Thursday, February 25, 2010

A parable of a Woman and her Children

Now the children of a certain woman spent most of their days quarreling: fighting over toys, taking toys from one another, yelling at and insulting one another, calling each other nasty names and even hitting each other. Being tired of the chaos, the woman called her children to her and told them that since she loved them both dearly and loved them equally, she had come up with a solution to stop their fighting and bring peace and love into their home. She would assign a role to each child. The children were to follow their roles the same as they would if they were putting on a play.

Since the six year old daughter was the younger, her role would be to always have whatever she wanted. Any toy her brother had, she could take it away and play with it. When she tired of it, she could choose to give it back to her brother, put it where it belonged, leave it on the floor, or hide it so her brother could not find it. Any time she wanted him to do something, he had to do it. The woman commanded her daughter to be kind to her brother, but the primary rule was that the daughter was to have things her way.

Then the woman turned to her son and commanded him that he was to willingly offer his sister any toy she desired, he was never to take a toy from his sister, and he was to do anything she told him to do. Being 7, he was the elder, so it was his responsibility to see to it that his sister was happy. If he complained about his lot, he would be punished. If he retaliated against his sister he would be punished, too. No matter what his sister did to him, he was to endure it patiently and keep giving her his toys or anything else she wanted.

Now I ask you, would anyone in their right mind consider this woman to be a just parent? Wouldn’t we all conclude she is evil?

Yet the commandments of the woman in the parable are comparable to the commandments the complementarians claim God has made in regard to husbands and wives.

John Piper indicated a wife should endure her husband’s mistreatment for a season, until he smacked her one night. THEN she could ask for help. Bruce Ware claimed a husband only hits his wife when she doesn’t give him his way. (IE: she refuses to give him the toy he wants, so he hits her.) Ware says the hitting is not acceptable, but his blaming it on the one who supposedly wouldn’t give up her toys makes it clear he thinks otherwise.

How can we as Christians judge the mother in this parable to be evil, yet judge God, who the complementarians claim does the same thing, to be good?

Frankly, if that is really what their god is like--unjust and a liar--I want nothing to do with him.

The God I serve is a God of justice, truth, and of love for ALL His children, female and male alike. He does not lie, nor does He distort truth. He does not set one gender up to rule and debase the other, nor does he dispise and make one gender a lifetime slave to be mastered by the other. And He certainly does not set half his children up for mistreatment at the hands of the other half of his children, and claim that mistreatment is actually equality of persons but differences of roles!

The God I serve loves each of us equally and demonstrates this by clearly telling all Christians to submit to one another, including husbands and wives. Those who convince themselves otherwise have twisted the scriptures.

If the woman in the parable is evil for inflicting evil on her children, is it fair to say that Piper and Ware and others who do the same are also evil?

Or do we give them a pass because they are popular "Christian" leaders who are so "nice?"

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

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Bruce Ware’s "Trinity" an Effort to Legitimize Husband Authority and add to Submission Tyranny

Bruce Ware’s book, “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Relationships, Roles, and Relevance,” published in 2005, is an obvious attempt to redefine the trinity in order to support his belief in a husband’s authority over his wife. Since Ware has publicly stated that it is a wife’s non-submission that causes her husband to beat her, his conclusions in this book rouse my skepticism.

In an article Bruce Ware writes:
The relationships in the Trinity exhibit so beautifully a unity that is not sameness, and a diversity that is not discord. So, the kind of community that is the Trinity, and hence the kind of community God wants for us, is one that values both a unity in purpose and character and direction, but also a joyous distinctiveness in personal expression. Finally, the most marked characteristic of the trinitarian relationships is the presence of an eternal and inherent relationship of authority and submission. The Son always submits to, obeys, and carries out, the will of the Father, and when the Spirit comes, as Jesus says, He seeks always to glorify the Son. Authority and submission, therefore, are good because they are expressive of God! That is, it is God-like to express rightful, upbuilding authority; and it is God-like to express humble, assisting submission. Embrace rightful authority! Embrace rightful submission! Seeing this helps us understand so much better why God set up the authority and submission relationships he has, in marriage, in the home, in the church, and in society. The Persons of the Godhead delight in their eternal authority and submission roles, and we, too, ought to grow in embracing, not resisting, this same God-given structure.
Note first his statement “hence the kind of community God wants for us, is one that values both a unity in purpose and character and direction.” While this statement is correct as long as he is referring to salvation and growth in Christ, Ware jumps to the assumption that only one person of the trinity is involved in determining that purpose, character and direction. His whole argument is based on his assumption.

It would be just as valid to assume that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as individual beings agree together on purpose and direction, and that this agreement is part of their character, instead of a result of hierarchy.

To say that Jesus came to earth to die for us because it was the will of the Father, cheapens what Jesus did. It suggests He did Not love us all that much, and has instead an obligational love more like that of a babysitter or a slave.

On the other hand, to say that according to John 1:1-3, Jesus is the One who spoke the world into existence, and created us, (“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God, the same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”) and therefore He was the One who wanted to redeem His creation, makes much more sense. In fact, since Jesus is the One who is our advocate with the Father, why not conclude that the Father would have written us humans off if it had not been for Jesus pleading with the Father to come into agreement with Him on our behalf?

Why not conclude (assume) that the three persons in the trinity decided together that humans needed a redeemer—AFTER Jesus plead with the Father for us. Since Jesus loves us with a deep, abiding and sacrificial love, and was the one who created us, he OFFERED and BEGGED to come redeem us and the Godhead conferred together how this would be accomplished.

The scene in the Garden of Gethsemane was the human side of Jesus shrinking from the pain, shame,and taking on of our sins that He had already volunteered to do out of love for us, and battling with the divine side of himself to continue with the course of action He had already purposed to take. It was NOT God the Father ordering Jesus to die for us and Jesus submitting to that. It was the Father and the Holy Spirit reminding Jesus of their joint plan of redemption, and that they would see Jesus, the human, safely through. Jesus submitted to the Father's reminder of what He had already asked to do.

When we get our theology right, Ware’s conclusion “The Persons of the Godhead delight in their eternal authority and submission roles, and we, too, ought to grow in embracing, not resisting, this same God-given structure” ends up with zero validity.

In Matthew 28:18, NIV, Jesus said “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given unto me.” KJV uses the word “power.” Strongs Concordance # 1849 says the word comes from 1832 in the sense of ability, and further spells out the meaning as “privilege, i.e. force, capacity, competency, freedom, or mastery, (the latter as in “magistrate, superhuman, potentate, token of control), delegated influence:—authority, jurisdiction, liberty, power, right, strength.” If all authority in heaven and earth has been given to Jesus, how could the Father have authority OVER Him?

In addition, Phil 2:5-11 makes it clear that Jesus is equal with the Father, and that every knee shall bow to him, “of in heaven and in earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (I left out words in italics.) If every knee in heaven shall bow, and every tongue confess, does that include the Father’s knee and tongue?

In Romans 8:34, Jesus is standing at the Father’s right hand, interceding for us. It appears that Jesus is the one who begged to redeem us.

Not only does Jesus already have all authority, and all knees will bow to Him, but Jesus is the One the Father listens to. Jesus is the One who gets our prayers heard and answered. Without Him, the Father wouldn’t listen to us at all. So who has the authority? Who is submitting to Whom?

Apparently, the Father submitted and submits to the Son. That turns Ware’s doctrine on its head.

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