What is surprising though, is just how much of our Culture, our Economics, the whole Hierarchy--all ties back, to those religions/cults.

    I think, that is what we are seeing in the Apostate church today, culturally speaking--and it I think will get worse,

    it is Vital, for women, to really press in to read the Old Testament and New, to see how God treated women, widows, wives, that HE is not the God of abuse,

    or misogyny. The abuse of children is the worship of Molech, under that 'authoritarian' model. [that are some that are deceived but some of it I do believe is the poison of Babylonian and Egyptian 'gods' in the church culture that got in through the love of mammon/sin].


  6. "it is Vital, for women, to really press in to read the Old Testament and New, to see how God treated women, widows, wives, that HE is not the God of abuse,"

    So true, Jane! God is NOT an abuser of women, nor an abuser of children. Again and again He set up limits on abusers.

  7. While I agree than men are tempted to abuse their position of authority (because they don't understand what authority is from God's perspective), Ephesians 5 is clear: "wife be submitted to your husband like for the Lord" but it is also clear about this: "husband, love your wife like Christ loved the church and gave his life for her". Should we all submit joyfully to the Lord? Yes. Is the Lord abusing his church? No.

    Not controlling his anger (or ever worse, taking pleasure to abuse his wife) is a sin. Sin should be denounced and if the sinner doesn't repent, he should be treated as an non-believer. If a christian wife can't leave in peace with his (acting) non-christian husband, is she bounded by marriage? No.

    There is no place for abuse in the scripture. But submission should be joyful, like we should joyfully and voluntarily submit to Christ. There is no need to oppose the two.

  8. "There is no place for abuse in the scripture. But submission should be joyful, like we should joyfully and voluntarily submit to Christ. There is no need to oppose the two."


    Actually, the way complementarians teach submission, there IS need to oppose the two. Comp teaching is that a wife is to "submit, even if she disagrees." Now that "submission" is actually coercion on the part of both church and husbands, and obedience on the part of wives. That they insist that a wife is to obey joyfully is a perversion of scripture and MUST be opposed.

    The husband is NOT Christ. We do joyfully follow Christ, who is sinless. But God doesn't make that demand concerning husbands. "Joyful obedience to husbands" is a man-made doctrine.

    I just watched the movie "Sleeping with the Enemy" again today. The abusive husband expected his wife to always have a smile on her face whenever he was looking at her, to always agree with him with a smile.

    That whole concept is EVIL! It is adding to scripture. The Authority/obedience doctrine also adds to scripture and takes away from scripture as well. Husbands are commanded to love sacrificially, NOT lead/boss/be the authority.

    Furthermore, the whole concept is unnecessary. Notice they do not teach husbands to joyfully sacrifice for their wives. No, the pressure is on wives to either convince themselves their husband's decision is best or to fake it.

    When husbands are loving their wives properly, the whole "joyful submission" notion becomes a joke. The picture in Ephesians 5 and other passages is of husband and wife consulting one another and making plans and decisions together. No one inflicts their will on the other, yet both work for the satisfaction of both. To do that, each must be honest about their thoughts and preferences. Each must do their best to find a solution that addresses their own concerns AND the concerns of their spouse. There is no dictator/obedient soldier relationship that would cause anyone to suggest that one of the spouses should not only yield and obey, but do it joyfully.

  9. Jane,
    I am still considering the concept of money and the church. Mark Driscoll said a church should aim at bringing in the men, and that when you have the women alone, you have nothing. It seemed he was interested in the male pocketbook.

    I can see that the love of money is the motivation in some churches, but have a hard time agreeing it is there in all churches.

    On the other hand, I come from a background where the pastors were not paid, where they made their living doing whatever they chose, and their pastoring was extra. The congregation may take a "love offering" now and then, but it was not a salary.

    On the other hand, at one point I became aware that those in church leadership positions do think about the number of people in their congregations. Many of those people are transfers from other churches, which means no new souls are won for Christ.

    Often the focus of churches is self-entertainment. (with a little service or outreach work on the side.) This entertainment requires money. The better the entertainment, the more people will come to a particular "church" and presumably part with their money to pay for all the activities the church wants to do, and to also pay the pastor a higher salary.

    Yet, the bottom line seems to be a greed for power. The money is wanted because it usually brings power, influence, wealth, (which brings power, influence, and respect).

    So I still am not sure which is the major motivation, money or power. And I have a hard time believing that the love of either applies to all pastors or church fellowships. Some are actually genuine (I hope.)

    Still mulling it over.

  10. (I'm the anonymous poster from May 30th)

    Maybe the words don't have the same connotations in your mind than in my (my first language is French).

    Are you saying that the scripture ask a wife to submit to her husband but that "joyful submission" is a man-made doctrine?

    Submission to someone, even where abuse in not in cause, is not necessary pleasing. Joyfully submitting to Christ means, for the wife, following his directions, which includes submission to his husband.

    If people are confusing 'joyful' with 'cheerful' then that's a different issue. When Paul ask to always be joyful, even during hard times (Phil 4:4) that doesn't mean that it is hard and that no tears are ever shed.

    When a husband doesn't listen or care for his wife (like Christ joyfully and voluntarily gave his life for the Church) the covenant between him and his wife is broken. A woman submit to her husband because she is submitting herself to the Lord. If her husband is asking (or behaving) as something else than a son of God, she needs to submit to Christ and leave his husband in his sin.

    If I take the decision that my family needs to move to a different city and that, after many *real* discussions with my wife that doesn't agree, I still think that this is the right thing to do, we should move. If my wife starts to make my life impossible after the move, she isn't submitting herself to my guidance. There is no submission if it isn't done within the joy of the Lord. That doesn't mean that she should act like she is really happy to have move, but she should be "cooperative" (for lack of a better word).

  11. Note on Men-in-church=Money-in-church.

    This is an untruth. It is documented, somewhere, that women are bigger givers than men.

    I can't back it up myself, but my friend Lin at coffee trader - News&Views has told me this is so. And she has worked in church offices to see. this. So I want to denounce this untruth. Men are NOT the biggest supporters of the church. Women are.

    Driscoll just really likes men and thinks women exist just to serve men and so uses this B.S. to continue to raise men up above women.

    I tried to find the place she told me this on the Equality Central Forum but couldn't find it.

  12. On some things God has been showing me,

    but first, Mara, yes women give more [even historically] but the lure to cater to men AND their sins in this evil apostate church [what my husband says is Man's Church, not God's church, and he is unbeliever so if He sees it, that's pretty bad], but the lure is for Political Power--dominion and the whole super apostle [false prophet & beast] lie.

    It is Egyptian, the worship of 'gods' on the pyramid/hierarchy with men placing themselves [and a few women God has shown me] as Pharaohs or 'gods', it goes with the secular setting up of the beast,

    false prophet, anti-christ, beast.

    So that's why there has been the catering to the sinful lusts of men, rather than reproving the works of darkness, both men and to women actually, and I'll get to this now,

    on the submission, two things,

    let me address the twist LIE of joyfully, we are to be submissive to Jesus at all times, we are Also to be in TRUTH, to fake joy, is a LIE, it's putting on a LIE, God will NOT honor that, Jesus says, if a brother sins against you, that includes husband, you are to confront, if you do not, you are enabling their sin AND you are actually submitting to Satan, not to God. You cannot serve two masters, you cannot have fellowship with darkness and light at same time, you either are one or the other, this submission lie doctrine, that has taken Part of a truth, and twisted it, to serve Satan, in more ways than one, is that it leaves out Holiness, and Following Jesus, not man.

    One, Jesus yes obedient to death, WITHOUT SIN, we have men today who are demanding wives to Sin and then saying thou should submit. This is a teaching of the anti-christ, we are not to sin. The problem today is that sin has been so watered down that many don't realize they are sinning.

    That is why it says, submit AS UNTO THE LORD, that means, submit as unto the Lord doing RIGHT, not Wrong,

    but there is another meaning, next reply...


  13. the other meaning,

    where it talks about women submitting to your OWN husbands, go back and look at what else it says, the part that is and has been really neglected, because it sheds Light on what this really means,

    right After it says women submit to your OWN husbands [notice the own], do not plate hair and gold and the rest--then be like Sarah and the Holy Women of Old who adorned themselves with quiet spirit, etc.

    That part, is where the key is, in Roman times, women [like today] served the 'lusts' of all men, society, standards, the sex goddess, so Paul, Peter said, submit to your OWN husbands, not the standards of the heathen society, and be Holy in adornment, not like sex goddesses in temples serving the SEXUAL LUSTS OF MEN. You are to be Chaste, Pure and Obedient to God,

    you are to be Separate from THE WORLD, UNSPOTTED,

    IF you husband does not obey the word, your submission to GOD, not by word by by your HOLY LIFE, will be witness to Him, and like the representation of Sarah, who lived in a time where Pharaohs who took women at whim, women were nothing but sex chattel, SHE obeyed Abraham and FEARED GOD, and therefore God protected her, this does not mean that she submitted to sin. She also stood up to Abraham once and said God judge between you and me, because she was obeying God. That is a woman who fears God,

    we are not to Fear man, but Fear God.

    Men have taken it upon themselves to be God, many men that is, and that is not what those scriptures mean. My husband who is not only an unbeliever but hostile to Jesus, is always trying to lure me to worship him, to compromise and for while there I was doing that thinking I was obeying Jesus,

    WRONG, I was making my husband a 'god'. The part where is says a woman who fears God is not afraid with sudden calamity, this is because this is a woman who is quiet before the Lord, in prayer without ceasing, Obeying HIS HOLY DEMANDS, and if she is persecuted then she is blessed, she suffers Because she is living for Jesus and obeying Him,

    not because [this is how it should be] she is giving in to husband's sinful whims, and enabling his sin and leading the children to hell with a bad example.

    The teachings today are evil, I suggest, women go back and pull up books written by the Holy Women who were married to unbelievers in the early America, and dump these lies and don't even entertain them,

    the fact is clear, men, most of them, in today's apostate church worship mammon, that right there, says a lot, they worship themselves, perilous times will come,

    they do not humble their selves, Any man who knows Jesus wouldn't dare Think to Insist on his so called rights to be served, any one who reads the word of God and reads Paul's testimony should see that--these liars, wolves today are worshiping the lies of flesh,

    do not join them. I joyfully submit to Jesus, I do NOT joyfully, submit to Satan,

    there is a huge difference. The issue today, is that there is too much focus on marriage, and not enough, on what it is, to be a Disciple and to be Sanctified, [not fake pretense] but true transformation,

    knowing Jesus should drive us to our knees and our DUTY as HE said, was to be Servants, the fact that men today are obsessed [and their women who are bound in the whole fertility goddess lie/deception, with gold and beauty and sex] with being Served,

    that is so anti-Christ, it's not even funny.


  14. JPR,

    "Are you saying that the scripture ask a wife to submit to her husband but that "joyful submission" is a man-made doctrine?"

    Yes. I am also saying if you insist on moving against your wife's will, you are sinning against her. There are a few exceptions, like if she is too ill to make good decisions, but that is not the context of your question.

    The notion of requiring joyful submission is to stop wives from doing "resigned" submission. In other words, husbands want their wives to act happy about what they hate, so the husbands don't feel guilty. This is about lifting accountability for sin from the shoulders of husbands and transferring it onto their wives. If wives do not show their distress, husbands can then be released from the responsibility of their poor decisions and sinful behavior. As Jane pointed out, this is requiring wives to act out a lie, (or to convince themselves of a lie so they can actually believe it.)

    To say a wife is to submit joyfully is to apply the joy in persecution to the wrong context. A husband is to love his wife. He has made vows that he will cherish her. when he fails to keep his vows, is unrepentant, and blames his wife for not cooperating or for making his life difficult, he has broken his vow before God to love and cherish her.

    I challenge you to find even one verse where you are told to take authority over your wife, or to make the final decision. It doesn't exist. Instead, you are told to do the opposite.

  15. Waneta,

    If I understood correctly, you accept that the scripture ask a wife to submit to her husband, but at the same time you write: "I am also saying if you insist on moving against your wife's will, you are sinning against her".

    Humbly, I must admit that I fail to see what could mean "to submit" if it doesn't imply that a wife will sometime have to 'comply' with a decision from her husband. Again, this doesn't have to be done without respect. The "leadership" role doesn't come with a license for tyranny (like Mark 10 teaches). If you could explain what you understand the scripture means when it ask wife to submit, that would help.

    You wrote: "[joyful submission] is about lifting accountability for sin from the shoulders of husbands and transferring it onto their wives". I'm sorry, I don't agree. In fact, I can't agree at all. Can this doctrine used for that purpose? Definitely, but that's an abuse of the doctrine. The fact that a doctrine can be abused does not have an incidence on its validity.

    Your next to last paragraph talks about a husband that fails his vows and is unrepentant. I must reiterate that this is a different issue: sin must be treated seriously, everyones' sin. I do see a lot of frustration in Jane comments, and given what I can read between the lines, I can understand where she's coming from (I think).

    From what I can understand of your writings, the real concern is the fact that churches are going too easy of men's sins rather than the real definition of submission. From where I come, husbands have a big tendency to disengage from their leadership role and leave their wife to assume it. That's also a recipe for a disaster, and womens aren't well served by that situation.

    You wrote: "I challenge you to find even one verse where you are told to take authority over your wife [...]".

    There are 2 types of verses: the one that talks to men and the one that talks to women.

    For men there is 1 Corinthians 11:3 "Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God"

    Then, there are these verses in Ephesians that talks to women (verse 22) and talks to men (verse 23)

    Ephesians 5: 22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 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. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

    As Christ leads the Church, so are husbands asked. And as church as to follows Christ's direction, so are wifes asked.

    Again, nowhere this means that sin of ones are to be tolerated by others. As 1John says over and over: if you are not loving your brother, you have no part with the Lord.

    In Him


  16. JPR,
    The verses you quoted do NOT tell husbands to lead their wives nor to take authority over them. That is the bottom line. If husbands insist on being the authority over their wives, that is sin. Jesus expressly said that we are not to rule others, nor lord it over others. And there are many verses that say the same thing. "Servant leadership" is an oxymoron which was coined to hide the fact that it is actually "lording it over."

    Consider your example: "Wives submit yourselves to your own husbands as unto the Lord." This is written to WIVES, not to husbands. If husbands take from this that they are being given the right to rule their wives and their wives must comply, that in itself is distorting scripture and is sin. No matter how nice, how "kind" the husband thinks he is being to his wife, to even think he is entitled to have things his way is still sin. Why are husbands refusing to do the submitting that Eph 5:21 requires of them? Why so much focus on wife submission? Could it be lack of love for his wife? Why not focus on his OWN responsibility to submit to his wife?

    If you take the verse that tells wives to submit to mean that husbands have lordship rights, then why not use the same method of interpretation on the verses to husbands? "Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her."

    Wives could extrapolate from this (just as you do from the verse to wives) that a husband is always to sacrifice for his wife--always. So she can ask anything she wills and he must comply because he is commanded to love her so much he will sacrifice himself for her. Therefore, wives are always to have their way and husbands are always to serve their wives--even if it kills the husbands physically, mentally, emotionally, pyschologically. So if you think you are to move, and your wife disagrees, you are required to sacrifice your wants for hers. She is only told to submit, while you are told to sacrifice--even to death.

    If you don't want your reasoning to be used in the verses that are for you, you better stop using that type of reasoning in the verses that are for others.

    REal submission is both husband and wife yielding to one another. Neither complies. Neither orders. Neither takes authority over the other, because the other has the right to take authority over the first as well.

    I Cor 7:4, is the only passage that speaks of power or authority between husband and wife, and it is spelled out as an equal power. Just because the husband has the stronger sex drive does not mean that he controls both bodies. His wife has just as much authority over his body as he has over hers. If she does not want him to touch her, he better keep his hands off. And he better start loving her the way she wants to be loved instead of how he imagines she wants to be loved. If you want to be argumentative about this, and insist that the person with the strongest drive must be catered to, how are you going to handle cases where the person with the strongest sex drive is the wife? Are you going to tell the sexually disinterested husband to submit to his wife? I thought not. So your reasoning is not about making sure no one goes out and sins sexually; it is about making sure the male has a place of preeminence and superiority.

    "Submitting one to another in the fear of God."

  17. Waneta,

    Words must have been abused a lot in the church(es) you've been into as how you seem "to charge" them (as-in: to have them supporting some concepts) doesn't fit what the scripture does.

    Authority & submission have no correlation with "rank" and especially not with "value". God the Son submitted himself to God the Father and that definitely does *not* imply that the Son is lesser than the Father.

    I don't take from Eph 5:22 than the husband have authority over her wife, I take that from Eph 5:23. The interpretation of 5:22 & 5:23 is given by 5:24.

    To "lead" implies to have an "authority". If I refuse my role as the leader of my wife, I'm not playing the role Christ wants me to play and I'm dishonouring Him and I'm not being a good 'image" of Himself.

    What Eph 5 tells us is that married couples are actually living images of the relationship Christ has with his Church.

    Eph 5:23 tells me that I can't be selfish in my decisions as a leader and that love should inspire every decisions I take and every action I do in relation with my wife. That implies dying for her (as the Christ did) and that also implies, as the Christ still does, make decision, provide any support needed and provide all the direction that is required. "I shall build my Church" Christ said, he is the leader and the authority of his Church (as he is the head of the Church). I'm asked to play toward my wife the role that Christ plays toward the Church (so I should be a loving leader, a loving authority).

    You wrote: "If you don't want your reasoning to be used in the verses that are for you, you better stop using that type of reasoning in the verses that are for others." Well that's absolutely *not* the type of reasoning I'm doing (I actually read v22 & 23 at the light of v24).

    If you can't think of another type of reasoning than this one that could lead to the same conclusions it only means that either you are not acting in "good faith" (that's not my hypothesis) or the teachings you have received were really completely wrong (more likely). Nobody serious about the scriptures takes one verse, empty it from its content and play with the words to come to his own ends. No, that's not what I'm doing, not what I'm teaching and not even something I tolerate.

    Sin destroys everything, you can't evaluate the quality of a disposition by looking at how it "looks" in presence of a unrepentant sinner that just doesn't care. Any Christian disposition will look absurd in these kind of situations. If my wife just ask me to fulfil her "caprices" (whims?) she is sinful and if she doesn't repent, we are in the same situation that I describe earlier with the sinful/wrathful husband that abuses his wife: he has no part with the Lord.

    How sexuality enters this discussion is beyond me. The purpose of 1Co 7 is to protect the Corinthians from the risk of sexual immorality (almost the entire epistle is about that). This has nothing, I repeat, nothing to do with submission & authority. If you ever heard something like that in a church it is very sad and I'm sure that the Lord wasn't happy to hear that.

    Who has greater physical strength, more sex drive, bigger intelligence, capability of bearing children, higher salary, or whatever the "characteristic" you want, this kind of attribute has nothing to do with authority & submission.

    The Lord attributed different "roles" in this living fable we're into and that's the only reason why they exist. Mutual submission does not "destroy" these roles.

    I'm curious how you interpret Eph 5:24 and I'm even more curious how you define submission. I'm pretty confident that we don't have the same definitions and certainly not the same 'applications' of these concepts.

    with all respect and love,


  18. JPR,

    I really do not have the time, nor the energy to pursue this further. I think I made myself clear, that the verses to wives cannot be used by husbands to claim they are to lead their wives or take authority over them, any more than the verses to husbands can be used by wives to claim that they are to always have their way.

    I am suspecting that the subjection of wives is passive--they just are--rather than something they are commanded to do. Charis suggested this on her blog, (For lack of time, I won't look up the particular post.) The active commands are italicized. When read without the italics, the verses about wife submission are passive. Whatever the husband does, the wife is subject to. It either causes her distress or helps her grow. She can choose how to react to what her husband is inflicting on her. She can pretend to be joyful in the midst of her pain, or she can stand up to her husband and fight for what is right. I support the latter.

    I hope this answers your questions.

  19. Waneta,

    Thanks for your time and patience. I think that I know understand better the heretic doctrines you're trying to fight.

    I can say that I agree with your last post: the verses to the wifes don't have to be used to derive things for the husbands (that's why Eph 5:23 is where I take my "task definition" as a husband and this is where I see that I should be a leader).

    I also agree that "to be joyful in the midst of her pain" isn't the right definition of submission and however teaches that isn't aligned with the scriptures.

    What you're really fighting against isn't authority & submission, but it's the abusive forms of these doctrines that teaches men that they can do whatever they want, their wifes will have to swallow and follow.

    Now that I understand it a little more, I'll pray for your fight.

    If I can give you an "advice": when you meet people like me, it would be better to insist on the importance of identifying and condemning the husband's sins instead of trying to bring down the doctrine of authority & submission. It will greatly help your auditor to understand what you're really after (I think).

    My wife often says, in French: "soumission n'egale pas paillasson" She's playing with the assonance of 'soumission' and 'paillassion". A crude translation would be: "Submission does not equal doormat". That's really aligned with the scriptures.

    May the Lord shed light around you and be blessed & glorified in your works.


  20. JPR,
    You have it half right. I have no problem with submission. I do, however, have a problem with husband leadership, husband servant-leadership, and husband authority, which are human additions to scripture. The doctrine of husband authority is of itself both abusive and non-biblical.

    The scriptural doctrine is loving self-sacrifice from husbands and submission from wives. There is no mention of authority or leadership for husbands. There is no biblical mention of final decision-making power or responsibility for husbands. There is no mandate on wives that they must comply. That is obedience, not submission.

    Perhaps my newest post "Good for the Goose-Good for the Gander" will help explain it better.

  21. "Joyful" in this context...

    I keep remembering DPRK State Media, with all the North Koreans "Dancing JOYFULLY with Great Enthusiasm before Comrade Dear Leader."

    And how in 1984 the Newspeak word for concentration camp was joycamp.

    I've been burned by women in my past. Severely burned. The idea of the Widdle Submissive Chwistian Pwawie Muffin Wifey is both alluring and repulsive. Alluring in that a subhuman doormat can't hurt me again. Repulsive in that I could never have any respect for someone like that, and in the absence of respect I KNOW I'd try to throw my weight around.

  22. Anonymous,
    Interesting perspective--to feel both allured and repulsed. And that the disrespect you would feel would foster attempts at controlling her.

    I am sorry you were burned by women. That hurts. I hope you can find healing and learn to trust and love again. Been there, done that with getting burned by the other gender, who thinks I did something horrible to him when I finally left, even though I tried to tell him in many different ways that I could not live with what he was doing.

    Yet, I have to work to get my mind around your reaction to a submissive doormat woman. We are told that is what men respect, that it brings out the best in them. Why would it bring out the worst in you?