Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Itching Ears, part 8 (House vs. House)

Prepare to be surprised. Itching Ears crowd: get used to hearing the opposite of what you want to hear. In part 7, I suggested the Bible is speaking of a joint husband/wife rulership over the family. But that may be incorrect. Since the verses telling husbands to rule their houses, are usually interpreted to mean rule the wives, too, I decided to see what “house” means in the directive to each gender. Comparing the I Timothy “rule the house commands” to husband and wife, the wife is specifically told to be the head of, ruler of, the family, while the husband is specifically told to rule the dwelling, and the rule of the family is only figurative or implied. That suggests a much stronger rule from the wife than from the husband with regard to the PEOPLE in the household, and a much stronger rule from the husband than from the wife in the care of the structural DWELLING. This is in reference to the words “manage or rule the house.” In addition the husband is specifically told to rule the children and keep them in subjection, but this is not the phrase that has been traditionally focused on. The itching ears crowd has stretched the direction to the husband to rule the house to ridiculous lengths to get it to say what they want to hear--that he should rule the wife. The direction to the wife does not have to be stretched quite that far to make it say the wife is to rule the husband. After all, she is to be the head of or ruler of the house or family.

The phrase “guide the house” in I Tim. 5:14 that is directed to wives, is all one word meaning “to be the head or ruler of the house or family.” #3616. It is the only time that word is used in the New Testament as the meaning for house. It comes from the word that means “master or goodman of the house.” One would expect the husband to be told to be the Goodman of the house #3617, but he is not. Instead, he is told to rule his children and his own dwelling. #2624 “a dwelling (more or less extensive, lit. or fig) ; by impl. a family (more or less related, lit. or fig.):--home, house (-hold), temple.” He is only told to rule the wife by implication and then it's figurative on top of that. Paul is usually more direct.

This was not what I expected. Why would traditional teaching use I Tim.3:4 to put such emphasis on husbands ruling the wife when the meaning for such is so incredibly weak? And when you hold it side by side with the rulership assigned to the wives, the only way a person can conclude the husband is to rule the wife, is if you also conclude the wife is to rule the husband.

This agrees with the teaching to husbands in Ephesians 5. Husbands love your wives so much that you sacrifice your own preferences for their sake, even as Christ loved the church. In this context, to be her “head,” is to be her loving servant-provider. In other words, the husband is to protect her by keeping the roof over her head from leaking and falling in, provide resources of food, clothing and household goods for her, nurture her so she can grow to use fully the spiritual gifts God gave her, use gracious words of encouragement to build her up to perfection. (This is a type of “washing with water by the word.” Because wives grow best in response to loving, upbuilding, and encouraging words, and they get stressed and ill in response to reprimands and demeaning comments, etc.) And the wife is to submit to her husband’s loving self-sacrificial behavior.

Thought to ponder: If traditional teaching has the roles so reversed, is house cleaning included in the role reversal? If a husband who is worthy of being a bishop or deacon is to rule or maintain the dwelling (if you recall, maintain was one of the meanings of “rule” for the husband. “to stand before, i.e. (in rank), to preside, or (by implication) to practice:—maintain, be over, rule.”), does that stop at the structure, or does it include indoor maintenance? When did vacuuming, sweeping, mopping and gardening become “women’s work?” When husbands refused to do them?

A roofer told me he went with his wife to clean houses for her clients, and it completely wore him out. He said cleaning is much more physically demanding than roofing. He would rather put on roofs any day. Yet cleaning is what many men refuse to do. Instead, they leave the maintenance, the “ruling” of both cleaning and childcare to their wives. Where are the men who are so quick to call women who don’t submit “Jezebel?” Aren’t these husbands rebelling against God--like Jezebel?

I find this whole twisting of scripture so sad. Does each man who continues with the husband-leader or husband-authority hierarchical rule despise women in general and his wife in particular that much? Or is that all he knows? If that is all he knows, are we to conclude the men of today are the deceived daughters of Eve? Are any of them without excuse?

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 www.wanetadawn.com

Friday, June 12, 2009

Itching Ears, Part 7 (Ruler, guide, or manager?)

Those men with ears that itch to hear pastors and teachers expound on the male-invented right of husbands to rule or lead their wives, grab onto I Timothy 3:4-5 as a major lifeline of their ideology. It speaks of the qualifications of a bishop. “One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)” Verse 12 says the same thing of deacons.

Again, they use human reasoning to make it say what they want it to say. First, they emphasize “rule his own house.” Second, they reason that "house" includes wife. Third, they reason that if ruling his house is good for the church leader, then it is good for all Christian husbands, because who knows which of them God will call to become a church leader.

So lets look to see if the emphasis on "rule" is justified. Strong’s concordance says the Greek meaning of rule and ruling in both verses is “to stand before, i.e. (in rank), to preside, or (by implication) to practice:—maintain, be over, rule.”

While rule is included in the meaning, so is maintaining, which would suggest caring for whatever or whoever is in his charge. Yet ruling is emphasized and maintaining isn't mentioned at all.

The second assumption is that husbands are to rule their wives as well as their children. But Note WHAT or WHO Paul says the bishops or deacons are to rule. Their children and their houses. There is no mention made of ruling their wives. If wives was meant, wouldn’t Paul have said so? He spelled out children, and didn’t just lump it all into ruling the household, so wouldn’t he also spell out wives if that was what he meant?

But according to I Timothy 5:14 he did not mean that husbands are to rule their wives as a part of the household, because he also tells wives to rule the house or family. (see the June 5 post entitled “Itching Ears, Part 4). The King James Version translators used the word “guide” for the wives, but the concordance spells out that the Greek word translated "guide" means “to be the ruler or head of the house or family.” (my paraphrase.)

So both wife and church leader were to rule the house, and neither directive tells either gender to rule their spouse.

The third assumption, that what applies to faith leaders applies to all husbands has some merit, IF and ONLY IF the directive is not manipulated into meaning something other than it was meant to mean. It is clear from the whole context of I Timothy that both the faith-leader husband and his wife were to rule their household, family, and children.

Yet pastors emphasize that women are to submit and be keepers at home, suggesting a nanny-type service where the wife actually has very little authority, and where the authority she does have can at any time be over-ridden by her husband, and that she has no choice but to yield to that authority even if it is contrary to biblical doctrine. This puts all wives on the same level as slaves, servants, and menial laborers. At the same time, pastors teach that husbands have the authority to rule both wives, children and house, in effect, making any married man a king whose will can override God's own commands.

Now, most Christians would deny this. They would say a wife is not to obey her husband's command to steal or kill. Yet, they fail to realize that abusive husbands expect their wives to accept whatever the husband says about them as gospel truth. These same men demean their wives on a regular basis and the wives are told to submit to defamation of their godly character as well as violation of their physical bodies. In short, the wives are expected to cooperate with their husbands in stealing the wife's vitality and energy and in killing the wife's mind, soul, and spirit. The result is that most wives who are thus used get chronic illnesses that are a direct result of the stress, fear, and anxiety that is inflicted upon them by the very persons who vowed to love and cherish them. It is a slow suicide that the wives are expected to participate in, and often the children are included in the degradation and the resulting illnesses and declining health and abilities.

In short, this expansion to all husbands of a scripture intended for the qualification of leaders, isolating these few verses from the rest of the passage, is in essense collective rulership. The men keeping the women under control. It is domestic abuse that is aided and abetted by the church authorities, which frequently leads to domestic violence, for which the leaders have yet to devise a remedy. Could it be that both men and church leaders--both with itching ears--VALUE domestic abuse? Doesn't it benefit them all by helping them maintain their power over women? Doesn't it benefit them by allowing each of them to harness a member of the other gender as his personal slave or free-laboror? Just as the rich get wealthy on the backs of the poor, "Christian" husbands live lives of relative ease by standing on the backs of their wives. And they do it with the male-run church's blessing.

I’d like to add a piece of speculation here. Is it possible that men of itching ears have used our current-day family arrangements to interpret scripture? We know from Proverbs 31 that at least some women had household staff to help care for family, house, and/or business. Wouldn’t it be legitimate to assume that Paul’s directive to rule the house referred to upkeep of the structure and contents as well as management of the household hired help or even slaves? Why jump to the conclusion that “house” means “wife?” After all, the word wife is used elsewhere in Paul’s writings.

It appears the itching ears phenomena in this case started with the KJV translators, which probably started with the attitudes of men before they were born. Although the directions to both husband and wife include ruling the house, they chose to use the strong degree “rule” for the directive they supposed was for the husband, and the lesser degree “guide” for the directive that was for the wife. What is the likelihood that a male leader would look up the meaning of “guide?” And if he did look it up, what is the likelihood that he would alert anyone else of the truth he found? (BTW, the NIV uses “manage” for both church leaders and for wives.)

Although the above paragraph gives the itching ears crowd a tiny benefit of the doubt, they still have no excuse. The commands to husbands in Ephesians 5 and throughout the Bible, tell them to love, to be kind, to sacrifice for others, to put others first. But the men of itching ears focus on the two or three verses that tell them to rule. They also replace the object they are told to rule, with the ones they want so badly to rule--their wives. I repeat, they have no excuse.

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 www.wanetadawn.com

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Itching Ears, Part 6 (Loving Authority)

The men in some churches, (and they go to Promise Keepers to encourage more men to do the same), show their itching ears--their desire to hear their pastors teach God-approved male privilege, husband control of wife--by interpreting the husband's part in Ephesians 5 this way:

“Husbands, take loving authority over your wives as Christ takes loving authority over the church, that he might rule his household well. That he might be pleased with his wife’s perfect obedience to his will, and happy in his relationship because he is taking his proper role which washes any lack from his wife's character and actions. So ought men to take loving authority over their wives as they take loving authority over their own bodies. (A man’s hand or foot moves immediately when he so directs.) He that controls his wife, controls himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh by allowing it to do its own will, but nourishes and cherishes his flesh by keeping it under tight, but loving control, even as the Lord does the church: for as members of his body, his flesh, and bones, we obey the slightest prompting from Christ, our head."

The major problem with this teaching is that it is a re-writing of scripture and that it is false. Christ does not TAKE authority over the church. Because God is not interested in ruling a bunch of puppets, He gave us free will. We follow the leadership of Christ because we CHOOSE to follow Him, not because we are coerced.

Although many people come to Christ to avoid Hell fire, and thus get a totally skewed view of God’s character and Kingdom, this is NOT what the Bible teaches as a reason to follow Christ. Those who follow Christ because they feel coerced, are not keeping the first commandment—to love God with all one’s heart, soul, mind, and strength. Instead, they see God through glasses of fear of what He will do to them if they don’t, and may never be able to get to loving Him.

This would force a change on several verses. “If ye love me keep my commandments” would be “If ye are terrified of me, keep my commandments.” And “We love him because he first loved us” would be “We are terrified of him, because he first threatened us.”

These verses and their re-writing through doctrinal teaching are important, because they show in neon the “leadership” style and the belief system of the husband authority doctrine. Husband authority completely turns the gospel message on its head through the emphasis on fear and obedience brought about by coercion, instead of on love and free choice brought about by love. "Loving authority" is still coercion, which is abuse, and has no place in a marital relationship that is to be representative of Christ and the Church.

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 www.wanetadawn.com

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Itching Ears, Part 5 (Authority)

Every time I hear a man explain that Ephesians 5 is talking about the husband being the leader, I get the sense of someone who is trying very hard to convince me he does not believe in being the ruler of his wife and that being a leader is somehow different. Those men may have convinced themselves, but they do not convince me. What they describe still reserves for themselves all the privileges and rights of one who has the authority to make and enforce the rules and decisions against his wife’s wishes. Because the bottom line is that she is to submit and to allow him to make the final decision. Thus men deny the reality of what they do, and attempt to deceive others into believing their emphasis on “leading” is scriptural. In other words, they say one thing, and do another while they try to pull the wool over women’s eyes in particular.

In this post I’ll begin to look at how the word “authority” is used as a replacement for “head.” If Paul meant authority in Eph. 5:23, he would have said, “For the husband is the authority of the wife as Christ is the authority of the church.” But Paul used the word HEAD, not authority.

There is a church in my community that makes a big deal about husband authority. I attended a wedding of a couple from that church, and the men kept referring to the authority of the husband and men in general. They said the young man who was getting married had done the right thing in following the counsel of his authorities, and now he was to be an authority who others would look to. The young man was 25, so apparently a man only becomes an authority when he marries—according to that group. One of the lay preachers (because of input from me—yes, our work IS paying off.) preached with emphasis on the sacrificial love of the husband toward his wife. Then the regular preacher got up and did not mention the love of the husband even once. It was all about the wife submitting, and included how-to details of the husband’s authority role. He never mentioned the husband deferring to his wife, or even loving his wife, but repeatedly spoke of the wife doing what her husband wanted, serving him, how nice it was for the husband to come home to a hot meal after a hard day of work, and how the husband was to rule his wife. The preacher didn’t call it “ruling,” but that is what his statements implied.

A glance at the concordance shows that the New Testament use of the word authority usually gives the idea of someone with the right to command, to rule. “Privilege, force, capacity, competency, freedom, mastery, delegated influence,” are the words Strong’s uses to describe authority in many of the verses. Note that this word is not used in Ephesians 5:23, so I would expect the meaning is also not to be used as a description of a husband’s relationship to his wife. Yet this is the meaning abusive husbands push on their wives. They insist on male privilege--their right to be served, to only do work of their choice, their freedom to make the rules and break them if they choose, and their right and privilege to force their will and their desire to be master onto their wives.

And those who insist that “head” means “leader” but not “ruler” end up referring to this same meaning; privilege, freedom, delegated influence, capacity.” They deny that they believe in “force” and “mastery” toward their wives, yet their insistence that all Christian wives must submit ends up as collective force and mastery of husbands over wives.

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 www.wanetadawn.com

Friday, June 5, 2009

Itching Ears, Part 4 (Wives guide the house)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel," a story about a woman who grapples with her husband's demands that she submit--no matter what.
Please visit www.wanetadawn.com

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Itching Ears, Part 3 (Head = absolute power = Corruption)

The itching ears become very apparent when one takes a closer look at the words men use to replace “head.” Paul was known for his plain-speaking. If he meant that men were to be the leader of their wives, he would have said so. The word was available in the Greek language. But instead he used the word “head.”

Looking up the words lead, leader, and leadeth in the concordance (New Testament) sheds more light on the subject:
Matt 6:13 “And lead us not into temptation…”
Matt 15:14 If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into the ditch.” Both of these suggest a negative connotation with leading, one of them actually about one person leading another being a dangerous thing.
I Cor 9:5 Paul says “Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles?” This actually sounds like he is mocking the notions the Jewish husbands had concerning “leading about” their wives. Did he intend it to sound silly, or is that an unintentional result of differing culture/language? He could have said “Have we not the power to marry a wife?” Here he actually uses the word in reference to a husband leading his wife, but he does not use lead in Ephesians 5, nor does he direct husbands to lead. Perhaps he purposely refrained from using that word because Jewish men were using the term “lead about” and it basically meant “dominate” or “control” and he did not want to convey that meaning.

John 10:3-4 cements it for me. “To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.”
Very clearly, Jesus is to be our leader. In addition, Jesus, our leader, goes before us. He doesn’t tell us to do as He says, not as He does, like the husband-is-the-leader crowd so often does. Jesus actually goes before his sheep and LEADS them. He doesn’t drive them, nor chase them, yell at them, nor demand from them. He does it first, thus setting an example. Abusers don’t do this. Unless to submit means the wife is to follow, to copy, and she is to yell at him and demean him, and even beat him like he does her.

Even those who are apparently kind, and claim to not be abusers, yet reserve for themselves the right to lead their wives, are taking over God’s job of leadership. The men are more likely to lead their wives into the ditch.

After all, the belief in the right and privilege of husband leadership, no matter how gently it is carried out, still is an exercise of power over the wife. And one thing we know about power is that it corrupts. Why would a man choose to corrupt himself? And at the expense of the woman he “fell in love with,” too? It is because he has itching ears. A small amount of Bible study would make it clear that “leader” was not what Paul had in mind.

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 www.wanetadawn.com

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Itching Ears, Part 2 (Rewriting Scripture)

One of the “proofs” that church men have itching ears, is that so many pastors they have chosen abuse their own wives. In my networking, it seemed like over half of the women responding to those who blog about Christians and domestic violence were wives of the clergy. Again and again they’d share how the church turned against them, while their abusive husband was allowed to continue serving at the front of the church. Hannah, in her blog “Emotional abuse and your Faith,” March 17, 2009 post, includes a You Tube clip of Caryn Burton, the training director for the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, where Ms. Burton says the most common profession group among domestic violence perpetrators are the clergy--faith leaders. (Law enforcement is the second most common profession that perpetrates violence against their wives.)

How do they get from:

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body.”

To something like this:

“Husbands, lead your wives as Christ leads the church and gives her explicit directions, cleansing her by reminding her that she must follow his leadership, guiding her toward perfection by training her to maintain a cheerful attitude as she serves him and learns to meet his every desire, thus becoming more perfect and desirable. In the same way, husbands ought to lead their wives as they direct their own bodies. He who leads his wife, has control of himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he urges it to do his bidding, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body.”

Or like this:

“Husbands, rule your wives as Christ ruled the church and made her yield to him, to make her perfect, cleansing her by constant correction or scolding if needed, and to present her to himself as a happy church without any displeasing qualities. In this same way, husbands ought to rule their wives as their own bodies. He who rules his wife, rules himself. After all, no man ever hated his own body, but whips it into submission, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body.”?

Obviously, neither of these sacrilegious paraphrases are what the passage says, but many men ACT as if the passage says this. Christ neither whips the church into submission, nor rubs our noses in our inferior position, expecting us to be mindless followers. Instead, he served the church, both in death and in life, and raises us up to be joint heirs with him. In other words, He raises us up to His level, rather than keeping us groveling on the floor. Christ’s behavior is that of a selfless servant, while the leader/authority belief encourages men to expect to be served by their wives instead of giving themselves up for and serving their wives. The men expect a place of privilege. They think they are entitled to have their way. They think being “in charge” makes them more manly. Therefore, many men put out extra effort to get that “in charge” feeling.

But the directive to men tells them just the opposite. They are to sacrifice themselves like Jesus did. They are to humbly seek to meet the needs of their spouse, rather than focusing on their own hunger for power and control of their wives. Not once are husbands told to lead their wives or to rule them, or to be their authority. Not once.

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 www.wanetadawn.com

Monday, June 1, 2009

Itching Ears, Part 1 (Submission Abuse)

Many of today’s churches are full of men with itching ears. They choose pastors who say what the men want to hear, pastors who use their power to maintain the status quo—absolute male supremacy. The number one requirement of these men with itching ears is to preserve their “right” to exercise authority at the expense of their wives and children. They expect pastors to emphasize that wives are to yield, to submit, in everything, no matter how the husband treats his wife. Some are content to leave it at that. Others use that teaching to demand absolute power and control over their wives. I call it submission abuse.

It isn’t enough that their wives are already submitting to every whim of their husbands—often even to the nonsensical and demeaning demands. These men also are not satisfied with the full submission of their wives unless they also reduce their wives to confusion, hurt, fear, and sometimes even terror, to feeling as if they have been beaten black and blue inside and out—whether they’ve endured physical abuse, sexual abuse, or verbal/emotional/spiritual abuse. These husbands treat their wives as property to brag about, as commodities to be owned and used as nastily as the owner chooses, and/or they refer to and treat their wives as loathsome rubbish.

II Timothy 4:3-4 NIV “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”

One of those myths is absolute male/husband authority/leadership. They set aside Ephesians 5:25-30 that specifically tells husbands to love their wives self-sacrificially, and instead they replace the word “head” in the 3 verses that are written to the wives, with “authority” or “leader” or “guide,” and use the new word to change the meaning of the whole passage so that they can establish and maintain power over their wives.

Note that the words “authority,” “leader,” and “guide,” do not fit into the passage to the husbands. Instead “caretaker” or “servant” would be a better description. The passage suggests someone who is so selfless, that his entire focus is serving and caring for his wife and her needs and growth.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body.”

This passage is all about husbands choosing self-sacrificial love toward their wives, not about leadership or lording it over her.

The male authority doctrine is not in the Bible, but men with itching ears have rewritten the scripture to permit them to obtain what they desire, to have their way, and even to control their wives.

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 www.wanetadawn.com