Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Servant Leader: Doublespeak for CHIEF

Most Christians likely think the term servant-leader came from the Christian community as a biblical picture of what Paul specified husbands are to be toward their wives. But it didn't. The term came from secular society,, specifically the corporate world. “The term servant leadership is attributed to an essay written by Robert Greenleaf (1904-1990) in 1970.” Servant-leader is a business model that one third of Fortune 500 companies utilize to help the CEO and a corporation's leaders appear more caring and less dominating. See So Christians have latched onto the term to help husbands APPEAR more caring and less dominating. The truth is, both the CEO and the husband who claim to be a servant-leader, are wolves in sheep's clothing. Their purpose is to control the organization for their own gain, at the expense of the wife and the employees.

In the Christian community, the term is used to promote the idea that males are humble servants of their wives, even while they lead their wives, make the final decisions and generally take authority over their wives, frequently for the benefit of the husband. This humble-servant idea is promoted and spun to make illegitimate authority look godly and biblical.

Illegitimate authority? Yes. A husband's authority over his wife, according to Jesus, is illegitimate.

What does the Bible say about servant-leadership? Specifically, nothing. Nothing is said about leadership. However, plenty is said about authority and about being a servant.

The words of Jesus speak best on the subject. “25But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 26But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Matt 20:25-27 KJV
"25Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—“ NIV

Jesus hit the proverbial nail on its proverbial head. These men want to be the PRINCE and exercise authority or dominion over their wives. They want to be the first, the greatest, the CHIEF. They are not interested in being the leader, because a leader must first walk the path others are to follow, a path of service and genuine caring and love. They want to be CHIEF, so they can command their wives to walk a path they themselves never set a foot upon. And the only time they stoop to serve, is when they want to con her into believing they genuinely love and care for her, so she will stoop even lower to provide extra-humiliating service to the CHIEF.

Instead of servant-leader, as they want their wives (and even themselves?) to believe, a more honest term is “CHIEF.” And if they must include the word servant, the term should be in reference to the couple: “Servant-CHIEF.” Indeed, complementarianism teaches wives to be the servants and husbands to be the chiefs. Better yet, “CHIEF-servant,” since authority-husbands believe their will and their way always come first, while their wives are secondary at best.

But Jesus said it is NOT to be this way. When He said those who want to be chief must be the servant or minister, He was not referring to being the most important preacher or teacher. By “minister” He meant to serve the needs of the other. He was NOT referring to the “service” of leading. In His day, He was referring to the service of washing someone's dirty feet. In other words, doing the jobs that are so humbling that no one wants to do them. That could mean cleaning the toilet, wiping the urine-spattered floor around the toilet, cleaning the shower including the grimy oil ring off the tub, washing the dishes including the gross ones, being the passenger instead of the driver, scrubbing the bug, bird, and tar spatters off the car, changing the baby's diaper when poop has leaked everywhere. Being a servant also means watching the movie she wants to watch and giving her the working remote control most of the time while you cook dinner or do other household responsibilities.

Being a servant is setting aside authority, even the authority that is spun to make it appear as “loving servant leadership” and taking responsibility as a servant instead. That is what Jesus commanded. The only way to be a servant-leader is to lead by example—the example of being a servant. The example your spouse is to imitate. Husbands, it is time to imitate the examples of your wives, who have been the genuine SERVANT-leaders.


Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel" See A Mennonite woman fights to save her family yet keep her faith.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The End of the Long Winter

Something wondrous has been happening. A side effect that the CBMW did not consider possible as they pushed women underground, snowed on them and iced them forever into slavery and silence—or so they thought. But similar to how bulbs and roots gather strength in the winter and push out shoots and bloom when the time is right, and similar to how sap flows within trees while they appear to be dormant, so has the “sap” been flowing virtually unseen in the lives of a growing number of women. Women have been gathering strength to shoot forth and bloom and no weed-killer complementarians devise will shut them up.

While complementarians have been silencing women and forcing them to lives in the lowest level of the caste system, not allowing them to speak in churches, forcing them to remain with abusive, destructive husbands, the women have been studying the word and writing what they find. Gary Smalley once shared that although he began as a one-on-one counselor, he found that speaking to groups was more effective and reached more people, that video tapes reached even more people, and that writing books was the most effective and reached the most people. Without intending to, complementarians have kept lowest-caste, spread-thin women from doing the busy-work of pastoring, thus freeing them in the small time they have available to do the most effective work of all—write books.

Women from all over the world can “hear” other women “preach” via books, no matter where they live. Women are not limited to those in the local congregations; their work and outreach goes global.

True, complementarian male pastors also write books and their work goes global. But in their effort to silence women by hanging the most time-consuming work around women's necks and refusing them a pulpit, complementarians inadvertently directed women to the one door complementarians left unblocked—the most effective means of communication—especially for the small amount of time women have available to pursue their own interests—like communicating truth for women from God's Word.

So all these years, while women have been silent in the churches, the roots and bulbs have been growing underground, gathering strength and power to spring forth in glorious freedom in Christ.

Daughters have been prophesying—via books and blogs. Women and men have stopped hanging onto every word of the men behind the pulpits and instead are listening to the teachings in books and blogs, teachings that make far more sense than what was being taught from the pulpit, teachings that agree with what we know of the heart of God.
Joel's prophecy has become true and the power of God is becoming increasingly evident: “And it shall be in the last days, God says, that I will pour forth of my spirit upon all mankind, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.” Increasingly more daughters are prophesying, and a ground swell is growing, similar to the power of an avalanche or a tsunami, with the power to destroy the evil doctrine that is holding men, women, and the entire Christian community captive to that rotten and divisive caste system teaching that has been inflicted upon the church all these generations.

Praise God! Indeed, all things do work together for good to those who love God and who are the called according to His purpose. Rom 8:28. What the complementarians meant for evil, God meant for good—to bring freedom from oppression and a voice-heard-by-all to women.

The long winter is nearly over. Spring is beginning to burst forth.
Glory be to God.

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel" See A Mennonite woman fights to save her family yet keep her faith.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Keeping Women in Their Place

Women. Are they equal with different roles, or are they equal with a variety of callings as men are equal with a variety of callings? How does God see men and women?

We know Jesus chose a woman to be the first missionary to Samaria. And the first people she brought to Jesus were men. Was she outside her role to bring men to Jesus? If Jesus chided her for it, no one recorded that.

We know the risen Jesus showed himself first to a woman, waiting until John and Peter went away. And he commissioned her, too.

And Jesus did not rush to Martha's defense and tell Mary to hurry to the kitchen and do women's work instead of listening to the teacher like the men were doing. Instead, Jesus said what Mary had chosen would not be taken from her.

Looking at the life of Jesus, this idea of women's roles being limited by God to being servants to their husbands doesn't fit.

Perhaps the words of Paul in I Corinthians 12 will help solve the disagreement. Does the role that some say is for women only, make them of less value? How did Paul see the church?

I Cor 12:21-26: “And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour, and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need, but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it, or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.”

Reading that in “God's Word” translation: “An eye can't say to a hand, “I don't need you!” or again the head can't say to the feet, “I don't need you! The opposite is true. The parts of the body that we think are weaker are the ones we really need. The parts of the body that we think are less honorable are the ones we give special honor. So our unpresentable parts are made more presentable. However, our presentable parts don't need this kind of treatment. God has put the body together and given special honor to the part that doesn't have it. God's purpose was that the body should not be divided but rather that all of its parts should feel the same concern for each other. If one part of the body sufferes, all the other parts share its suffering. If one part is praised, all the others share in its happiness.”

What does this mean? Who are the more feeble or weak and who are the less presentable? Haven't complementarians indicated women are the weak and unpresentable? Women are NOT to be where they are seen, in front of the congregation. Instead, they are to take their places behind the scenes. And in spite of their behind-the-scenes positions, they are still equal to men in the eyes of God. Where they serve has no impact upon their value.

To make this better understood, consider which parts of the body are considered unpresentable or weaker, and which are “comely” or presentable, so they do not need special honor given to them? Aren't faces and hands the parts that are seen in public? So eyes, ears, noses, mouths, cheeks, etc are those that get behind the pulpits. And armpits and anuses are the parts that remain hidden, along with digestive systems, thyroids, adrenals, the endocrine system, livers, etc. So complementarians have said God decrees that males can be faces and hands, while females are the more disgusting and dishonorable parts. Ok, that is well and good. All parts of the body are equally needed.

So why are the anuses, armpits, endocrine systems, digestive tracts and livers complaining? Could verses 24a to 26a have the answer? “God has put the body together and given special honor to the part that doesn't have it. God's purpose was that the body should not be divided but rather that all of its parts should feel the same CONCERN for each other. If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts share its suffering...” 

Could the whole problem with complementarian rules be that one part of the body is suffering and the other part is “rubbing their nose in it?” In body-speak, the anuses are in pain over the sandpaper that is being used as toilet paper, and the hands and faces are replying, “That is how God ordained it to be. It is your role.” The armpits are in agony over the antiperspirant that is being used, and the hands and faces are replying, “Submit to us! Stop rebelling, you Jezebel! That is the way God ordained it. Stop trying to take the role of the hands and faces.”

Complementarians are saying if a person does not have penis and testicles, they cannot be part of the hands or face; the Spirit only gifts those with breasts and vaginas to do anus and armpit type work for the kingdom. Many women are saying they have NOT been gifted to be an anus. They have been gifted to be a mouth; God made that very clear to them. But those who claim they are the comely ones, whether they are or not, insist the Spirit does NOT gift females with mouth-gifts.

So who does one believe? Those who say women can only be anuses, armpits and guts, or those who say God has called them to be feet or hands or mouths? Does anyone have the right to tell another what God did and didn't say to them? What if the men in Samaria had told the Woman at the Well, that of course Jesus would not have said those things to HER, a mere WOMAN, and ignored all she told them? Samaria would never have had a sweeping turn to the real God.

How many people have not come to God, have not been able to connect the dots to be able to come to salvation through Jesus because men have forced women to be anuses, armpits and guts? And on top of that, those same men used sandpaper, harsh chemicals, and poison to keep the anuses, armpits and guts “in their place,” resulting in hampering the message of the vessels God had chosen to proclaim His message, His way, a way that the hearers could understand and to which they could relate.

Is the church today--the people who have accepted Jesus as Savior--half the size it would have been if women had been respected, if their cry of pain had been heard, and if women had not had their wings clipped so they could not proclaim the gospel as God had called them to proclaim it?

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel" See A Mennonite woman fights to save her family yet keep her faith.

Friday, March 14, 2014

When Differing Roles Become Inequality

There is an on-going difference of opinion between egalitarians and complementarians about the equality of men and women, or the lack thereof. Complementarians argue that men and women are equal, but have different roles.  Egalitarians argue that the differing roles ARE inequality.

Some questions for all to ponder: are slaves equal to their masters?  Are children equal to their fathers? 
What causes people to be equal or unequal?

We are told to not be "unequally yoked together with unbelievers," II Cor 6:14-18, so we know inequality is possible. In the case of unbeliever with a believer, the inequality is in the choices each would make. If Paul intended the will of the husband to be sovereign, why bother to tell Christians to avoid marrying unbelievers? "Can right and wrong be partners? Can light have anything in common with darkness? Can Christ agree with the devil? Can a believer share life with an unbeliever? Can God's temple contain false gods?" As long as the husband is a Christian, his wife would be obligated to obey her husband and these questions would not apply. The wife would have to agree with her husband whether she wanted to or not.

However, the above passage makes it clear that Paul expected wives to have choices, to be involved in decision-making. If it was only a token giving of her opinion and then the husband could make the final decision, this command would still not apply. Paul expects wives to have the freedom to choose for themselves, to have an equal say and to not continually set aside their own wishes to obey their husband instead. 

So what does make people equal? Is it merely stating that God says men and women are equal, therefore husbands and wives are equal, but husbands can still tell wives what to do and the wives must obey? Are nurses equal to doctors? Do patients believe the nurse is equal to the doctor? Do patients respect nurses as much as they respect doctors? Are employees equal to their employers? Are the poor equal to the rich? Are the poor respected as much as the rich are respected?

When do relationships become unequal?

Isn't it when one person or group is given more respect than another person or group? James 2:1-13 points out how sinful it is to respect the rich more than the poor. Yet complementarians respect and favor husbands more than they respect and favor wives. They assign husbands more influence and more respect than they assign to wives. They assign husbands and males more "rights" to have things their way than they assign to wives and females.  Complementarian pastors tell wives to have their say and then lay down their rights to cause their preferences or beliefs to come to pass. They also tell wives that if their husbands abuse them, it is because the wives did not submit sufficiently.  In other words, they accuse wives of not laying down their will so the husbands can have their will fulfilled. Is not that basic inequality and basic loss of respect? Are not men as well as women to follow Jesus's example of not grasping at equality and instead choosing to lay aside one's own will for the sake of another? When husbands also lay down their will for the sake of their wives, then the relationship is equal, with equal influence and equal respect.

In regard to equal but different roles, I keep seeing the picture from the movie "Ever After" where Cinderella went to rescue the slave that had been sold by her step mother. The step mother owner and the slave certainly had different roles, and the roles were quite similar to complementarian husband and wife roles, with the slave doing all the obeying and the step-mother/master doing all the commanding. The slave was penned up in a moving prison, that was on a cart pulled by horses.  He could see through the bars, but had no way of stopping the horror that was happening to him. That slave's plight is similar to the plight of married complementarian women. Is the person who has no freedom to choose where she will go or what she will do next, an equal of the person who makes the decisions for her?  Is a person who is an equal in the eyes of God, but an equal in name only in the eyes of humans truly an equal? And when a wife is denied the freedom to remove herself from mistreatment, is she his equal? Isn't she more an equal of animals who have no choice in their lives?  That is similar to the horse, Black Beauty, who had no choice over who bought him, or how he was treated.

Isn't a complementarian wife more of an equal to a child who has been beaten or verbally smeared by a bully, or who has been whipped and/or chewed out by his dad? The equality is in name only, like a dad is equal to his ten-year-old daughter whom he spanks and sexually abuses as often as he pleases.  The child's role is to obey and suffer abuse, but the child is still equal to her dad, according to complementarian insistence.  The dad's role is to have his way with the wife and child, and that is considered equality to complementarians.  Just like complementarian wives, the child can cry and complain all she wants, but it will make no difference, except perhaps that her dad/husband will use that as an excuse for being even more cruel.

Complementarians will claim this is a straw-man argument, that their roles do not include permission to abuse. Yet, until they stand firmly against husbands abusing their wives, punish and discipline the abusive husbands and offer protection and support without judgement to wives, they DO support domestic abuse. And their insistence that husband and wife are equal while they support the abuser, is equivalent to claiming that a sexually abused child is equal to her daddy/abuser. In both cases the abused is robbed of dignity and power, of respect and influence.

Equality is measured by the power one possesses to influence the outcome of what happens in life.  Complementarian wives, similar to nurses, children, and animals are commanded to turn their power over to another.  Some complementarian men give that power back and the result is equality. But many complementarian husbands do NOT give the power back and the relationship is one of master and slave, of upper caste vs lower caste. And the church has largely been siding against the slave, lower caste and supporting the power of the master and upper caste, even to the point of punishing the wife-slave for her master-husband's cruelty toward her and their children.

As Jane Doe has pointed out, when the church insists that wives give up their power and turn it over to their husbands, the wives become powerless like little girls, and the marriage bed like the relationship between a pedophile and a child.  The wife's role of giving up her power and the husband's role of taking his wife's power plus keeping his own, result in extreme inequality.  This is not mere difference of roles. This is a difference of respect and the difference of power to effect an outcome. 

When complementarians refuse to allow husbands any lattitude to use any form of abuse against their wives, whether verbal, emotional, mental, spiritual, physical, psychological, social, or sexual, when they teach that husbands are sinning against their wives when they attempt to control them, school them, and take authority over them, then and only then can complementarian roles be anywhere close to equality.  

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel" See A Mennonite woman fights to save her family yet keep her faith.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Submission, Obedience, and Authority

Finally I think I can spare a few minutes to blogging, without missing some super-important deadline. A number of folks have written comments, some of them in response to old posts, which no one else is likely to see. So I have decided to publish them and my response as posts. I do apologize for the long delay in publishing the comments. Life has been and continues to be overwhelming & hectic. I am doing my best.

Madcan commented on Institution ofSubmission—As to the Lord. I will put madcan's comment in red, and my reply in black.

In order to support your view of "submission," you have conveniently chosen to highlight Jesus' footwashing as an example of submitting as to the Lord. Jesus washed the feet of the apostles because he gladly chose to submit to Father! His submission (obedience) to Father was motivated out of his love for Father, to fulfill the mission Father had for him, and to make Father look great through his mission.

Likewise, a husband is to gladly submit to the Father by doing things for his wife. They may be status-lowering chores that no one wants to do. Just as Jesus was motivated by love for the Father, so also husbands are to be motivated by love for the Father, as well as love for their wives.

Surely you do not imply that Jesus had no love for those He served? Do we as Christians only serve others because of our love for God? Wouldn't that make our service condescending and cold? I Corinthians 13 says if we do all kinds of noteworthy things, but do not have love (for others) we are like a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal, and we are nothing.

Your comment sounds like IF Jesus loved us, He ONLY did so out of submission to the Father. If that is indeed what you are implying, you likely also believe that John 3:16 means that God the Father so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, who does not love us, or who didn't love us enough to die for us, himself. If Jesus only died for us out of submission to the Father, Jesus cannot be equal with God, for God is Love. But Ephesians 5 says Christ did love us--so much that he died for us.  Christ did not die for us because of love for the Father, but because of love for US!  

Your focus on the submission of Jesus to the Father (putting Jesus in a dress, as Cindy puts it) paints Jesus to be stupid. The submission you have been taught that goes on in the heavens leaves no allowance for the Father to submit to the Son. So the Son would never suggest anything because God forbid the Father should ever submit to the Son. That leaves Jesus as a mindless slave, not equal with God in authority, nor in power (if the Father gave Jesus-as-God power, He can also take it away). That makes Jesus into a liar; Jesus and the Father are not one, they are two. Obviously, Jesus cannot be the liar. Therefore it is the “doctrine” that is false.  

The view you are pushing says that the Father orchestrates and decides everything, while Jesus' role is to love and obey the Father, that Jesus and the Holy Spirit while "equal" with Father, (as you put it) are His puppets.  Are you not aware that the God Jesus was obeying while on earth as a man, included Himself? He and the Father and the Holy Spirit, as 3 in 1, together love us and together chose to redeem us.  If Jesus only came to die for us because Father ordered it, that invites doubt about the Father's love for us, since He wasn't willing to die for us Himself, but sent His Son instead.  It also brings doubt about the Son's love for us, since He only came because He was commanded to come.  The fact is, the triune God loves us so much the 3 in 1 together chose the plan of redemption.  I believe the Word offered to come to earth and die for us, otherwise it is difficult to claim His love is of any depth at all.  Making Jesus into the Father's stooge so that men can make wives into the stooges of their husbands devalues the love of our triune God and devalues salvation and redemption to the point they are practically worthless.  Anyone can order their servant to do the hard stuff.  If that is the pattern, why didn't Jesus order one of His disciples to be His stooge and do the footwashing?  Oh, right, because of His love for Father.  Why is that not comforting? 

As you are aware, there were numerous other instances when Jesus instructed, corrected, and directed his disciples with the authority that Father gave him. This authority did not negate or contradict his submission to Father through acts such as footwashing; both authority and humble acts of service are two sides of the coin that men are called to live out.

Yes, I am aware that Jesus did instruct, direct, and even correct at times. However, it was with His own authority. Although Jesus was here as a man, He was also God. He simply HAD authority because of He was and is God. Where is/are the verse(s) that call men to authority over their wives, to instruct or correct their wives? Men are commanded to love and serve their wives, but never to teach, instruct, correct, or order them, any more than wives are commanded to teach, instruct, correct or order their husbands. We are all to edify one another as well as submit one to another.

Allow me to state the obvious -- men are not women. Jesus chose twelve men to be his disciples. Jesus chose men for HIS reasons. We can offer our opinions as to why he didn't choose six men and six women, but our opinions don't matter. God's ways are often too deep for us to understand; we do well to default to trusting him and accepting his ways as holy and right.

Actually, Jesus never even suggested that women could not preach or teach the gospel. Jesus chose women, too. They also followed with the disciples and supported Jesus financially. Did you notice how He did not choose to appear to John and Peter when He rose from the tomb? But after John and Peter left, He appeared to Mary, whom He sent to be the very first Gospel-teller. There was no gospel until after he rose from the dead, so she was the first. He gave that special honor to a woman. He also commissioned the woman at the well, who spread the news to her whole village, including the men. Jesus told parables that included women, so obviously he was speaking to women as well as men. Contrary to popular teaching, Jesus valued women, honored them, included them in establishing his church. He did NOT order Mary to help her sister, Martha, but protected her freedom to learn along with the men. Jesus did not establish a male-favoring gospel—humans did that.

My point? There are enough scriptures that teach us that wives are to submit to their husbands (as to the Lord). I urge God's people to accept the simple message he has given us through his word -- it is his will that wives submit to their husbands IN EVERYTHING. That submission includes both humble acts of service and obeying the instruction, correction, and direction (authority) given by God through
the husband.

And there is where you are wrong, madcan. Submission and obedience are not the same. Wives are never commanded to obey their husbands. Submission suggests choice, not a master/slave, or command/obey relationship. When a husband is not behaving toward his wife in a loving, Christ-like way, he is sinning against her. There is no way Paul would recommend that a Christian put her stamp of approval on sin by facilitating it. According to the doctrine you appear to support, a wife must obey what her husband commands her, unless it is clearly sin. But you fail to understand when a husband sins against his wife, even though he may not verbally be commanding her to sin, non-verbally he is commanding her to degrade herself, which is sin. (Do not call good evil; as a redeemed person, she is good.) Submission means she does not need to choose to obey a sinful demand against herself. As she would with any Christian, she must rebuke the sin to get rid of the leaven that will spread to her and cause her to sin.

The only part of Jesus husbands are told to copy is that of love and sacrifice. They are never told to copy His lordship. Neither Jesus, Paul, nor Peter command husbands to take authority over their wives. Instead, the Ephesians 5 instructions to husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church, sounds similar to Romans 12:1-2, that of offering oneself as a living sacrifice—for their wives. As his equal, a husband owes his wife respect. As a servant of Christ's, he owes his wife love, cherishing, and submission. 

This blog is not a place for debate.  That is not my calling, and I find the exercise pointless.  It accomplishes nothing.  There are other bloggers who may choose to discuss or debate, you can do your debating there.  The few times I choose to publish a debater's comment and reply to it are those where I think the exercise can enhance the message God has given me to proclaim. 

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel" See A Mennonite woman fights to save her family yet keep her faith.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Rebellion Against Submission

Pastors (and others) often comment how women hate the “S” word, submission, and remind women that rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. They say GOD instituted social order and the role of wives and women is to submit to the AUTHORITY of husbands and men. They claim GOD ordained it to be so from the beginning of creation. They emphasize that women must bow to the command from God, and label women who stand up for what they believe is right as self-seeking egoists, disobedient to God, feminist, rebellious, and so on. Some presume that any time a husband abuses or even beats his wife that it is because she was not submissive.

But could it be that women who cringe at the “S” word are not rebelling against God at all? Could it be they are actually rebelling against the misuse of scripture? After all, women are notorious for having a strong gut sense that something is wrong, but they often cannot specify what is not meeting the “smell” test. The fact that pastors, husbands, and even female speakers emphasize the “command” to wives to submit makes it even more difficult for women to put a finger on what it is that is wrong with the command to women to submit. But they do know the teaching makes them feel extremely uncomfortable. Many women force themselves to go against that sixth sense that God gave them for their protection, and make themselves submit even though they know they are agreeing to a wrong, stupid, or even ridiculous choice.

The first thing women notice, but can't put a finger on, is the incongruity of having to submit to someone who flaunts their supposed God-given right to authority. On a gut level, they know that someone with real authority would have no need to flaunt it. Not only would that authority just be present and not emphasized, but also the person with authority would behave in such a way as to inspire trust, respect, admiration, and a sense that the person with authority loves, cares, and makes sensible decisions that favor the wife instead of himself. Wives who cringe about submission don't have husbands who put them first.
The second thing women notice on a gut level, is that husbands are also commanded to submit. Paul tells husbands and wives to submit to one another, and then goes on to tell wives to submit to their husbands. On some level, wives KNOW those directions to husbands are basically “husbands submit to your wives in the fear of God.” Yet, since pastors don't teach that, most wives can't put their finger on what doesn't add up. Men who have understood the real message of Ephesians 5 tell us the command to husbands requires much more laying down of self-will and self-service than the mere command to submit that is given to wives. It is the husbands who are to love so deeply that they leave father and mother and CLEAVE to their wives. It is the husbands who are to love so deeply, who are so besotted, they lay down their lives and die daily for their wives. Wives who cringe about submitting, know on a gut level that something important is missing, but they can't put a finger on it.

The third thing women notice on a gut level, is how scripture is being used to abuse them. The verses about submitting one to another are glossed over, the verses about wives submitting to their AUTHORITY-HUSBANDS are emphasized, and the verses about husbands loving so deeply that they die daily for their wives are covered up. The translators helped with this one. Since the passage tells us all to submit to one another, where is the verse that tells husbands to submit to their wives? Women know it is there, but they cannot put a finger on it. Check out the word “ought” in Strong's concordance. “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies.” This command is taught with the emphasis one would use to say “One ought to change the bed sheets every week.” or “One ought to mow the grass every week.” or “One ought to keep their check book balanced.” Many people don't do these things with that kind of regularity, so the “ought” contains little power. But the biblical “ought” has a different meaning, which women understand on a gut level without ever having looked it up. #3784 “from the base of 3786, through the idea of accruing. to owe, fig, to be under obligation, (ought, must, should) mor. [which I guess means moral] to fail in duty:...” The meaning of ought is much closer to our “MUST.” So the phrase would read “So MUST men love their wives as their own bodies.” It is not optional husbands, it is a commandment, a requirement, a debt that keeps accruing.

The fourth thing wives notice is that nowhere are husbands commanded to take authority over their wives. Pastors say the command to wives to submit to their husbands infers that husbands have authority over their wives. Yet in the preceding verse, husbands are also told to submit to their wives, so that would infer wives have authority over their husbands. Should wives flaunt their authority, too? They claim that the husband as “head” gives him authority, but wives know on a gut level that this does not add up. If being “head” gave husbands authority, wouldn't the commands to husbands spell out to take authority over their wives? Instead the command is to love, sacrifice for, and cherish. The husband authority doctrine reeks too much like a skunk in the garage.

Once again, that sixth sense women have is correct. They ought to be cringing at the submission teaching. Their sixth sense is telling them the real rebels against God are the men who insist on being the authority over their wives. They find it grinds them the wrong way to admit the pastors who insist on husband authority are abusing scripture, are likely hateful and controlling to their own wives.

On some level, women know that the more insistent a man is that his wife submit to him, the more obvious it is that he is disobedient to and rebelling against God. It is his job to love, sacrifice for, and cherish his wife, not to rule her. These days it is husbands who are rebelling against God, who have that Jezebel spirit they talk about, who have a slaveholding spirit similar to witchcraft. These women need to stand up and do what is right, to not give in to wrong, not even for an hour.

                        Galatians 2:5
To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.”

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel" See A Mennonite woman fights to save her family yet keep her faith.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Loss of Submission to the Commandments of Scripture

Rather than publish this comment by “Anonymous” where no one would see it on the
"New Coalition Demands Apology from CBMW" post, I decided to make a new post of it. I am inserting sentence numbers and beginning each sentence on the left in order to refer to the quote.

“(1) As is generally the case this issue is driven by the confusion of a chaotic culture the has not only redefined terms but has lost the ability to critically consider an issue from the truth of Gods Word.
(2) This issue is bogged down by decades of misinformation, bias, revisionist history, and the loss of submission to the commandments of Scripture.
(3)All of this cloaked in a humanistic/religious hybrid ideology that ultimately seeks to cast off anything that would fly in the face of supposed liberties to express our own sinful egos.
(4) While there is no doubt that sin has caused many a man to flex his authority in sinful ways that in no wise removed the Biblical mandate of a created order that sets call a man to lead lovingly and a woman to submit honorably.
(5) While I could go on an use a great deal of textual proof I would suspect that it would simply be met by the standard talking points of those who seek to remove any point that may be antithetical to their unbiblical stance so I will simply say that no argument will stand against He (Jehovah God)who has the dictate the roles of men and woman in the home and in society.
(6) Sad to say but such rebellion is common in those given over to their own pursuits above the glory of God.

My comments: I agree with sentence 1. Our Christian culture HAS redefined the terms and as the above commenter shows, has lost the ability to critically consider an issue. From the statements Anonymous makes, it is clear he or she is incapable of critically considering the issue based on the truth of God's word.

I agree with sentence 2 as well. I have been surprised again and again at how even the trusted King James Version—the version that is the kindest to women—has a BIAS against women. If a person looks up individual words in the concordance from those apparently anti-woman passages, they will find repeated efforts to downplay the authority God gave to women and to increase male dominance. In I Timothy 5:14, for example, Paul tells Timothy that he wants young widows to marry, bear children and to be the absolute rulers of their homes. (Despot) But the translators of our current versions lost their submission to the commandments of scriptures and substituted their own commandments instead of scripture, saying wives should merely guide or manage the house. That revision and the history of that revision is what Anonymous is championing—along with many other revisions, like the one spun off Genesis 3:16, where--based on what a woman stated in the 1970's, even though they say any teaching of women is to be rejected—complementarians use illogic and misinterpretation to claim God said women desire to dominate their husbands and therefore husbands must rule their wives.

Unbelievably, I agree with sentence 3, too. Complementarianism is indeed a religious hybrid ideology. It is religious because it cannot be backed up with scripture. Complementarians claim that although in the Genesis account God never tells Adam to rule Eve, that the Genesis account sets up roles for Adam to be the ruler and Eve to be the subject. Yet scripture clearly says both Adam and Eve were to rule the earth. No one is commanded to rule the other. Although Eve was to be a helper for Adam, so was God. Since God being Adam's helper does not make Him subject to Adam, neither does Eve being a helper make her subject to Adam. Complementarianism also ends up being humanistic when one considers that it does the same thing as most humanist teaching—only the group it seeks to free to do their own thing is males. Complementarian teaching is quite humanistic in its results. Although teachers and pastors do not SAY husbands can follow their whims at the expense of their wives, they commonly do not hold husbands accountable when husbands sin against their wives, and instead hold the wives accountable for the sinful behavior of the husbands. Humanistic doctrine does the same thing, charging those who would hold the sinner accountable as “intolerant” and “judgmental,” thus allowing the sinner freedom, license, and justification to keep on sinning, and silencing and condemning the one sinned against. Complementarianism is mere religion; it follows neither God's commands, nor Christ's commands, nor Paul's commands. The one command it does follow is the command of a pagan king.

I cannot agree with sentence 4, and already made points against it in my statements above. Although it is true that “sin has caused many a man to flex his authority in sinful ways” Anonymous failed to point out that a man who “flex(es) his authority” toward his wife is already sinning against her. There is no “Biblical mandate of a created order that sets call a man to lead lovingly.” Adam was not commanded to “lead,” rule, or take authority over Eve, nor are husbands commanded to do so in the New Testament. That is totally the revisionist doctrine of men. Although men are told to love their wives, they are never told to lead them or rule them. So the “the loss of submission to the commandments of Scripture” is one Anonymous emphatically endorses with his or her 4th sentence, and with his or her 5th sentence as well.

Anonymous gives no scripture to back up his/her statements, which is probably best, since there aren't any. And I have used textual proof to back up my points. I agree with part of the second half of sentence 5: “no argument will stand against He (Jehovah God).” That part is true. The roles Jehovah God dictated are roles of equality. There is neither male nor female Gal 3:28; both Adam and Eve were given dominion over the earth. Jesus told his disciples they were not to rule over others. Jesus did not include an exception clause in his commandment. Jesus did NOT say they were not to rule over others—except for their wives. That rulership junk is what the GENTILES do. Not so with you, Jesus said.

And that leads us into sentence 6, which is so true: “Sad to say but such rebellion is common in those given over to their own pursuits above the glory of God.” That is exactly what complementarians are doing. The men rebel against God, and both do and teach the opposite of what Jesus and Paul taught, and have the audacity to call it “scriptural commandments.” Complementarians do indeed rebel and pursue their own ends rather than the glory of God. The men insist that women follow them rather than obey God. Women are to doubt, discredit, and set aside the working of the Holy Spirit in their own lives and instead listen to and obey their husbands and pastors. So the men insist that their wives rebel against God, too. The men set themselves up as gods to be revered above God. And they do it by twisting scripture, leading many astray.

They keep their women on the same level as children, thus making the words of Jesus apply to the men, and also to the women who teach such things. Matthew 18:6 “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” “Offend” is talking about causing a person to lose, or nearly lose, their salvation. “Little one” is referring to a new believer, or to a believer who is still relying on the milk of the word and does not have the skills to rightly divide the word of truth. Many complementarian wives fall into this category because from young up they are taught to deny the truth they find when they rightly divide the word of truth and to deny the leading of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, most complementarian women are kept as “little children” much like in some cultures women were kept as little children via foot binding. Complementarian teaching seeks to hobble Christian women so they will never grow up and never be able to rightly divide the word of truth.  Without this hobbling they cannot teach women to follow and lean on men rather than follow and lean on God.

Can a woman who feels guilty if she does not obey her husband or obey her pastor—so guilty that she wonders if she is saved, can she really be saved? Her salvation is based on her commandments-of-men works rather than on faith. Her salvation is also based on a lie that is not backed by scripture. She is taught that the commandments of men ARE scripture, and she cannot allow herself to admit they are not. So she obeys men rather than God. The apostles said the opposite, “we ought to obey GOD rather than man.” She is led astray by complementarian teachers, and Jesus said that is so terrible it would be better for those teachers to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Apparently the woe coming to them is so great they are better off dead so they cannot lead more people astray.

Matthew 18:7 “Woe unto the world because of offenses! For it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh!” Jesus is declaring the same woe for those who lead “little ones” astray as he did for the scribes and pharisees who also turned people away from heaven and focused on the commandments of men.

In closing, it is ironic that complementarians would use the commandment to husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it, into a command to husbands to rule their wives. They can tack on “lovingly” all they want, but husbands still are not commanded to take authority over their wives. The authority given to husbands is over themselves; to bring their thoughts captive, keep themselves in check and to love their wives as their own bodies. That is called authority over themselves and SERVICE and servanthood toward their wives. That servanthood is SUBMISSION to their wives, not authority. Indeed, the introduction to that section tells us all to submit to one another. Husbands are to submit by loving their wives as they love themselves and as Christ loved the church—by service and sacrifice. The fruit of the spirit spelled out in Galations 5:22-23 should be evident in the behavior of husbands toward their wives. Jesus said “by their fruit ye shall know them.” Husbands who rule their wives are not showing the fruit of the spirit. If they are not kind, patient and loving to their wives, and don't treat their wives as they themselves would like to be treated, that suggests they do not belong to Christ. “If any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Romans 8:9b

Instead of obeying the command given, they teach and practice a side of Christ that men are commanded to NOT emulate—the lordship of Christ. The lordship of Christ is reserved for Christ alone. Christ shares it with no man. Both men and women, wives and husbands are subject to the lordship of Christ, whether Christian or not. Scriptures never give males lordship over females. Both males and females are given lordship over evil spirits and over the earth. Both husbands and wives have a type of lordship over each other, I Corinthisans 7, but one does not have more lordship than the other, and neither have a lordship that emulates Christ's absolute lordship over others. We are all subjects and children. Christ alone is Lord. To teach otherwise is to rebel against God and scripture.

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel" See A Mennonite woman fights to save her family yet keep her faith.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Women Catch Men

If women were to copy the example of those who insist husbands are to take authority over their wives, we would be chasing men.  After all, Jesus, himself declared, "Fear not; for henceforth thou shalt catch men." Luke 5:10 KJV

Notice that Jesus did not command us to chase men, nor did he command us to catch them, but it is implied, right?  That is the reasoning complementarians use.  When Paul says "Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ, wives to your own husbands," complementarians say that implies husbands are to take authority over their wives.  Even though the only command in the whole Bible that tells husbands to take authority over their wives was issued by a pagan king. (so those men are NOT Christ-followers, or Christians, they are Ahasuerus-followers, or Ahasians.)

If that is so, they should not have a fit when women chase, and catch, men--even if the action is in disobedience to other scripture.  Actually, Jesus never said women are not to chase men, so we have less prohibition against chasing men than men have against ruling over women.  After all, Jesus explicitly commanded to NOT take authority over others; that is what the gentiles do. Matt 20:25-28.

So from here on out, I will catch men.  Jesus said so.

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel" See A Mennonite woman fights to save her family yet keep her faith.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wives Submit to Your Husbands For

What a radical word--“for.” Before Jesus and Paul, the rule was simply “wives obey your husbands, no reason necessary.” But Paul, radical as always, gave a reason. FOR the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church. For every wife, her husband was her head, her source.

Consider: in Paul's day, marriage was NOT like it is today. Girls married quite young. Their husbands were selected by their parents. These parents did not choose young boys for their daughters; they chose men who were financially able to care for them, men who had established businesses, who had enough money to provide a home and the necessities of life. So most likely, girls of 14-16 were marrying men of 21-30, or even older. These men truly were their source. The basic avenue for the young brides to continue learning was through their own husbands. Although they may still socialize with their peers and older women at the well and at other public places, and they may interact with their parents, they now had responsibilities in the home provided by their husbands. For some brides, the responsibility was to begin taking over the management of the household staff, (big job for a young newbie.) and for other brides the responsibility was to fit into her husband's family's home and pull her share and meet expectations there, while others may have shared living quarters with the bride's parents or lived in a basic, humble dwelling if their husband could afford it.

Consider: these brides were newly wed at the very same stage in life that current teens are rebelling against their parents, wanting to try new things, thinking their parents are foolish, and old fashioned. These young women may have barely known their husbands, much less liked or loved them. But their husband was now their source of shelter, clothing, food, and knowledge. Indeed, Paul in one passage tells wives to “ask their husbands at home.” Husbands were not to maintain their wives as child-brides, but were to provide them with knowledge along with everything else--possibly even business skills. 

This makes the command to husbands all the more profound: “Husbands love your wives even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it: that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.”

Sometimes the best way to understand a passage is to notice what is missing. Paul did not say, husbands rule your wives, nor did he say husbands train your wives, nor did he say husbands take authority over your wives, nor husbands use your wives, nor husbands discipline your wives. He SAID husbands LOVE your wives, sacrificially. Care deeply for your wives and their welfare. Paul goes on to say “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church.”

In other words, a husband is to cherish his wife, like he cherishes himself. It is in that context, that a wife was to submit to her husband, her source. Like a flower turns to the sun for what it needs to survive and grow, so also a wife turned to her husband for what she needed to survive and grow. Paul said as the church looks to Christ to survive and grow, so also a wife is to turn to her husband to survive and grow. Ephesians 4:15-16 “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, Christ: FROM whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”

Even as the church turns to Christ, who is the source of energy, growth, and nourishment, so also the young bride turned to her husband for nourishment and growth. Paul's word picture does not show a master whipping, scolding, or starving a slave, but instead shows our Master, Christ, growing us via love, supply, and blessing. It is this route husbands are to follow.

But why stress a husband's requirement to love and supply when the post is about wives submitting? We cannot have one without the other. If a wife is to be a symbol of the church, then the whole of her job must be included. Just as the church is to flee from a fake christ, and refuse to follow him, so also a wife is to refuse to follow a fake husband. A husband who acts as a lord and master instead of laying down his life and preferences in his wife's behalf is a fake husband. He is a fraud.

In John 10:5 in speaking about sheep and using them as a parable/metaphor of himself and the church, Jesus said “A stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him, for they know not the voice of strangers.” This stranger, Jesus goes on to say is a “hireling,” who does not care for the sheep. In other words, the hireling brings harm to the sheep. Paul uses Jesus's tender care for the church to show what husbands are to do. In putting these together we can extrapolate that a husband who rules and takes authority, rather than loves and provides food and growth, is also a hireling and stranger. He is NOT a real husband, and his wife should flee from him, because he destructive. He is not her life-giving source.

Wives submit to your own husbands, FOR the husband is the source for the wife. When the “husband” acts as dictator, he is NOT her head or source. He is a fraud and a thief. The reason for her submission no longer applies.

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel" See A Mennonite woman fights to save her family yet keep her faith.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Are You Sure?

This is addressed to pastors, like John Piper, and church folk who heap guilt and sit in judgment on women who report their husbands are nasty.  Are you sure your conclusions are correct? 

Are you aware the details she has told you are ONLY the tip of the iceberg?  Have you asked for the whole story?  I mean the WHOLE BIG STORY?  The one that will take her hours and hours to tell?  Do you have a real sense of what a day, a week, a month, a year is like for her? Do you know how often she cries?  Do you know how often she covers up with makeup the fact that she has been crying?  Have you asked yourself how hard it is for her to not break down in tears in church?  Have you considered why she keeps to herself? Why she acts strange at times? 

I think of Susan Greenfield's book "Would the Real Church PLEASE Stand Up!" where she tells us how weird she had to behave because her husband required it.  Have you considered that the things you are blaming on her, may actually be because of her husband? 

Have you considered that her husband is sinning against her daily?  Major sins, not minor ones.  Have you considered that her husband's life shows ZERO fruit of the Spirit at home?  (Even though he acts like a saint in public.) Do you care that her husband's behavior suggests he may NOT BE SAVED??  (Jesus said we'd know them by their fruit; my paraphrase.)

Are you aware that when her husband APPEARS to show the fruit of the Spirit, he is conning her? And conning you?   

Considering the misery he puts his family through, are you sure they will be able to stay faithful to God?  Are you willing to have that abused woman leave her husband and your church and take her children with her? 

Are you willing to be responsible before God for driving an oppressed woman and her children away?

Are you sure God tells husbands to take authority over their wives?  If so, list the verse(s). 

I repeat:  Are you SURE? 

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel" See A Mennonite woman fights to save her family yet keep her faith.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Authority and Power, Part 3: The Irony of Husband Authority Reveals a Cover-up

In the world of men one frequently sees competition for power. In sports, for example, one man faces off against another to show greater strength, brawn, stamina, skill, and even intelligence than his opponent. Wrestling is a good example of this competition. In wrestling, combatants are divided into categories based on weight. If a 200 pound man pinned a 300 pound man to the floor, that would be a major victory. In that case, the 200 pound man would be seen as virile and desirable for his strength and cunning. He would be admired, and considered powerful. But if the the 300 pound man pinned a 200 pound man to the floor, it would be small victory for the heavier man. In fact, he may be seen as less than manly, as lacking in strength and prowess for agreeing to such an uneven match.

Strangely, these rules are scrapped in complementarian homes and churches. Not only are husbands considered manly when they triumph over an opponent who is smaller and lighter weight than they, but men are also given much latitude to do what they want to TAKE authority over their wives. In the world of men, the size difference between husband and wife (in most cases) would prohibit the man from attempting to overpower his wife—if she were a man. But somehow, the husband who does not control his tiny wife and dictate to her how things shall be, is seen as lacking in manliness. Complementarians would see it as unmanly—and even cowardly—for him to pick a fight with a man who is the size of the man's wife, but it is manly for him to pick a fight with his wife. If he picked even a verbal fight with a smaller man, he would be seen as a bully. But if he picks a verbal fight with his wife, he is seen as taking his rightful, God-given place and as standing up as a man.

Weird. Illogical.

Wait! One way that could be logical is if men feel more threatened by women than they do by smaller men. More specifically, that they feel more threatened by their wives than they do by smaller-sized men. Now this possible conclusion flies in the face of the testimony of many women who are actually doing their best to submit to their husbands, and then their husbands respond by attacking them either verbally, physically, or any other way. In spite of that contradictory reasoning, we'll consider it anyway. Why would a big man feel intimidated by a female half his size, who is submitting to him and serving him?

Someone has suggested that a woman's ability to conceive and bear a child is so far and above what a man is capable of doing, that men feel inferior and inadequate and have been trying to compensate for their own lack through claiming power and authority—and even superiority—over women. Men cannot bring forth life, no matter how hard they try. For much of history, they have claimed that women are more sinful, less intelligent, less valuable than men. Men often glorify the male erection, claim they are “penetrating” the woman and that their seed also penetrates the woman's egg, thus claiming superiority and power-over for themselves. Yet newer research says the egg blocks sperm it does not want, swallows up the sperm it does want, and then blocks all other sperm from entry. In the same way, it could be said that the woman “envelops” the man, for no one claims to “penetrate” a sleeve or a sock. Perhaps many men are afraid that their posturing is a thin veneer that their wives will easily see through, so they work harder by erecting a wall of power and authority to protect their non-existent superiority, hoping if they make the wall appear thick enough their wives will not attempt to knock on the door, since that would cause the wall to fall down.

Another possibility is that men feel intellectually inferior to their wives. Believable or not, a number of men have confessed to feeling such intellectual inferiority, and therefore they throw the first verbal punch to prevent damage to themselves. Other men have claimed to feel so soft and mushy toward their wives, that they are like teddy bears, totally pliable in the hands of their wives. Therefore, they create conflict in order to steel their hearts and be less pliable. Never mind, that the requests of their wives are entirely reasonable. Being men, they believe they should refuse most of their wife's requests in order to show their power and authority. To these men, their wife's request that they pick up a quart of dish soap when they are going to the deli at the grocery store anyway, is a threat to their manhood. Even though the request is reasonable and sensible, these men interpret it as the wife usurping authority over her husband, and that it should not be tolerated—except that it is a financially sound request which is advantageous to the entire family. So these men apparently feel trapped into yielding to the requests of their wives, when they believe they should be asserting their authority by refusing.

Yet, complementarian leaders claim God is the author of this foolishness. In other words, since many men feel inferior to their wives, or think they are too yielding to their wives, God has decreed (so men say) that men should take authority over their wives. So men twist themselves into pretzels to claim superiority, by any means they can dream up—while denying they are doing so. And they claim the right to whatever means necessary to dominate and control their wives—unless it is illegal according to the state—even though if the same were applied to their relationships with other smaller-sized men, they would be seen as bullies.

Frankly, not only have they made God, our true authority, to appear like a fool, they have done all they could to replace Him with themselves to hide their feelings of inferiority, and have brought shame to the name of Christ, and by extension, to the name “Christian.” Even the Gentiles can see through the veneer and know “husband authority” is ridiculous.

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel" See A Mennonite woman fights to save her family yet keep her faith.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Authority and Power, Part 2, The Author of Authority

  To read previous articles, see:  and

Before going further into authority and power, more must be said on the Author of authority and power. As a man, Jesus stated, "All power is given to me in heaven and in earth." Matt 28:18 KJV. Or "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me." NIV The words power and authority are synonymous in this case. Jesus has both.

Some claim this verse is saying it is God the father, the supreme authority, Who gave Jesus some lesser authority, leaving Jesus eternally submissive to the Father. But other references negate that teaching. For example, in Genesis 1:26 we're told "And God said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth...'" The meaning of God here, is plural. This is NOT the supreme father God telling the lesser God what to do, nor is it the lesser God asking permission from the supreme father God to to make humans. According to the text, our plural God spoke in unison. Jesus said He and the Father are one, and Genesis backs that up. They are so one, they think and speak in unison. John says the same thing. "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God." Jesus also referred to Himself as I AM.

Therefore, the Matthew 28 statement must mean that all power and authority were given to Jesus in His human form. Indeed, scripture bears that out. He healed the sick, raised the dead, gave sight to the blind, and delivered the captives from demons.

The fact of Jesus's many miracles is so common place to us who were raised in Christian homes and heard those accounts from young up, they bear emphasis. Not one husband, who claims God gave him authority can heal the sick or raise the dead—unless the Holy Spirit gave him that gift. Jesus DOES have all authority and all power. He has all authority and power in heaven right now, had all authority and power when he was here in human form, had all authority and power as part of the plural God-head before He came to earth as a baby, and will have all authority and power throughout eternity. His authority is so great, He spoke the cattle into existence and put the planets in motion, to name just a few of His capabilities.

It is important to focus on the authority and power of Jesus, because He is our ultimate authority. He spoke for the entire Godhead when He was on earth. It is His words we need to follow. If anyone teaches anything different from what Jesus said, or appears to teach something different from what Jesus said, we MUST double check the meaning. Indeed, with Jesus being the ultimate authority, His teaching is far more important than the teaching anyone tells us Paul taught. Paul, himself, wrote that anyone who lays a foundation other than Jesus, who teaches things opposite of, or not in line with what Jesus taught, is a deceiver.

On this eve of the election, as people cry out to God that their favorite candidate(s) will win, as they come in humility before God as they recall the verse: "If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14, are they really repenting? What are they saying? I've heard things like: "We need to repent for the abortion, and homos*xuality in our nation." But they refuse to look at the sin in the pews of every congregation. The sin of replacing God's authority with the authority of men—especially husbands. Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus, God, or even Paul, command husbands to take authority over their wives. Nowhere. Yet, entire denominations and churches teach husband authority. They excuse husbands who do not cherish and sacrifice for their wives, and who beat, browbeat, or manipulate and threaten their wives, because they have replaced God's authority with the authority of men.

The first and greatest commandment is "Thou shalt love the lord thy God with all thy heart, with all they soul and with all thy might." This means we are to put God first.  According to what Jesus said, we prove our love with our obedience, (if you love me, keep my commandments).  Husbands claim God has given them authority over their wives, but there is no such command from God or from God's spokesperson in the Bible.  In fact, in the Genesis passage quoted above, God gave humans--both male and female--dominion over all the earth and the creatures on it.  God did not give males dominion over females.  Women have equal authority and dominion along with men, but men are putting themselves above God, and insisting their wives put husbands above God, too. This is the greatest sin in the church. It is wholesale rebellion against God. 

The second commandment is like unto the first commandment, Jesus said: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." There is nothing loving about a man dictating to his wife (his neighbor) and insisting on his own way. Nor is there anything loving about the whole church insisting that wives give husbands their own way, so that husbands do not have to demand obedience.  That is still the husbands insisting, and lording it over their wives--even though they are doing it collectively.  Furthermore, Jesus gave explicit directions to NOT take authority over other able-minded adults. Jesus said: "Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Jesus taught us to love and serve, NOT to take authority over others. Men sin against God and against their wives when they take authority over their wives. And women sin against God and against their husbands when they follow their husband's dictates, thus putting their husbands before God.

THIS is the major sin of which the people who call themselves "the church" need to repent.

Jesus said "This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." Matt 15: 8-9 Jesus has the current "church" pegged. People raise their hands and claim to be close to God, while they are actually following the commandments of men.

The very first of the ten commandments is: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Exodus 20:3. Yet the "church" has put males—husbands--before God. The church is following the authority of men, who can neither raise the dead nor heal the sick, rather than the authority of God--who has the power and authority to throw them into hell. 

Could the current decline of our nation be caused by the rebellion of the so-called church against the authority of God, rather than because of society's abortion or homos*xual practices?  Indeed, Peter supports that thought.  "Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered." How can men expect God to answer and honor their prayers when they are living in rebellion against Him, by replacing Him with themselves?  As Shirley Taylor puts it in the book she is writing, husbands have become the little golden calves of the church.  If men don't dethrone themselves, God, Himself, will grind them to powder.     

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel" See A Mennonite woman fights to save her family yet keep her faith.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Authority and Power Part 1

What is AUTHORITY? Daniel Webster says
“power or right to command or act; dominion, control; a person or persons exercising power or command; generally in the plural (the civil authorities); government or governmental agency; a reference source or expert in a field to support a fact, opinion, action, etc; a ruling; proof; justification; credit or credibility; (a work of no authority); assurance (to speak with authority).”
So according to Webster, a person with authority exercises power or command and also has the RIGHT to command and have dominion and control over.

If Webster is correct, a person who has the “right to command,” also has the right to TAKE authority over another person. If this is so, we cannot accuse a person with authority of being “controlling,” since authority carries with it the right to control and exercise power or command. This is likely why complementarians both deny that domestic abuse/violence is present among their families and at the same time blame the wives for the abuse and violence they receive from their husbands. After all, if the husband has the RIGHT to control his wife, when there is any discord it must be the wife's fault because the husband has all the rights and the wife has none—except when there is danger the state may step in and charge the husband with criminal behavior, or when he is demanding his wife perform some act that is CLEARLY taught against in the Bible. This is per John Piper's statement, with which many other complementarians agree.

Isn't it ironic that for years, centuries even, husbands have had rights automatically granted to them just because they are male and just because they are married and male. It is also very telling that they hate the word RIGHTS when it is applied to women. Although the men have had rights via authority all these centuries, both the right of self direction and the right of ruling their wives, they say rights are evil when women want the right to choose the direction of their own lives. Never mind that women are not asking for the right to rule their husbands, only for the right to stop their husbands from ruling over them, so that God can be their leader and authority. As Shirley Taylor has pointed out, when the Israelites wanted a king, God told them they didn't need a king, they had GOD to lead them. In the same way, wives don't need a "king" either. They, too, have GOD as their king. Yet, according to the anti-feminists, women should have no rights. Not the right to live according to their conscience, not the right to follow God's leading, and not even the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;" they should be ruled by or led by their husbands. And if their husband chooses death for them, that is fine--tragic, but fine. She must have done something to provoke him--like not submitting to/obeying her husband. Ironic. Rights have now become evil—unless men have them and they are called authority.

So what is POWER? Since a part of authority is power, "power or right to command or act;"it makes sense to know what power is. Webster says
“Ability to do or act; capability of doing or effecting something...Great or marked ability to do or act; strength, might, or force...the possession of control or command over others; dominion, authority, ascendancy, or influence; legal ability, capacity, or delegated authority; one who or that which possesses or exercises authority or influence...”
According to Webster, in the context of authority, power means FORCE, strength, might—someone who is capable of making things happen via control over others.

Notice the word “force” that is associated with power. It suggests that the person with authority also has the right to force and enforce. If this is so, the word authority carries no restriction on enforcing the will of the one with authority. In other words, by commanding husbands to take authority over their wives, complementarians also command them to force and enforce their will upon their wives. In Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper, page 79, Dr. Tony Evans advises husbands to
"...say something like this:"Honey, I've made a terrible mistake. I've given you my role. I gave up leading this family, and I forced you to take my place. Now I must reclaim that role."

Don't misunderstand what I'm saying here. I'm not suggesting that you ask for your role back, I'm urging you to take it back."(Italics by Dr. Tony Evans.)
Although Tony speaks of a husband LEADING the family, it is clear from the context, in spite of his attempt to "nice it down," that he is teaching husbands to take authority over their wives, families, and communities. He tells husbands
"...there can be no compromise here. If you're going to lead, you must lead. Be sensitive. Listen. Treat the lady gently and lovingly. But lead!...Stop making your wives set the spiritual tone for your household. Assume the task of getting your family to church, and behave like a leader when you get there."
Now we are all commanded to be servants, to provoke one another to love and good works, but where are males commanded to be leaders or to take authority over others? Leadership is well and good, as long as it is not TAKEN or coerced and as long as people follow because they want to, instead of because they are brainwashed or bullied into following. But the complementarian teaching is for men to TAKE authority/leadership over, for women to follow and give up their own leadership capabilities and even the knowledge and wisdom that God has given them. This appeals to the baser drive of many men; the drive to dominate, to be king. If Evans does not mean it as a dominating "role," he should have chosen the word "serve," which does not carry the idea of domination or the raising up of oneself, but rather the laying down of oneself for the benefit of others.

The complementarian teaching that husbands are to take authority over their wives, puts them in tension with the governmental authorities, whose authority is superior to that of individuals. Governmental authorities categorize rape, physical control, beating, and physical harm as a crime, punishable by jail time, fines, etc. Governmental authorities, via domestic violence shelter workers, also categorize non-physical control tactics as a crime, however, these are only chargeable in court if there are witnesses or other evidence to verify that serious harm was inflicted by the use of dominating/nasty behavior. Otherwise, non-physical controlling behavior is seen as a red flag, alerting the person thus used to the presence of danger.

Notice also that one of the definitions of power is
“the possession of control or command over others; dominion, authority, ascendancy, or influence.”
Ascendancy? According to Webster ascendancy includes dominance, superiority and predominance. But complementarians claim their authority teaching does NOT include superiority, that husbands and wives are equal with different roles. That sounds like smoke and mirrors to me. Ok, complementarian husbands have the role of dominance, superiority, power, controller, and commanding ruler. That IS what authority means. If that is not what complementarians mean, they need to choose a different word. But even “leader” and “head” as they use those words include superiority.

And if dominance, superiority, power, controller, and commanding ruler, ie authority over, is the husband's role, what does that leave for the wife? Dominated, inferior, controlled by another, obedient subject. That falls far short of equality, and it includes far more than “roles.” In fact, male superiority and female inferiority have been touted by males for centuries and used to keep women “in their place.” So why are complementarians denying that their husband-authority teaching has anything to do with an underlying (and not so underlying) belief in male superiority and female inferiority?

The site Gods Word to Women @
includes quotes from Gene Edwards' book The Christian Woman set Free. The quotes are telling and show that the male attitudes of male superiority and female inferiority have been with us for centuries and are still governing Christian men today.

From Part One of The Christian Woman Set Free by Gene Edwards
Who Started the Mistreatment of Women
Praise be to God that he has not created me a Gentile, a woman, or a hog. —Hebrew Prayer

The courage of a man is shown in his ability to command. The courage of a woman is found in obeying.

By all means get married. If you get a good wife, you will be happy. If you get a bad wife, you will become a philosopher.

Women are those who fell prey to their irrational, emotional side, and are therefore incapable of reason and making rational choices . . . moreover as irrational beings, women may not always know what they really want, and so it is the man’s domain to decide for them.

We have courtesans for our sex and pleasure. We have young slave prostitutes for our physical use and we have wives to bring up legitimate children.

Do not admire your wife’s beauty . . . from the time women are fourteen years old they think of nothing and aim at nothing except going to bed with men.

Even the most virtuous of women is a witch.
—Oral Jewish Law

Woman is a temple built over a sewer. It is contrary to the order of nature and of the law for women to speak in a gathering.
—Saint Jerome

Because of you we are punished by death . . . because of you, women, the Son of God had to die.

Men should not listen to a woman even if she says admirable things or if she says saintly things. They are of little consequence since they come from the mouth of a woman.

A man may marry again if he has divorced his sinful wife because he is not restricted in his right as is the woman, because he is her head.

By herself woman is not of the image of God. The man, on the other hand, alone, is the image of God.

For a man to go to a woman for advice is like going to the lowest kind of animal to seek advice.

Woman is defective and misbegotten.

The wickedness of women is greater than all other wickedness. A dragon is more curable than the familiarity of a woman. Avoid them like poisonous animals.
—Pope Innocence III

There is no gown or garment that worse becomes a woman than when she would be wise.
—Martin Luther

All women are born that they may acknowledge themselves as inferior to the male.

To make women learned and to make a fox tame work out to the same end. Educating a woman or a fox simply makes them more cunning.
—King James

The quotes which you have just read may cause a reaction in you; nevertheless, these words did not move me to write this book. But the quote on the next page did! In fact, having heard the next statement, I went home and started this book!
—Gene Edwards

You would not let an eleven-year-old child stand up in a meeting and talk. Then why should you allow a woman to speak in a meeting?
—A statement made in a Christian conference in the twenty-first century

These quotes speak for themselves, and there are many more that we hear in current church life and in complementarian writing, although a greater effort is made to hide the male superior/female inferior beliefs. And so far we've only addressed the dictionary definitions which include , “power or right to command or act; dominion, control; a person or persons exercising power or command.”

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel" See A Mennonite woman fights to save her family yet keep her faith.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Authority and Power

We hear a lot about authority these days. Do folks who claim to have authority have legitimate authority? Where does authority come from? What does it mean? How do we know if a person who claims to have authority actually has authority? Can just anyone proclaim, “I have authority!” and from that moment he or she has authority? Or does a person gain authority because another person declares it to be so? Or can a person just “take” authority over another without that person's consent? And if a person takes authority over another adult in that way, (ie: takes authority away from the other person) what prevents it from being stealing? And why does authority always have to be over another person? Why is there so much emphasis on wielding authority over others, and very little emphasis on applying authority/control over oneself? What is it about genitalia that gives 48.3% of the adult population the mandate to take authority over the other 51.7% of the adult population? (for every 100 men, there are 107 women) What are the limits to authority? Does having authority over another adult, carry with it the right to school, punish, coerce, force, or enforce? If so, who gives that right and where is that mandate written? Is power synonymous with authority?

I plan to address these questions in a series, exploring what the Bible says about power and authority. I will conduct the study based on the foundation that God, I AM, is the supreme authority, the author of all, and that all authority comes from our triune God, and that God is the author of the Bible—as it was originally written. This study will also rest on the belief that Jesus, being a part of the God-head, taught with God-endowed knowledge, wisdom, power, and authority when He was on earth in human form.

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel" See A Mennonite woman fights to save her family yet keep her faith.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Honor to Whom Honor is Due

Over the years I've heard complaints from several men that they are not honored on Fathers Day like women are honored on Mother's Day. A secular man complained that stores don't print fliers that are 100% intended as gifts or discounted items for fathers, that they always include several pages of women's and children's items. But they print 100% female-interest ads for Mother's Day, with not a single item that a man would want to buy for himself. The man also complained that his son never honored him on Fathers day like he honored his mother on Mother's Day. A church-going man complained that the sermons on Fathers Day never praise dads and say how wonderful they are, but instead they are sermons telling dads how to be better dads and husbands. Yet, just a few weeks earlier the same preachers, praised mothers without a hint of suggestion on what mothers could do better. Instead, the Mother's Day sermon also included exhortations to husbands to be more loving and honoring.

The men are right: stores do include female-interest items in their sales fliers for Fathers Day, and omit male-interest items for their Mother's Day sales fliers. And preachers do brag up moms and exhort dads. Children do tend to be closer to their moms than they are to their dads, and honor moms more than dads.

This isn't always the case, though. When dads/husbands give selflessly of themselves, when they don't brag themselves up, they tend to be honored by their wives and children. Households where there is reason to quote the proverb “Man works from sun to sun, but woman's work is never done,” are households where the husband/father is less likely to be honored on Fathers Day. And households where husband/father takes authority over his wife, makes decisions for her rather than with her, are households where the man is less likely to be honored.

Perhaps surprisingly, this reaction of mothers and children is biblical. Jesus, himself, said it in Matthew 23:12
“And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”
Dads/husbands who declare their word is law, are exalting themselves. When they come home from work and expect to be served, they are exalting themselves. When they declare their authority is a God-given role, they are exalting themselves, making themselves superior and their wives inferior.

Jesus said, “He that is greatest among you shall be your servant.” On Mother's Day, children, pastors, and businesses are proclaiming that it is their mother who served them. It is their mother who connected with them and established a closer relationship. It is usually their mother who cared for them when they were sick and listened when they needed someone to care, who kept working after Dad sat down to watch TV, read the newspaper, or went to bed. No amount of “Me Tarzan” posturing makes anyone great. Instead, it is genuine caring and selfless serving that makes a person the greatest among us.

If men want to be honored, they need to stop thumping their own chests, and start genuinely caring about their wives and children. And after they've started caring, they need to keep on caring and cherishing and serving, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. And if they are angry because they haven't been honored after 2 days or a month of serving, they need to admit their motivation was not based on love, but was based on self-gratification and self-adulation, which is hard for others to miss because the stench is so strong. Instead of focusing on the error of those who aren't honoring them enough, they need to refocus on getting their hearts right, to genuinely loving their wives and children, to serve and benefit their wives and children instead of themselves.

After they have genuinely humbled themselves without tooting their horn, and served because of having the best interests of others in mind, then they will be exalted. Jesus said so. But by that time it won't matter, because they aren't doing it for praise; they are doing it because of God-like love.

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel" See A Mennonite woman fights to save her family yet keep her faith.