Authority vs submission – Ephesians 5:22 continuing comments

Authority vs submission – Ephesians 5:22 continuing comments

Mutual submission on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

Since our last post on authority and submission had so many comments, it appears it is going to crash the post like another post did.  So I am asking everyone to continue their comments on this post (comments post #2) so that we can continue without having a crash.

408 thoughts on “Authority vs submission – Ephesians 5:22 continuing comments

  1. It looks like the last post crashed with too many comments. I should have started a new post a lot sooner. I am going to see if I can remove a few comments if that will help and post them here.

    Here is Susanna’s last comment:

    Hay Mara, since you enjoy early church stuff, here’s some more:

    “On the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood’s Web site, Grudem challenges egalitarians to provide an example in which hypotasso is being applied “to relationships between persons and where it does not carry the sense of being subject to an authority.” We have already found this to be true in Ephesians 5:21-33, James 4:4-10, and 1 Pet 3:1-6, and we find additional examples from the writings of the Apostolic Fathers. Clement of Rome, who is believed by many to be the Clement mentioned by Paul in Philippians 4:3, is an early witness to the mutual subjection of all believers.

    Let us take our body for an example. The head is nothing without the feet, and the feet are nothing without the head; yea, the very smallest members of our body are necessary and useful to the whole body. But all work (lit. all breathe together) harmoniously together, and are under one common rule (lit. use one subjection) for the preservation of the whole body. Let our whole body, then, be preserved in, Christ Jesus; and let every one be subject to his neighbour, according to the special gift (lit. according as he has been placed in his charism) bestowed upon him.

    Polycarp was the disciple of John the Apostle, and in his letter love, humility and good works are all part of mutual subjection.

    Stand fast, therefore, in these things, and follow the example of the Lord, being firm and unchangeable in the faith, loving the brotherhood, and being attached to one another, joined together in the truth, exhibiting the meekness of the Lord in your intercourse with one another, and despising no one. When you can do good, defer it not, because “alms delivers from death.” Be all of you subject one to another having your conduct blameless among the Gentiles,” that ye may both receive praise for your good works, and the Lord may not be blasphemed through you. But woe to him by whom the name of the Lord is blasphemed! Teach, therefore, sobriety to all, and manifest it also in your own conduct.

    The disciple of Polycarp, Irenaues, wrote in his only surviving work, Against Heresies, “Submission to God is eternal rest, so that they who shun the light have a place worthy of their flight; and those who fly from eternal rest, have a habitation in accordance with their fleeing. Also Origen connected submission with salvation in the beginning of the third century.

    What, then, is this “putting under” by which all things must be made subject to Christ? I am of opinion that it is this very subjection by which we also wish to be subject to Him, by which the apostles also were subject, and all the saints who have been followers of Christ. For the name “subjection,” by which we are subject to Christ, indicates that the salvation which proceeds from Him belongs to His subjects, agreeably to the declaration of David, “Shall not my soul be subject unto God? From Him cometh my salvation.”

  2. I find 1 Peter 5:5 to be compelling. Peter has spent most of his letter telling Christians in a pagan culture how to get along in that culture, including submission to the authorities which are in place in that culture (acknowledging the existence of an authority is not the same thing as setting up an authority or even endorsing the authority as having a God-given right to rule. It is simply acknowledging the existence of an authority.) Peter then goes on to inter-church relations– and just as we see in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (focusing on inter-church relations), we see that “one another” language.
    Here’s a link to 1 Peter 5:5 in an online interlinear:
    http://scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/NTpdf/1pe5.pdf
    The meaning from the interlinear appears to be “All of you, submit to one another in humility like a slave’s apron.”
    The use of “all of you” negates the possibility of arguing here that Peter simply meant “some (those under authority) to others (those in authority).” He just finished giving specific instructions to elders (as those in authority), and then to youths (as those under authority)– and then he goes on to say, “all of you, submit to one another in humility.” Meaning both the elders and the youths– in fact, the whole church– is to submit to one another. And what does the submission look like? It looks like “humility like a slave’s apron.”
    To address what Mark said in his post #614 in the earlier thread– This does not mean that the elders were supposed to treat the youths as if the youths were in authority over them. Submission is not some sort of blanket application that looks the same in every case. People are individuals, and submission is a heart of service and yielding to the real needs of another.
    I work in the nursery at my church, and I can honestly say that a large part of what I do involves this sort of submission to the babies. I don’t force them to do what I want, I look at their needs and what they want to do. If the baby suddenly loses in the book we’re “reading,” I lay the book aside. I let the baby take the lead. If the baby shows interest in a toy, I help the baby reach the toy. Even though I am in authority over the baby, and will exercise that authority when necessary (such as when the baby hits another baby), my submission to the baby is NOT about authority. It’s something else entirely. It has nothing to do with who is in authority. It has to do with the baby having needs for human interaction on its own terms, and my ability to meet it according to those terms, where it is incapable of meeting me.
    This is clearly not the same sort of submission that two adults would use towards one another. But it’s submission, nevertheless.
    The Bible speaks frequently of submission as submission to authority– but not always. The “one another” verses cannot, by their very nature, imply authority.
    This question of what “submission” means is, then, tangential to the question of whether the husband’s authority over the wife as seen in the Bible is just an acknowledged part of the (fallen) culture, or is part of God’s original design and His plan for Kingdom relationships. I have seen no evidence in the Scriptures to the latter.

  3. Sorry, this:
    If the baby suddenly loses in the book we’re “reading”. . .
    Should have read, “If the baby suddenly loses interest in the book we’re “reading”. . .

  4. Kristen,

    let me try and understand what your saying. The Bible does promote an authority/submission paradigm but not always. Therefore the husband/wife is not an authority one but a different ‘mutual’ submission. Which one’s are authority based and which aren’t? What criteria do you use to determine what means authority and what doesn’t?

    Now let’s apply that to your own testimony with children. You admit you are in ‘authority’ yet you say you are submissive to them. Maybe you need to define your words, becasue it sounds like you confuse service with submission. You don’t ‘submit’ to that child becasue you are not ‘subordinate’ to him/her (BDAG definition of submit), but you use your authority to serve and love that child. You cannot be in authority and submit to the same person…it’s an oxymoron- because to be submissive means to be subordinate, and to be subordinate excludes the possibility of being in authority over the person you submit to.

    What makes you think ‘one another’ changes the meaning of the verb ‘submit’? Where is your evidence for this change to take place?

    If you answered other things on the other post, i’m afraid i didn’t get a chance to read them.

    Cheers

  5. Mark wrote”

    ” I find it fascinating that you say Christians talk about ‘gifts’ not roles. I think there is an element of truth to your claim, but i also think ‘gift’ based theologies and practices are increasingly becoming unbiblical. Any ‘gift’ that is bestowed will always be in accord with Biblical revelation. Not only that who decides that one is ‘gifted’.”

    Wow Mark. Talk about making Grand Canyon sized leaps! I mention gifts and all of a sudden I am a pentecostal! “Spiritual gifts” as in the eye cannot say to the hand I have no need of you. Everyone in the Body is needed. (The true Body, of course)

    You do realize that you come here with preconceived notions. I think you picture (like most of us who were brainwashed ) a bunch of feminazi’s in sensible shoes who want to ordain homosexual pastors.

    You would be shocked at how conservative I am not only in politics but in Doctrine. I just happen to know that wanting authority over others in the Body is sinful. A true overseer is the lowliest servant who cares for souls. Puts others before him or herself. Jesus Christ is the authority.

    Why not ask me to clarify before you jump to conclusions? While you are at it, why not show me in NC scripture where it mentions ‘laity’. Or did you not know in the NC, all true believers are “priests”? Even women are included in that.

    “As in relation to culture wars, the egalitarian ‘gift’ based interpretations of scripture and practice may not be so innocent as you seemingly hint at. We are all products of our culture, egalitarianism included and probably more so than any other.”

    Gifts have nothing to do with egal or comp. They are given by the Holy Spirit to edify the Body. Just so you don’t go leaping off tall buildings again, understand I do not believe in speaking in tongues. But I do believe in the indwelling Holy Spirit but that the Holy Spirit illuminates the truth of the Word to us. (Best seminary professor ever!)

    The Danvers statement WAS a response to the culture. The entire comp movement was a response to the culture. If you want to discuss the feminization of the culture, you gotta go back to the early 1900’s where the true feminists were hanging out.

    The relationship pre fall was egalitarian. Ezer is help.God is described as Ezer. So are men in the OT. Eve was a help comparable to Adam. His mirror, so to speak. Adam recognized this…we know by his own words. They are ONE FLESH. How does one get authority over out of ONE FLESH, I will never know.
    So, egal is pre fall. Now, in Christ, there is neither male nor female. IN CHRIST…with full inheritance.

    You are speaking to a former comp. I lived it. Read all the books and inside I knew something was wrong. All around me men and women were focusing on each other’s roles. It took the focus off CHRIST IN ME and onto the roles and rules. It was a works religion.

    Only until I decided to really study the Word did I find different. Mutual love and submission with Jesus Christ as each believers authority. There is no layer between a woman and her Savior.

  6. Susannah,

    I’m interested to hear how you believe you have answered Grudem’s challenge. Can you explain how James 4:4-10 is reciprocal submission with no authority? Can you explain how 1 Peter 3 is mutual submission with no authority? Can you flesh out how you believe the apostolic fathers were teaching an egalitarian mutual submission with no authority?

    Thanks

  7. Lydia,

    It sounds like i offended you, that was not my intention. I was simply responding to your ‘culture’ wars remarks.

    I have to admit that you are the first egalitarian i have ever spoken with who is not a pentecostal or at least charasmatic in their theology!

    Now please don’t be hypocritical and say i am the only one with pre-conceived ideas, that’s non-sense. For example you said that ‘wanting authority is sinful’. Who said anything about that? I don’t want authority, i just believe the Bible teaches it, so who now has ‘preconcieved’ ideas??? I’d be happy to accept egalitarianism if i thought it was Biblical because i see how much damage authority does when in the hands of sinful men and women.

    The Danvers statement was a response to egalitarianism not the secular culture. Sure the two are tied but you overstate your case. It was a response to Christians not unbelievers.

    You have a few huge statements in your response that need addressing. The first is that comp is works based religion! Are you really prepared to state such an accusation and accuse comps as heretics or was that just a rash response? Second, you said that you only discovered egal after you read the word- so you didn’t read the Bible before then, and people like Grudem and Piper don’t read the Word of God? C, mon now, it is obvious when one saids such things that emotions are governing the discussion.

    Let’s be honest, you have over reacted to my comment. You bring serious charges against me and loads of other saying we are heretics and promote ‘works’ religion. Maybe this is a ‘first order’ issue for you, i don’t know?

    Finally, if you truly do read the Bible and have a true desire for the truth, why is it that you use Gal 3:28 as a proof text. Any time an egal uses this it makes me cringe, since the whole setting of that verse is in relation to salvation not ministry or human/human relationships. I’ll be honest and say it is disappointing to see such poor hermenutics in so many egalitarians. Some i greatly respect (Gordon Fee) but others not so much. It’s good to discuss Gen 1-3, Eph 5, 1 Tim 2 etc, but Gal 3:28 is terrible. You might aswell go tell a Jew they are no longer Jewish but gentile. Paul’s point is salvation through faith is not gender, culture or socially exclusive.

  8. Mark said, “You cannot be in authority and submit to the same person…it’s an oxymoron- because to be submissive means to be subordinate, and to be subordinate excludes the possibility of being in authority over the person you submit to.”

    Mark, p[lease use your dictionary. In it you will find that subordination and submission are two very different things. For starters, subordination is a result of hierarchy. It is a result of one being over another and can happen through legitimate social relationships, but can also simply happen through abuse and the stronger dominating the weaker. A person has not choice over whether or not they are subordinate, it is dictated by the hierarchy.

    Submission, however, is something that someone can choose to do. I can choose to submit to my subordinate. If you doubt this, then perhaps you should look at God’s example in Christ Jesus!

    Lets use words correctly and stop redefining things to suit theology!

  9. Mark said, “I have to admit that you are the first egalitarian i have ever spoken with who is not a pentecostal or at least charasmatic in their theology!”

    I must be the second!

  10. Mark,
    With regards to your post #4, I have posted a great many posts in the earlier thread that explain my position on authority. In short, it is that in the Kingdom of God, authority does not come by being born to it (as a man by being born male would be born to one day have leadership over a wife), but is according to calling, character and competence. I do not wish to completely start over with all my arguments for this position. Please go back and read my earlier posts.
    With regards to Galatians 3:28, the context includes salvation, but its focus is unity– it ends, “for we are all ONE in Christ Jesus,” not “for we are all saved by Christ Jesus.” How there can be true unity when one group believes they are born to have authority over another group which is born to be subordinate, completely escapes me.
    With regards to submission being the same as subordination, I disagree with that and with BDAG. Several examples have already been given above, of how Clement and Polycarp used the word we translate “submit” in a way that does not connote subordination. Please read post #1 above. I find Clement and Polycarp, who spoke Koine Greek and lived during or near the time of Paul, to be a lot more compelling than you or BDAG on what a word in their own language meant.
    I used to be charismatic, but when I was, I wasn’t egalitarian. I came to be egalitarian by being convinced of the position, not because of what church I belong to.

  11. Just for the record….

    Being charismatic has nothing to do with anything as far as one’s leanings toward being hierarchically or equality minded. There are charismatic individuals in every group. Although, I find it almost impossible for a person to be completely non charismatic. Usually, the chief complaint is whether one believes tongues still exist or the miraculous gifts.

  12. Mark you wrote: “I’m interested to hear how you believe you have answered Grudem’s challenge. Can you explain how James 4:4-10 is reciprocal submission with no authority? Can you explain how 1 Peter 3 is mutual submission with no authority? Can you flesh out how you believe the apostolic fathers were teaching an egalitarian mutual submission with no authority?”
    Absolutely, dear brother Mark! Oh by the way I am the third egal who is not pentecostal. At present I am Presbyterian but about to become a Free Methodist (due to moving to a Free Methodist conference Center).
    Let’s start with Jas 4. If hypotasso means subjection to authority, we have a huge problem with this verse since it would mean that as long as we do not submit to God and are in allegiance with the devil we have authority over God. Does it make sense? I didn’t think so. The antonym of hypotasso is antitasso (to resist). I.e as long as submit (are friends with) to the devil, we resist God. When we submit to God, we automatically resist the devil. The same is found in Rom 13: either you submit to the civil government, or you resist it. The text does not say that you have the choice of either having authority over the civil government or submitting to it. The choice is either to submit or to resist the government. Note also that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble; the civil governments will resists the lawbreaker and give praise to the one who does good. There is a parallel and it is the key to the question you asked. The one who submits, i.e. does not resist, is praised, the one who resists is him or herself resisted. In both cases the issue is not about usurping authority (as 1 Tim 2 is falsely translated) but the choice we all have in either agreeing with or resisting the other party. The civil authorities function within agreed rules and limits, i.e. they are not to seek selfish gain, and their submission to the people is seen in how they perform their task. If they seek personal gain, they have become tyrants and the Bible explicitly condemns tyrants. God has all authority as our Creator, but in the case of Jas 4 it is not his authority that is the question: it is our personal allegiance that is the question. We can choose to love God or follow the devil. Note that chapter 4 begins with the condemnation of adultery: the Christian community has committed adultery in that they have loved the world (and the devil) instead of God. This is significant for our understanding of Eph 5: Adultery is a breach of the love and devotion a wife owes her husband. I.e. resist all other temptations and submit to your husband as he submits (loves and remains devoted) to you. In Jas 4 the cure is to submit to God and resist the devil. This would not be possible if there was a hierarchy.

  13. Mark said, “I have to admit that you are the first egalitarian i have ever spoken with who is not a pentecostal or at least charasmatic in their theology!”

    You certainly must be joking.

  14. I wish i was gengwell! Sorry Dave, i should have assumed better knowing you are a Pressie minister.

    Let me put it this way, where i am studying at the moment, i have not met one egalitarian who holds to a conservative theology.

    It makes sense really, since most ‘conservative’ churches don’t generally allow female ministers, so more often than not the egalitarians come from the churches that do- which are generally AOG or the like.

    Let me say it is encouraging for me to see egalitarians who hold to a solid theology.

    Susannah, i’ll comment more on your comment later on…it’s dinner time!

    Cheers

    P.S to Dave- ‘same goes big nose’ (hope you get it!)

  15. Dave,

    I think we have a similar sense of humuor…maybe it’s the Aussie blood, i dunno. I have accepted your challenge to look at dictionary entries and found them interesting. Especially in light of claims that comps give egals definitions that are not correct, such as ‘identical’. Bare with me as i look at some meanings. I’m basing what i say on the assumption that you believe in ‘mutual submission’, or ‘reciprocal submission’. So here goes!

    BDAG translates hypotasso as i’m sure we all know as ‘subordinate’

    Most english translations make hypotasso as ‘submit’. So according to the Oxford dictionary submit means…

    “accept or yield to a superior force or stronger person”

    So it doesn’t appear that the english term ‘submit’ allows for such a concept as ‘mutual’ since it involves a ‘superior force’. But what about ‘submission’ which is similar but different…

    “the action or fact of submitting”

    The Oxford allows the term ‘submitting’ which is grouped under the same title as ‘submit’. So again it appears that the english words ‘submit’ or ‘submission’ do not allow for a mutual or reciprocal force. Therefore are comps all that wrong! It seems hard to understand the egal system when it uses terms that are oxymoron’s in nature. But what about ‘mutual’…maybe that helps qualify the term submit…

    “experienced or done by each of two or more parties towards the other or others”

    It seems that this is quite good. What A does to B, B does to A. But we must ask how does that fit with the term ‘submit’ or ‘submission’, since by definition it requires a ‘superior force’ to exist. Now reciprocal…

    “given, felt or done in return”

    Another good definition…what A does to B, B does to A. Now to me, this appears ‘identical’ in nature. Both mutual and reciprocal say that it is ‘done towards others’ or ‘done in return’.

    So i maintain that the phrase ‘mutual submission’ is an oxymoron in the English grammar. To ‘submit’ or be in ‘submission’ requires according to the Oxford dictionary a ‘superior force’, so how can it be mutual, since one is superior?

    So now how does this ‘mutual submission’ work in practice. You say it is not identical in all relationships which i think is right…but then we must ask, is it then ‘mutual’ at all? Apparently not! It seems to me that the egal system is a nonsense statement since mutual submission is an oxymoron. It’s not mutual because it does not look the same in all relationships, and it is not submission becasue it denies a ‘superior force’. The egal phrase ‘mutual submission’ is a contradiction, so please don’t accuse comps for giving wrong definitions to your terms. You need to re-calculate your terminology so that it does not mean ‘submit’ because you deny authority, and so that it does not mean mutual, since it does not behave the same in all situations or circumstances.

  16. Susanne,

    Thanks for your insights and thoughts on James 4, i found them helpful. But let me ask a further question to you which relates directly back to your claim at showing Grudem wrong.

    ‘How did any of what you said disprove Grudem’s challenge’?

    Grudem asks egalitarians to show a use of hypotasso between people, when it does not involve authority. IN james 4, we are told to submit to God. To disprove Grudem’s challenge you would have to show how or why God is not in authority over us, which is exactly Grudem’s point. You did not even address his challenge. You need to be specific, when we are told to submit to God, is God in authority over us…yes or no!- this is Grudem’s challenge.

    I look forward to further explanation on this and on the other Biblical and non biblical uses.

    Cheers

  17. HI Cheryl,

    I was just re-reading through your son Ryan’s comment and had a few questions. I realise you are not him, but i assume you know his train of thought.

    He said “In other words, because the husband is the source of the wife (just like Christ is the source of the church) and therefore she his equal, they should be mutually submitting to one another in love. (The church is also treated as the equal of Christ in the sense that the new person will have a new body and will no longer sin).

    I’m not even going to get into the ‘source’ debate, but i wonder what he means. In what way is the husband the source of his wife? What does that mean from the context? Then in what way does that parallel the Church and Christ?

    Ryan saids the Church is ‘equal’ in the sense that we have a new body and don’t sin. Is Ryan here talking about now or in the new heavens and earth? What in the context makes it futuristic like that? If he saids the Church/Christ paradigm is in the future, then it be necessary for the comparison to say that the husband/wife paradigm is for the future. It therefore does not apply today, but even worse goes against the teaching that in heaven there is no marriage? This doesn’t make sense.

    I wonder how Ryan thinks that the Church here is described as being equal to Christ when the church is told to submit! Christ is described as the head, the church His body, the saviour, and the church is told to submit to Christ and Ryan looks at all this and draws the conclusion that the church is ‘equal of Christ in the sense that the new person will have a new body and will no longer sin’…hah…did i miss something here? Talk about an importation of ideas into the passage.

    Hope you can answer some of these for me. Thanks

  18. Mark – thanks for taking the challenge!

    You said, “I’m basing what i say on the assumption that you believe in ‘mutual submission’, or ‘reciprocal submission’.”
    This was not necessary. I think if we understand submission first we will see how it can be mutual later.

    You said, “BDAG translates hypotasso as i’m sure we all know as ’subordinate’”
    Literally hypotasso means to place oneself under another. In light of this we need to determine if BDAG has used the correct English word when they provide the word “subordinate”. You see, if I place myself under another, then this is something that I have chosen to do. After all, why would Paul tell us to do something in Eph 5:21 that we have no choice in? The nature of submission is that there is choice.

    So, according to Webster’s Dictionary, is this what “subordinate” means? Apparently it means “to set in order” by “order, class of rank; occupying a lower position in a scale, inferior in nature, power, importance, etc”. The thing about subordination is it is determined by things that are often out of our control. This is why it speaks of things like ‘inferiority by nature.’

    You then said, “Most english translations make hypotasso as ’submit’.”
    Glad to hear it! You said, “ So according to the Oxford dictionary submit means…“accept or yield to a superior force or stronger person”.

    Hmmm, Webster’s gives us a bit more info, it says “to put under”, “To yield yourself to the power of another (not necessarily superior), and under submission we find words like, “meekness” and “humble”. To me this sounds like a much more accurate description of hypotasso. Would you not agree Mark?

    Note the difference between the two. One has to do with placing things in a natural order – something we might or might not have control over. The other has to do with where we choose to place ourselves – it is about the choice of being the last, not the first.

    You then said, “So it doesn’t appear that the english term ’submit’ allows for such a concept as ‘mutual’ since it involves a ’superior force’. But what about ’submission’ which is similar but different…“the action or fact of submitting”The Oxford allows the term ’submitting’ which is grouped under the same title as ’submit’. So again it appears that the english words ’submit’ or ’submission’ do not allow for a mutual or reciprocal force. Therefore are comps all that wrong!”
    Hang on there big fella! Because it is something that we can choose to do, then I can do it to you, and you can choose to submit to me. Subordination, however, does not allow for mutuality because when you place things in an order they go from highest to lowest which dictates their position.

    You then said, “ It seems hard to understand the egal system when it uses terms that are oxymoron’s in nature.”
    According to the dictionary, we haven’t.

    With regards to what you say about the word ‘mutual’, I think with the correct understanding of hypotasso the rest of your comment is seen as being incorrect. Perhaps your Oxford dictionary says submission is to a superior force, but my Webster’s does not mention this. Which is correct? Webster’s of course, as well as the other two dictionaries I looked up that did NOT mention that submission was to a superior force. Further, “submission” is a term that is used to describe the actions of a person who has lost a dual or a fight. In the case of knights, you submitted so you could have your life. Some chose not to submit, even though they had been beaten. They died – but the chose not to submit, which shows that those who submit to have their life spared still chose to submit. So even in this use (I suggest that this is where your dictionary is coming from) there is an issue of choice!

    Mark, you suggest that because we say the submission will look different in different relationships it is not mutual. But this goes against your own definition of ‘mutual’. If I submit to you by washing behind your big ears and you submit to me by wiping my rampant snoz – we have submitted mutually. Submission is the thing that is mutual – not the nose wiping or the ear washing.

    So, I suggest you recalculate your own terminology. I should add I am not denying authority. It is not in the Eph passage to deny.

    Finally, Mark can love be mutual? Can we agape mutually? Can we bear one anothers burdens? Can we pray for each other mutually? According to your understanding of ‘mutuality’, apparently not. We do not have the same needs, so we will not pray the same things for each other. Does that mean we cannot mutually pray?

    Again, Jesus told us to all carry our cross. Does that mean we must all die on a cross? Mark, it is just silly to hold to this view that submission must be identical to be mutual, and submission and subordination are fundamentally different. You have confused them.

  19. “Note the difference between the two. One has to do with placing things in a natural order – something we might or might not have control over. The other has to do with where we choose to place ourselves – it is about the choice of being the last, not the first.”

    Dave,
    This is such a key point. No one is ever told to “ordinate” themselves ‘over’ anyone else! We are told to hypotasso ourselves – it is voluntary, not involuntary.

  20. Dave,

    I never said subordination was the same as submit. I deliberately did not look at subordination since i was trying to understand your view. I can do that if you like. In fact i will at the end here.

    I agree submission is something we do. A wife is told to submit to her husband. She has to choose to do it, it cannot be demanded by the husband. God demands it, not the husband. But it is not mutual since the husband is not commanded to submit to his wife, as to the Lord. This is why ‘mutual’ is not effective to communicate what you believe.

    Let me ask if i understand you correctly. The husband is in authority, but he still must submit (so the act is mutual not the authority in the relationship). If you accept the Webster’s definition of submit, what is the ‘power’ the submitter is submitting too? In the context of Eph 5:22 what is the ‘power’ of the husband that the wife is submitting too? You may reject the Oxford ‘superior’, but please explain the Webster’s.

    I liked your nose wiping, ear washing analogy. Let’s expand it further…are they the same thing? As the dictionary defined mutual, it is done to others, what A does to B, B does to A. So if you wish to stick with the term ‘mutual’, you must by definition say it is identical. The way i submit to my pastor, is the exact same way he submits to me- that is mutual. Problem is, it won’t be the same. You are confusing the act of submitting (saying that is what is mutual) when what it appears you mean is that we all choose to submit. The choice of submitting is the same choice but it is not mutual. For it to be mutual, what A does to B, B does to A. There is a difference. That is why the term ‘mutual submission’ is nonsense.

    I might be reading you wrong but you almost sound like a comp. You agree authority exists, yet the one in authority is to serve (though you use submit) the other. That is comp is it not. The issue appears that you continue to use the word ‘submit’ which the Oxford gives as superior, and the Webster ‘power’ which is why the confusion continues. Of course those egalitarians that reject authority in Eph 5 have other issues to face.

    I’m really interested in how you explain the ‘power’ issue in Webster’s. It interests me so that we can see the relatioship between submit and subordination. If one is superior, or in power, is the submitter therefore not subordinate. You can be subordinate and still choose not to submit- kids do that all the time. Just becasue you choose TO submit, does not disregard the subordination.

    Finally here is the definition for subordinate in Oxfords just for your reference…

    “lower in rank or position…a person under the authority or control of another.”

    Remember this is a secular dictionary. No comp driving there theology into this one! So to be subordinate is to be ‘under authority’ and to submit is to ‘yield to a superior force’. What’s the fundamental difference you wish to make Dave?

    I must also admit that my nose is probably more out of proportion that my ears!!!

  21. Dave,

    One last point in relation to hypotasso. You need to remember that it is not an adjective or noun, so things like meekness and humility are not the best descriptions…we need to look at the verbal form.

    I think this is key to understanding it’s meaning in the context of Eph 5. A wife who is in submission may be described as meek and humble (as she ought to be), but our interest should be in the verb should it not?

    P.S how’s the bike riding in the back yard going? Have you hit the road yet?

  22. Ive had an apiphony (is that how you spell that???)

    Maybe egals should say they believe in ‘mutual submitting’ rather than mutual submission, that way at least the verbal action is what is emphasised not the description. Thoughts???

    Problem with that though i guess, is that the verbal form ‘submit’ doesn’t look good for an egal (in terms of dictionary entries), so the adjectival form may be best to convince people even though it doesn’t convey what you actually mean.

  23. Mark,

    You say: “I agree submission is something we do. A wife is told to submit to her husband. She has to choose to do it, it cannot be demanded by the husband. God demands it, not the husband. But it is not mutual since the husband is not commanded to submit to his wife, as to the Lord. This is why ‘mutual’ is not effective to communicate what you believe.”
    And…
    you also said: “Yes my wife and i are included in Eph 5:21 since we are both members of the Christian community. We are included in the ‘one another’ as are all Christians in the Church. We will submit to those in the Christian community that God places over us.”

    But here your own call for consistency in Bible exegesis goes out the window. Because by your exegesis, YOU are not submitting to “one another” but only to *“some others”*.

    So please explain why for YOU, “one another” does not mean “one another” but only “some to others?”

  24. ”Grudem asks egalitarians to show a use of hypotasso between people, when it does not involve authority. IN james 4, we are told to submit to God. To disprove Grudem’s challenge you would have to show how or why God is not in authority over us, which is exactly Grudem’s point. “

    Mark,
    I’m guessing that you are a well read Grudemite. Many of us here have read much if not all of his writings also. We just disagree with much of it.

    I would classify Grudem as an authoritarian. An authoritarian translates all of life as about authority and submission. He favors the concepts of everyone being in subjection to authority or being the authority figures rather than any concept of individual freedoms. He also classifies wives (and children) as in complete subjection to the will of the husband. With that kind of a life view it would be difficult to perceive the goodness of authority lowering himself to serve the desires or needs of another. It’s all about authority after all. Authority doesn’t lower himself; authority makes decisions and takes action. I can still remember Grudem making a point about the “fact” that when HE decided to move because his wife was not faring well with the climate where they were living, that he was not submitting to his wife or her needs, he was taking action. It was his decision. She had nothing to do with it. Those are the lenses through which Grudem chooses to view and live life.

    I submit to you that in the Scriptures we will find a different life view. The Messiah did not come to the world as an authoritarian figure. He came humbly and resisted all attempts at being viewed as an authority or power figure. His power was in how far He would go in arranging Himself under humanity in order to free humanity from the bondage of evil. Christ as God incarnate still had all power and authority as the creator of all life, but He did not exercise authority or His Will over us. He exercised His Holy Will over evil. But for us, His future Body, His primary motive was to serve us for our betterment. Everything Jesus did produced freedom, life, healing, deliverance, knowledge and optimum goodness for those who received Him. He taught us how to live by example.

    But we all are brothers and sisters in His Body. We are not Christs. It is not easy to understand how to lower ourselves and walk in humility only seeking to serve the needs of others. But that is what Jesus admonished us to do. We are to walk in agape, the kind of agape that motivated Jesus to suffer death on the cross for our sakes.
    Here are some ways that we are to submit to one another in the Lord…

    Romans 12:10?Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.

    Romans 12:16?Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

    Romans 14:13?Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.

    Romans 15:7?Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

    Romans 16:16?Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send greetings.

    Galatians 5:13?You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature ; rather, serve one another in love.

    Ephesians 4:2?Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

    Ephesians 4:32?Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

    Ephesians 5:19?Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,

    Colossians 3:13?Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

    1 Thessalonians 5:11?Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

    Hebrews 3:13?But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

    Hebrews 10:24?And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

    1 Peter 1:22?Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.

    1 Peter 3:8?[ Suffering for Doing Good ] Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.

    1 Peter 4:9?Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

    1 Peter 5:5?Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

    1 John 1:7?But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

    1 John 3:11?[ Love one another ] This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.

    1 John 4:7?[ God’s Love and Ours ] Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.?

  25. Mark,

    What do you think about Gal 5:13? Do you consider yourself excluded from being a slave to your wife?

  26. “I wish i was gengwell! Sorry Dave, i should have assumed better knowing you are a Pressie minister.

    Let me put it this way, where i am studying at the moment, i have not met one egalitarian who holds to a conservative theology.

    It makes sense really, since most ‘conservative’ churches don’t generally allow female ministers, so more often than not the egalitarians come from the churches that do- which are generally AOG or the like.”

    I think you are drawing a parallel that is unsupportable. At first you said that you had not met an egal who was not “pentecostal or at least charasmatic” in their theology. Now you have changed it to “conservative theology” (what ever that is). The two are not mutually and universally inclusive. For example, you would consider Lutherans to be egalitarian because they allow female ministers. But Lutherans are decidedly NOT charismatic or pentecostal. So, although Lutherans may indeed follow a “liberal” theology (which is also debatable), they do not at all meet the first criteria you set for egals. I suggest your environment provides only a narrow set of examples.

    I know this is a secondary issue but I just hate to be stereotyped. I am the least pentecostal and charismatic person I know (my Lutheran upbringing), but I also consider myself to be quite conservative in my theology, and yet I am egalitarian.

  27. TL,
    Sadly, they are often “read” more like this:

    Romans 12:10 Be devoted to ‘some others’ in brotherly love. Honor ‘some others’ above yourselves.

    1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage ‘some others’ and build ‘some’ up, just as in fact you are doing.

    Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to ‘some others’, forgiving ‘some others’, just as in Christ God forgave you.

    Ephesians 5:19 Speak to ‘some others’ with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord

    Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how ‘some’ may spur ‘some others’ on toward love and good deeds.

    1 Peter 5:5 Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. ‘Some’ of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward ‘some others’, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

  28. “Now you have changed it to “conservative theology” (what ever that is)”

    In actuallity, you have changed it to the opposite of conservative theology, which I suppose would be liberal theology. Just wanted to clarify my above comment. The point being that not all liberal churches are pentacostal or charismatic (not by a long shot), nor are all conservative churches stoic.

  29. 637

    Notice the redefining continues in this exchange:

    Mark : “As in relation to culture wars, the egalitarian ‘gift’ based interpretations of scripture and practice may not be so innocent as you seemingly hint at. We are all products of our culture, egalitarianism included and probably more so than any other.”
    …and have to be corrected –
    by Lydia: “Gifts have nothing to do with egal or comp. They are given by the Holy Spirit to edify the Body.”

    Significant, I think, that “gifts” is actually IN the Bible, while “roles” is not – Yet gifts are being called into question and roles are not.

    Kay,
    Does it ever end?

  30. Dave (19) Mark and TL

    Not going to quote all of you in the interest of time.

    TL keeps saying hupotasso is voluntarily arranging under someone else. Mark has given us the definition from BAGD- “subordinate”. Dave strenuously objects to the idea of “subordinate”, can’t mean that, must mean “submissive”….

    The Greek roots are hupo- under and tasso- arrange or order. Same for the Latin roots of the english word “subordinate” sub=under and ordinate=arrange.

    Personally I dislike both “SUBORDINATE” and “SUBMIT”. I prefer “being subject” in Eph 5:21 and “are subject” in Eph 5:24. IMO, it better conveys the PASSIVE force of the verbs used.

    Now, if we look at Eph 5:24 where God an Paul make a statement which IS NOT ADDRESSED TO WIVES but to the entire audience:

    “but even as the assembly is subject to Christ, so also [are] the wives to their own husbands in everything. ” Eph 5:24 YLT

    Dave said:

    Note the difference between the two. One has to do with placing things in a natural order – something we might or might not have control over. The other has to do with where we choose to place ourselves – it is about the choice of being the last, not the first.

    So, Dave and TL
    you think the wife is being told in Ephesians 5:24 that she is supposed to
    ALWAYS VOLUNTARILY CHOOSE TO BE LAST
    ALWAYS VOLUNTARILY COME UNDER
    ????????????????????????????????

    TBH, I lived that for 22 years of marriage and its horrid bondage
    a very bad way of understanding what Paul/God is saying there A message that makes the wife pretty much disappear into the woodwork because “whatever he says, goes”. I mean Eph 5:24 says EVERYTHING and if she is responsible to voluntarily “be submissive” to him in EVERYTHING there might as well not be a her. God shouldn’t have made her at all. Clone Adam or stop with a dog or monkey.

    Nope.

    The verb is PASSIVE.

    And I prefer the translation “SUBJECT” because it is a more accurate description of what the verse means. Paul is describing to the congregation that withing marriage a wife IS SUBJECT to her husband in a completely involuntary way IN EVERYTHING. Her husband’s decisions and behavior will have a massive impact and affect on her. Like a garden IS SUBJECT to the gardener. If the gardener withholds nourishing and cherishing, the garden will die. Or, as the passage indicates, like parts of a body ARE SUBJECT to one another. They are intimately connected and work together.

    I just learned about homeostasis in the human body- how the body regulates. For example, if you are cold, you shiver and that helps warm you. I think the way of understanding Eph 5 which makes the wife responsible to voluntarily submit to her husband IN EVERYTHING ruins homeostasis of the marriage. No longer is she allowed to shiver when his decisions are making her cold, she must abort her natural response to the deprivation in order to let him be first. I submit that that understanding is actually the polar opposite of what Paul/God is describing. Paul/God is saying Wives ARE SUBJECT to their husbands in EVERYTHING. Its a DESCRIPTION not a PREscription. So husbands- if you take her out in the freezing cold with no coat, she’s gonna shiver! That’s homeostasis of the “one flesh” of marriage! And husbands, BTW, you are to LOVE, NOURISH, CHERISH {Greek thalpo=keep warm}

  31. “Personally I dislike both “SUBORDINATE” and “SUBMIT”. I prefer “being subject” in Eph 5:21 and “are subject” in Eph 5:24. IMO, it better conveys the PASSIVE force of the verbs used.”

    Personal preferences are fine, but we need to stay in the same grammatical form. “Are subject” is a noun. “Being Subjected” is a verb but one in which one is being acted upon by another; IOW someone else is subjecting you. Hupotassomenoi is a verb in the passive and middle voice. The form of hupotassomenoi is that one is NOT being acted upon, but is acting upon oneself.

    More later, I’m out the door.

  32. Mark,

    “BDAG translates hypotasso as i’m sure we all know as ’subordinate’”

    Please check out in the BDAG under hypotasso, the reference to Clement. You will find that in this citation hupotasso is to submit to a “neighbour.” This is defined as submitting voluntarily out of love. It is certainly not submitting to an authority, because it is to a neighbour.

    In addition there is in another place in Greek literature an instance where the king submits to his subjects. It is quite possible for the word hupotasso to not refer to submission to authority.

    In fact, Clement, Chrysostom and Calvin all interpreted Eph. 5:21 as mutual submission.

    The expression used in Eph. 2:21 “to one another” is explicitly referring to mutual and reciprocal relations.

    I personally cannot think of even one of Grudem’s challenges which is not easily disproved.

    Cheers

    Sue (Suzanne)

  33. Here are more details.

    Eph. 5:21

    submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
    1 Clement 38.1:

    “So in our case let the whole body be saved in Christ Jesus, and let each man be subject (hypotasso) to his neighbor, to the degree determined by his spiritual gift,”
    2 Macc 13.23,

    ”[King Antiochus Eupator] got word that Philip, who had been left in charge of the government, had revolted in Antioch; he was dismayed, called in the Jews, yielded (hypotasso) and swore to observe all their rights, settled with them and offered sacrifice, honored the sanctuary and showed generosity to the holy place.”

    However, Grudem writes,

    But in spite of all these different forms of submission, one thing remains constant in every use of the word: it is never “mutual” in its force; it is always one-directional in its reference to submission to an authority.

    It clearly is mutual in Clement, and it clearly is not in reference to an authority in 2 Maccabees. I don’t find that Dr. Grudem’s research reflects the broad range of Greek usage or patristic exegesis.

  34. Regarding the debate as to whether hypotasso appears in the passive or middle voice, these two forms are identical in most tenses of the Greek verb, and so it is an interpretive choice. Either one could be correct, and it is much to be regretted that most commentaries and Greek resources choose one or the other without indicating the underlying ambiguity.

    This is one of the most misunderstood concepts in the Bible, that submission must be to an authority. A husband asserting authority over a wife is …… I restrain myself.

  35. Charis, your construction is fine, I think, but reading it the way you’re reading it leads to a very legitimate question about the text. Paul is addressing the church, telling Christians how to function together. He tells them in the verses just before v. 21 not to get drunk but be filled with the Spirit (definitely passive voice, as we cannot fill ourselves with the Spirit), to sing to one another, to give thanks– and then to “be subject” to one another. These are clearly all actions that Christians are to take. Even though we cannot fill ourselves with the Spirit, we apparently have some role in allowing ourselves to be filled, or Paul would not so instruct us. So if being subject has nothing to do with any action on our part, why is it included as part of a set of instructions?
    (Personally, I see the mitigating factor in the wife being submissive “in everything,” as the fact that the husband is supposed to be self-sacrificing for her and raising her up, as Christ sacrificed Himself to make the church “glorious.” She is supposed to be submitting to being made glorious, not to being trampled down– and if he doesn’t, she has a Christian duty to speak to him about his sin– and if he does not listen, to bring witnesses, etc. The bit in 1 Peter about winning him “without a word” does not apply because that’s addressed to wives married to unbelieving husbands.)
    I think “be subject” must mean something along the lines of “allow yourselves to be subject,” just as “be filled with the Spirit” must mean “allow yourselves to be filled,” or the passage wouldn’t make sense.

  36. Charis – Is 5:24 Descriptive of wives? Only if you divorce the verse from the surrounding text, especially verse 21-22. 5:18b-21 is absolutely prescriptive: “be filled with the spirit; speaking…singing and making melody…giving thanks…submitting yourselves…” These are not descriptions of what the Ephesians are, they are prescriptions for what Paul wants the Ephesians to do. Verse 5:22 continues the prescription addressing wives specifically. 5:22 is not a description of what wives are, it is a prescription for what Paul wants wives to do. In verse 24, Paul then gives a descriptive example for the wives to follow, but he has not ceased prescribing what he wants the wives to do based on that descriptive example. I disagree that 5:24 in relation to wives is descriptive.

    The confusion comes from which form of “to be” the translators insert. YLT uses [are] while others use [be] or [should be]. Which should it be? The precedent from verse 22 makes it obvious. You can’t be both prescribed and described as being subject in the same thought. Since the prescription in verse 22 is clear, the continuing prescription in verse 24 is also clear.

  37. I should add, that Paul’s instructions to men beginning in verse 25 follow the same pattern. He is prescribing what men should do by describing what Christ has done.

  38. Another option is that while v. 21 means “allow yourselves to be subject to one another,” the next use of the word in the phrase “for as the church is subject to Christ, so is the wife to her husband in everything” is indeed a simple statement of fact. Whether simply in ancient culture where husbandly authority was the norm, or in the more spiritual sense in which Charis means it, the wife definitely was in that position without any act of the will on her part. So the meaning would be, “allow yourselves to be subject to one another– wives to your husbands (because you already are subject), and husbands, love your wives in a way that sacrifices yourself to lift her up.” This would not be inconsistent with the logical construction of the passage.

  39. I disagree Kristen. If it is a simple statement of fact, then Paul is asking wives to remain in the authoritarian submission they already are in. How does this then relate to verse 21? Whatever submission is in Paul’s usage here, it is identical for all believers and wives. If vs. 22 is a statement of fact reflecting the cultural submission wives were bound under, then the mutual submission called for in vs. 21 is nonsensical.

  40. Hmm. That’s true enough, Gengwall. And there’s also the very real fact that the church subjected herself to Christ– it is that which sets her apart from the world, which is also subject to Christ but only in the passive sense. So it does make more sense for the construction to be referring to action on the part of the church, and of the wife.

  41. Suzanna wrote a while ago: “The antonym of hypotasso is antitasso”

    antitasso is a compund of “align” and “against”

    If hypotasso is it’s antonym, then it should be a compound of “align” and “by” or “with”. But it is exclusively deconstructed as “align” and “under”. What gives?

    Well, I looked at my handy dandy blueletterbible.org lexicon and what did I find?

    hypo means “under” OR “by” and is translated “under”, “BY”, and “WITH” amongst others. So, “under” is not necessarily the only possibility and the other definitions seem to preclude the idea of authority.

    It makes much more sense in Ephesians 5:21 to say “aligning yourselves one with another” than it does “aligning yourselves one under another”. (“align with” works in many verses, even those speaking about government – align with the governing authorities, i.e. don’t be an anarchist.) Isn’t it just possible that Paul, who does not even have a military context on the radar here, is applying a much more “side by side” meaning to hypotasso?

  42. “TL, Its distressing to me that you contradict facts.”

    Yes, I know how that can be. I need to learn to not post in a hurry. Comes from a desire to do too many things at once.

    I totally did not say what was in my mind. Somehow went off sideways. When I get a truly free moment I’ll be back.

    Nevertheless, I really don’t accept your interpretation that women are to be helplessly acted upon.

  43. A few hypotasso verses with “align with” instead of “submit”

    Romans 8:7 “because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not align itself with the law of God”

    Romans 10:3 “For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not align themselves with the righteousness of God.”

    Romans 13:1 “Every person is to be aligned with the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.”

    James 4:7 “Align therefore with God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you”

    It obviously doesn’t work with every verse. The point is that it does work some of the time, even with verses almost always associated with authority. That indicates that hypotasso may have a broader range of meaning than we have been led to believe. Ephesians 5:21 almost certainly assures it.

  44. Gengwall my man, you got it! I found also that hypo is translated “with” and I made the exact same conclusion. The reason is also that for hypo to mean “under” you really need “hyper” which means “over.” “Hypertasso” does not exist in Greek, wherefore “hypotasso” cannot mean “set under.” Incidentally we get the definition “set under” from Latin, I think it is “subicio” but it could another of the sub-words, and it is from here we get the word “submit” with the added meaning “under authority” for “sub” means “under.”

    Mark, I wrote a whole chapter on hypotasso and there’s plenty more, especially on 1 Pet 3 etc. Give me a moment and I’ll explain the subject further. Jonathan turns six in two days and I am trying to get his party all set while trying to clean the house for pictures for the realtor, while caring for a baby… you get the point!

    Charis, I have still not forgotten about you! I just have too many thoughts going on here. Can you hang on a few more days?

  45. One more thought before I have to go (since Gengwall just posted). Hypotasso is not the only “tasso” word there is. There is epitasso, antitasso, paratasso, etc. there are tons of them and they usually have the meaning of arranging something. For instance when hypotasso is used in the army, it signifies when soldiers are allies, immovable from their position next to each other, when they are fighting an enemy.
    In Luke 7:8 for instance “hypotasso” means that the person HAS the authority:
    “For I also am a man set (hypotasso) under (hypo) authority, having under (hypo) me soldiers. And I say unto one, `Go’, and he goeth; and to another, `Come,’ and he cometh; and to my servant, `Do this,’ and he doeth it.”
    You need the word “hypo” added by itself if you want to make the officer-private connection. “Tasso” has the meaning “to be set” but you cannot be “set under” someone for it would literally mean that you are set under that person’s feet (See Eph 1.21-23 where the enemies are hypotasso (submitted) hypo (under) the feet of Christ.) You can only be “under” (hypo).

  46. I take back the last comment! The centurion is said to “hypo exousian tassomenos.” Lit. under authority set. (Too many “tassos” to keep track of, sorry about that) But this means he is the one who has the authority, for the text can also be read “with authority set.” In Eph 1, however, the enemies are said to have been submitted (hypotasso) under (hypo) the feet of Christ, wherefore Gengwall is correct in that hypotasso, and hypo, can have different meanings depending on the context.

    BTW, Mark, I understood your comment on wellgrounded egals. There are lot of people who think they have it all together, but don’t. I’m glad you are here.

  47. Ah, baby didn’t wake up yet, so I have time for one more comment.
    Mark, you asked me how I had answered Grudem’s challenge. The answer is very simple: because hypotasso is never the coupled with authority. Even in Rom 13, the PEOPLE are called exousia (authorities), but they are not said to HAVE AUTHORITY, they are called authorities, i.e it is just a way to say government. We are told to submit to the people, i.e. the people who govern the land, not to their authority. Let me explain a bit more. In comps view a wife should submit to the husband because he has authority, but in the case of the government, we are told to submit to the people themselves, not their decisions. I.e. we are told to agree with them, and not resist them (by breaking the law). The rules are common and made by the people, not the government without the people. A judge does not come up with a decision of his own according to his preferences, he uses the law of the land to meet out justice. In the case of a husband, he makes decisions based on his preferences (i.e. where should the family live, eat etc.) unless he makes a joint decision with his wife, in which case we have mutual submission instead of tyranny. And this is where Grudem’s logic fails. If only the husband makes decisions, and if only the wife always obeys regardless of the outcome, it is called tyranny. Tyranny may work, but it is not biblical.

  48. Mark said, “I never said subordination was the same as submit.” (21)

    Mark said, “You cannot be in authority and submit to the same person…it’s an oxymoron- because to be submissive means to be subordinate, and to be subordinate excludes the possibility of being in authority over the person you submit to.” (4)

    Hmmm!

    I want to respond to some other things you said Mark, but I think it is great that we have some other people entering the discussion with different perspectives on hypotasso.. I hope you don’t feel ganged up on Mark!

    I still have not hit the road on the bike Mark because I foolishly bought another one, so now I have two, neither of which are going. 🙁

    Now, I am going to hypotasso my comment. I wonder who will have authority over it?

  49. Susanna said:
    “The centurion is said to “hypo exousian tassomenos.” Lit. under authority set.”
    Susanna, I am here seeing what I think are the two word forms included in “submit,” with the word “authority” inserted in between them.
    Doesn’t this render it conclusive that “submit” cannot automatically convey the idea of authority– for if it did, there would be no need to qualify it with the word “authority,” because if the idea were already there, that would make it redundant?

  50. Mark, you said, “I agree submission is something we do. A wife is told to submit to her husband. She has to choose to do it, it cannot be demanded by the husband. God demands it, not the husband. But it is not mutual since the husband is not commanded to submit to his wife, as to the Lord. This is why ‘mutual’ is not effective to communicate what you believe.”

    I am glad we both agree that submission is a choice. Your logic following though flies in the face of verse 21 where we (once again for the dummies!) submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

    With regards to Webster’s definition, the power is not necessarily in the relationship at all. It says “the power OR will of another”. i.e. there does not have to be power, though there might be. Therefore in Eph 5:22 the wife is not necessarily submitting to any ‘power’, though I think, as we have said before(!) culturally the husband had power. We know that. Peter also suggests that as the man is the stronger vessel he needs to use his strength appropriately when dealing with his wife the weaker vessel. This too could be the power. Surely the question you are yet to answer is whether or not the power is God ordained authority over the wife by the husband.

    You said, “I liked your nose wiping, ear washing analogy. Let’s expand it further…are they the same thing? As the dictionary defined mutual, it is done to others, what A does to B, B does to A. So if you wish to stick with the term ‘mutual’, you must by definition say it is identical.”

    Not sure if you have been listening Mark despite your clean ears! What is it that we are saying A does to B, and B does to A? Submitting. A submits and B submits. You never answered my questions, can we have mutual love? Will this look the same for a mother loving her child and a child loving her mother? Love is lived out in actions, just as submission is. If you don’t want to use the word “mutual”, then don’t, but it is not going to help you in regard to the fact that two people can submit to each other. Sue, I think it was, has given examples of hypotasso being used when authority is not at play.

    You said, “I might be reading you wrong but you almost sound like a comp. You agree authority exists, yet the one in authority is to serve (though you use submit) the other. That is comp is it not.”

    Yes, I have said right from my very first comment under Cheryl’s original post that authority exists. For the Ephesians their culture dictated that a husband had authority over his wife. The question all along is whether or not the authority is God given and therefore valid. Paul has told us all to submit, and goes to the trouble to make it explicit to husbands, parent and masters that they should all treat their wives/children/slaves by meeting their needs – dare I say submitting. He also goes to the trouble to say that wives/children/slaves should remember that they should still meet the needs of their husbands/parents/masters. The question (once again!) is does this mean that Paul is saying that men have a God given authority over their wives? Do masters have a God given authority over their slaves Mark?

    You said, “One last point in relation to hypotasso. You need to remember that it is not an adjective or noun, so things like meekness and humility are not the best descriptions…we need to look at the verbal form.”

    True, but the noun form can still be useful to display relevant meaning. You can be meek and humble you know!

    Mark, no one is doubting that their was authority in the relationship between a husband and a wife in Ephesians. The question that needs to be answered is whether or not that authority is God given or culturally driven. That was poetic. No one is questioning whether or not a wife should submit to her husband, but rather whether or not Paul’s purpose is to make the husband the boss.

  51. Mark,
    You see ‘egals’ don’t deny that Eph.5:22 says, “wives to your own husbands,” we just don’t believe it negates verse 21 “and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.” We allow both verses to stand.

    However, we don’t read the words “wives to your own husbands” as *”husbands not to your wives”* …because that’s not what it says.

  52. “Oh, and Mark: isn’t our relationship with God between two persons?”

    This is the WHOLE point! Why do women need a layer between them and their Savior? Why are they not allowed to fully mature in spiritual things but must be “under” the authority of another male believer? This would mean our spiritual growth would be hindered to whatever our “authority” is. This seeks to replace the Holy Spirit in our lives. It is simply not spiritually logical from the point of view of the Cross which tore the veil in two. Women are “adult” believers. Not perpetual children who must have a daddy figure.

    There is no way our scriptures teach this. It is simply very bad translating. The translators were not inerrant. But the Word is. That is a major reason we need the indwelling Holy Spirit to illuminate the truth in the Word to us. Otherwise women are not really a full participating part of the “priesthood”. And some folks want us to believe that only men get some sort of special anointing that women cannot have. Or if they do, they must supress it or it will be sin. Insidious@! Satan loves this.

  53. Kristen, you asked:
    “Doesn’t this render it conclusive that “submit” cannot automatically convey the idea of authority– for if it did, there would be no need to qualify it with the word “authority,” because if the idea were already there, that would make it redundant?”
    The phrase you mentioned “hypo exousian tassomenos” is not the same as “hypotasso.” Hypotasso is a compound word, whereas tasso (be set) and hypo (under/with) can be used separately and in the case of the phrase mentioned it signigfies the person himself is invested with authority. But you are right that hypotasso does not signify subjection to authority for it is never coupled with authority. If hypotasso is the antonym of authority we will have a huge problem with these verses in particular:

    Rom 13:1-4
    Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever has authority over the authority has authority over the ordinance of God, and those who have authority over will bring judgment on themselves.

  54. Dave

    You sound like a hoarder with your bikes…you are spending too much time on blogs and not on your bikes!

    Let me try to be a bit clearer. Submission is a choice, i.e we choose to be humble and meek. But that is far different than saying I ‘submit’ to a 12 year old boy. I do not submit to a 12 year old boy because he is not in authority over me. I will serve him or be ‘submissive’ but not submit or ‘yield to his superior force’. This is the crux of the matter, distinguishing between an adjective and a verb, especially in light of the verbal use in Ephesians 5.

    The difference between the husband/wife paradigm and the slave/master is that the former is directly related to the Christ/church analogy. So I believe Paul allowed for the cultural custom of slavery and told servants to submit, but in terms of the wife’s submission, to say it was only a ‘cultural’ thing and not a binding condition, would mean that the church/Christ analogy is only cultural at Ephesus. So if you wish to continue to draw a parellel between slavery and the marriage, you must explain how the two are connected culturally only. This is the fundamental difference- the wife is told to submit as the church is told to submit to Christ- it’s a lasting ordinance until the second coming. The whole slavery argument never works Dave, I would have thought you would know that, unless of course you wish to show me where the slave/master paradigm is linked with Church/Christ!

    No I wouldn’t describe it as ‘mutual love’ because it’s not mutual. You can say the act of love is mutual but the love itself is not mutual, it is different. This is the same point I brought out about the term ‘mutual submission’, when what you really mean is ‘mutual submitting’ i.e. the verbal action. To submit requires to yield to a power or authority. How can it be mutual when one is over the other?

  55. Lydia,

    I wonder if you feel like the church leaders are also a layer between you and God? I’m not saying the husband is the ‘high priest’ so to speak of the wife, not at all. Just that he is the head of his wife and she should submit to him.

    I don’t understand why you think an authority figure over you is a ‘layer’ spiritually between you and God. We all have authority over us, but that does not mean I am any less spiritual than that authority figure.

  56. Susannah (50)

    So with your reasoning God is not In authority over us…am I hearing you correct? So although we are told to submit to God, it’s not authoritative because we are not told to submit to God’s ‘authority’- is that essentially your argument? You follow this logic into Eph 5 and say the husband is not in authority because the wife is told to submit to him, not his authority

  57. Mark, you wrote: “So if you wish to continue to draw a parellel between slavery and the marriage, you must explain how the two are connected culturally only. This is the fundamental difference- the wife is told to submit as the church is told to submit to Christ- it’s a lasting ordinance until the second coming. The whole slavery argument never works Dave, I would have thought you would know that, unless of course you wish to show me where the slave/master paradigm is linked with Church/Christ!”

    Hey Mark, do you remember what Paul used to call himself? The slave of God. What did he call his co-workers? Co-slaves. Hence you have the problem in that the Church/Christ relationship is depicted also in the terms master/slave. But that’s not all of it. We are also called living stones of a building, Christ being the headstone (as in a pyramid); we are also his body, Christ being the head; and we are called a family, Christ being the big brother. I.e. the Bible uses more than just the marriage metaphor to describe the relationship between Christ/Church wherefore your argument fails. Get this point: the comparison in Eph 5 is only used to enforce the idea of unity.

    Husband as hihg priest of his home? Totally Roman idea. The Pater Familias used to be the high priest of the cult of the ancestors, worshipped at the domestic altar.

  58. Gengwell,

    In your definitions of ‘hypo’ I wonder if what you have said is the meaning for verbs only or have you included nouns etc. Also what does your lexicon say about the ‘case’ of the subject or object in order to give the proper definition.

    So in James 4 we are told to ‘align with’ (not submit under or to) God in the sense that he does not have authority over us…correct?

    This is all becoming hysterical! How far must we go to re-invent Biblical teaching.

    Regarding your last point “Isn’t it just possible that Paul, who does not even have a military context on the radar here, is applying a much more “side by side” meaning to hypotasso?”

    My response: yeah maybe, if we want to put our selves on a level par with the creator of the world, the creator of us, the sustainer of all things, and say that we are not under His authority. Sure I can accept this novel interpretation, if I thought I was God.

    I guess the next argument will be, that Eph 5:21 uses the ‘align with’ and then Paul switches with Christ to ‘submit under’- I can see where this is leading. Paul just loves to be confusing like this doesn’t he!

  59. Susannah,

    You still skirt around the issue, we are talking about hypotasso and it’s relationship to slave/master, wife/husband, Christ/church. Your little side arguments are meaningless.

    We all agree much more imagery is used to show our relationship to Christ. But never once is the corrolation between slave/master and Christ/church drawn based on the verb hypotasso.

    If we stuck with the relevant topic that would help. As much as this hurts egalitarians it’s the truth. PLease ‘align with’ the relevant argument that Dave has proposed.

  60. Sue,

    Re Maccabees…

    I would assume Grudem would say something like this…it doesn’t respond to his question. He is asking when one PERSON hypotasso’s to another it is always one directional. The maccabee reference is not an example of this. It is a yielding to the ‘rights’ (observances etc) not to the Jews themselves.

    Clement may be a good case for you. When i get a chance i will look into it more in the context.

    Thanks

  61. Mark, you said, “You sound like a hoarder with your bikes…you are spending too much time on blogs and not on your bikes!”
    I only have two bikes though. I once had three…though I think I might have had four at one stage. Or was it five, I forget. But you are right, I am spending too much time on blogs!

    You said, “Let me try to be a bit clearer. Submission is a choice, i.e we choose to be humble and meek. But that is far different than saying I ‘submit’ to a 12 year old boy. I do not submit to a 12 year old boy because he is not in authority over me. I will serve him or be ‘submissive’ but not submit or ‘yield to his superior force’. This is the crux of the matter, distinguishing between an adjective and a verb, especially in light of the verbal use in Ephesians 5.”

    So, you are saying you can be submissive, but that you can’t submit – that they are fundamentally different. I do not follow you. How is it different…dictionary definitions please!

    Mark, you said, “So if you wish to continue to draw a parellel between slavery and the marriage, you must explain how the two are connected culturally only. This is the fundamental difference- the wife is told to submit as the church is told to submit to Christ- it’s a lasting ordinance until the second coming. The whole slavery argument never works Dave, I would have thought you would know that, unless of course you wish to show me where the slave/master paradigm is linked with Church/Christ!”

    But the slave/master paradigm is linked with Christ and the church. Paul says, “And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favouritism with him.”

    Slaves are also told to serve their masters like they are slaves of Christ. Paul has linked both marriage and slavery to our relationship with Jesus AND in verse 21 he links our relationship with everyone in the body of Christ with Jesus when he asks us to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

    Mark, you said, “No I wouldn’t describe it as ‘mutual love’ because it’s not mutual. You can say the act of love is mutual but the love itself is not mutual, it is different.”

    I really must disagree! It is the love itself that is mutual. The act (how the loved is manifested in words/action/attitudes) might not be though. You have it around the wrong way IMHO. But like I say, don’t use the term mutual if you do not want. In fact Mark, I will submit to your assertion that it is the wrong word (though you are not in authority over me), and from now on I will call it “complementary submission”. I hope this is cool. I might call it “CS” for short. Or “Comp Sub”. Or “Sub Comp”. No, that doesn’t sound very good…

  62. Pinklight,

    This will be my last comment for a while.

    Gal 5:13 is a prime example of the husbands role as husband. The husband is called to love his wife like Christ did the Church. IN Gal we are told to ‘through love serve one another’, so yes i would through love serve my wife. This is a perfect example of how servant leadership applies both for the husband but more generally the whole church. Our love motivates our service (well at least it should).

    But note this verse says nothing about husbands being ‘hypotasso’ to their wives. Serving is not the same as being subject.

  63. Dave my friend,

    You are streching things are little thin don’t you think. Eph 5:24 says, ‘now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands’- this is a tight link.

    this never appears with the slave/master paradigm- not once. Sure slaves are told to obey their masters as they would Christ (6:5) which is similar to 5:22, but the relationship between slave/master is never linked to the relationship of church/Christ as the husband/wife is. This is pure facts we are dealing with, nothing else. The submission of wife/Christ, and slave/Christ is similar but again the relationship of Church/Christ is not.

    Are you willing to say that the Christ/Church command is only cultural? If not, why not?

  64. Dave,

    call it ‘mutual submitting’ since that is what you are trying to communicate is it not- the verbal action of ‘submitting’ not the adjectival description of submission.

  65. “He is asking when one PERSON hypotasso’s to another it is always one directional. The maccabee reference is not an example of this. It is a yielding to the ‘rights’ (observances etc) not to the Jews themselves.”

    Clearly, in Eph. 5:21 and in Clement it is NOT one directional. No exegete in history suggested that Eph. 5:21 was one directional until Grudem. Not the most traditional and patriarchal. This notion that “one another” means unidirectional submission is a unique interpretation made popular by complementarians and completely unsupported by any Greek grammarian, or any historic commentary.

    I do not see why a woman should bow to an exegesis that came into style after she was born. Why do men think that women should be at the whim of every exegetical folly that men can make up. I am insulted by Grudem’s exegesis.

    Don’t you realise that believing that “one another” really means the women submit to men, is something that a kindergarten child would not accept.

    I do feel that anyone who promotes this kind of exegesis is insulting the intelligence of the person they are talking to. =

  66. Hey Mark, have you forgotten about 1 Cor 7:22?
    “For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave.”

    Seems to me that the analogy slave/master is also used by Church/Christ although in the sense of freedom, not oppression.

    Can I ask you something? Where in the Bible do we find how the church submits to Christ? Where is it spelled out, using the word hypotasso?

  67. Mark, you wrote: “But note this verse says nothing about husbands being ‘hypotasso’ to their wives. Serving is not the same as being subject.”
    I am sure the first century Roman slave owner thougth that serving was the same as being a subject, and it seem Jesus thought so too.
    Matt 20:27-28
    And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave– just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

    Unless… subjection is not the subject of Eph 5 and serving is in which case both the husband and wife serve and submit allelon (one another)

  68. Dave, tell me: if the description of a relationship in which one always obeys and the other commands is tyranny, and the description of a relationship between parties in which both obey and command is democracy, what’s in between?

  69. Mark said,
    “Are you willing to say that the Christ/Church command is only cultural?”
    No– I don’t agree with the “only cultural” idea– that we can ignore some portions of scripture because they’re only cultural. Instead, I believe that in every passage, we are to take into account the shared cultural assumptions of writer and audience, so that we can understand and obey the principle being conveyed, that the original audience would have understood.
    So– the idea that the church is to Christ more like a wife is to a husband than a slave is to a master, is a beautiful, timeless teaching that I would never seek to circumvent. Nevertheless, the analogy cannot be taken too far. Look what happens if we apply the analogy strictly across the board in Ephesians 5:25-27:
    Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for it. Even so the husband ought to give himself for his wife. Ok so far, right? But going on: Christ gave Himself that He might sanctify and cleanse the church. Therefore husbands also ought to consider themselves like Christ, capable of sanctifying and cleansing their wives. (Yes, I have seen kind of thinking in some forms of complementarianism!) As Christ presented to Himself a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle, holy and blameless, so it is the husband’s job to present to himself a glorious wife, without spot or wrinkle, holy and blameless. The wife, then, isn’t really Christ’s, she’s her husband’s– and only Christ’s as she relates to him. Frankly– yuck– and I don’t believe for a moment that you would take the analogy this far.
    Clearly the church/Christ comparison only goes so far, and to take it further is idolatry. The wife is to submit to the husband as the church does to Christ. Does this mean that the husband is to the wife as Christ is to the church in every way? Clearly not! The husband is not the savior, sanctifier, or redeemer of the wife. The husband is not her god. I’m sure we can agree on these things.
    So– how far should we actually take the analogy? I suggest that we take it only as far as Paul took it: the husband is to love the wife and give himself up for her, nourish and cherish her, treat her as he treats his own body. The wife is to submit herself to her husband in everything, that she might be loved, lifted up, nourished and cherished. Not a hint is spoken of her being led or commanded, or of the husband getting the final say, here.
    So– what part of Christ’s actions towards the church are shown in THIS passage for husbands to emulate? Does this passage talk about Christ leading the church? No. Does it talk about Him giving commands to the church? No. Does it talk about His authority over the church? No. It talks about His giving Himself up for the church. The readers would remember the abhorrent criminal’s death of the cross, in ways that we often miss through familiary. They would understand that Christ’s giving Himself up for the church was in every way an act of submission. He submitted like a lamb who opens not His mouth, to people who wanted to kill Him. He said He had the power to ask the Father for a legion of angels, but He refused to exercise that power. Instead He was like a lamb to the slaughter. He did this to bring the church up towards Himself, so that she could have pure fellowship with Him. For husbands in a culture where women were considered very little above animals, the idea was radical– go down to where your wife is stuck, and give yourself to raising her towards yourself.

  70. Mark, you said, “You are streching things are little thin don’t you think.”
    No, I don’t think so. The passage uses the following logical links with each relationship being linked to Christ.

    Submit to one another out of reverance for Christ.
    Wives submit to husbands as the church to Christ.
    Husbands love wives as Christ loved the church.
    Children obey parents in the Lord.
    Fathers don’t exasperate children but instruct them in the Lord.
    Slaves obey earthly masters as you would Christ (your heavenely master).
    Masters be a master who remembers your common master – Jesus.

    The passage shows the same logic through out. Now, you tell me where in the passage it says explicitly that the husband/wife relationship is different, not cultural but God ordained hierarchy. All the relationships are linked with Christ – how is the husband wife one different?

  71. Hi Susanna! You said, “Dave, tell me: if the description of a relationship in which one always obeys and the other commands is tyranny, and the description of a relationship between parties in which both obey and command is democracy, what’s in between?”

    I am not sure if I am following you. I am not sure if I would describe democracy quite like that, nor what something in between would look like. I assume it relate to something I have been saying, but not sure what. Perhaps I am a bit slow?

  72. “I wonder if you feel like the church leaders are also a layer between you and God? I’m not saying the husband is the ‘high priest’ so to speak of the wife, not at all. Just that he is the head of his wife and she should submit to him.

    I don’t understand why you think an authority figure over you is a ‘layer’ spiritually between you and God. We all have authority over us, but that does not mean I am any less spiritual than that authority figure.”

    Mark, you seem to be stuck on this authority thing.
    From a spiritual perspective what does it mean to you? That those with churchy titles are always right and must be obeyed? Like Ted Haggard? Jimmy Swaggart? They both had authority titles.

    There are some very evil people out there who abuse their perceived “Authority”. Are you allowing for the fact it is ok NOT to submit to them. If so, then why? If someone has enough discernment to know better then why the focus on authority?

    Jesus Christ is the authority. we are to want all believers to grow and mature…grow in Holiness. That means they might just grow spiritually PAST the perceieved authority.

    Instead of focusing on “authority” why don’t you do as Paul in 1 Corin 4 and describe yourself and men as servants…actually underrowers…the lowest level of rowers on a ship that were usually slaves. Why do you focus on what you perceive as authority? Which is really the lowliest servant of all?

    Christianity is about humility and putting others first. Not about having authority over other believers. Elders are to be the most humble of all. They are certainly not like Diotrephes who obviously demanded to be followed and obeyed.

    Why not give us an example of how YOU think a wife must submit. Where is the line drawn that she should NOT obey her perceived authority. Is the wife allowed to teach the husband anything the Holy Spirit has illuminated to her in scripture or is that wrong? If he disagrees what must she do? Suppress it?

    The problem I see is that comps take metaphors too far. For example, pastor is shepherd. So that means we must stay dumb sheep who always follow the pastor who is only a human. Thjat is taking a metaphor too far. You take a metaphor about love in 1 Eph 5 and now women must ACT like a church. And you must be Jesus? Her Savior?

  73. Dave, I was asking what models of authority-obedience there are. There’s tyranny, in which one always commands and it is for life, and there is democracy in which some command, but the “some” changes regularly and the rules are made by all. I know there is oligarchy, aristocracy etc, but these are all similar to tyranny. Do you know of any other model in which authority-obedience comes to play? Which one of these is used in the analogy of Christ/Church?

  74. Mark – “So in James 4 we are told to ‘align with’ (not submit under or to) God in the sense that he does not have authority over us…correct?…”

    No – in the sense that the text is not talking about God’s authority over us. Why should we introduce it into the text? There are scads of texts in the Bible, especially in the OT, where God is seen as a side by side partner with us, especially in contexts where we resisting some enemy. This is especially true when we are resisting the Devil. What does God’s authority over us have to do with reisiting the Devil? Nothing. Scripture informs us: “if God is with me, who can stand against me”. The way we get God “on our side” is to align with Him.

    Mark – “I guess the next argument will be, that Eph 5:21 uses the ‘align with’ and then Paul switches with Christ to ‘submit under’- I can see where this is leading. Paul just loves to be confusing like this doesn’t he!”

    That would be your argument, not mine. My point was that “align with” makes much more sense for 5:21 than “align under”, and Paul would be consistent in 5:22. And yes, I believe the church aligns with Christ, although it certainly aligns under Him as well in some contexts. The question we need to ask is if “marriage” is such a context. I don’t believe it is.

    Mark – “My response: yeah maybe, if we want to put our selves on a level par with the creator of the world, the creator of us, the sustainer of all things, and say that we are not under His authority. Sure I can accept this novel interpretation, if I thought I was God.”

    My friend – you seem to be like other comps here who think that Christ and God have only one relational paradigm with humans, and that one paradigm is the authoritarian one. That simply isn’t the case. Stop putting words in our mouths by saying that we are contending that God “never” has authority over us. That isn’t what we are saying at all. What we are saying is that in the marrital paradigm, authority is not even in view. It is a reciprocal, equal, unified, “one flesh” relationship.

    “…This is all becoming hysterical! How far must we go to re-invent Biblical teaching.”

    I might give the retort – “How far must we go to reinvent Greek to support our biblical teaching”.

  75. Mark, let me begin by saying that I understand where you come from. I was a comp for 16 years and I argued exactly the same way as you do, and I had even more of a take-no-prisoners attitude about it. But as I began to challenge my beliefs, I could no longer sustain them. For example, where does the Bible EVER explain how the church is to submit to Christ? It doesn’t. Comps simply assume that it is found in Eph 1 where Christ is portrayed as the having his enemies under his feet. Surely you agree that the church is not an enemy and that we are seated with Christ in the heavenly places and that he is the head of the body, the church? The only place where the NT mentions hypotasso in the context of the church/God is Jas 4.

    “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the Scripture saith in vain, “The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy”? But He giveth more grace; therefore He saith, “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners, and purify your hearts, ye doubleminded.”

    In this passage, as in Rom 8 where the law of God is concerned, the contrast is made between enmity and friendship. The believers had become the enemies of God when they were friends with the world through pride. James wishes them to submit to God, i.e. become HIS FRIENDS (as Abraham was called, and Jesus called his disciples) instead of remaining his enemies. How is this done? By drawing near to God and resisting the Devil. Is it God’s authority the believers are told to recognize? No. It is his love, for he is said to give grace to the humble, and grace is given only through love; mercy is given through justice (i.e. mercy triumphs over justice, but ” the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.” (Titus 2.11)) So, you see, it is God’s love that is the context in Jas 4 as is the love of Christ in Eph 5. Paul wishes the married couples to walk in love as Christ loved us (which is true of all Chrisitians, Eph 5:1-2) by dying for us when we did not deserve it. This is the greatest love of all (Rom 5: some would die for a friend, but God died for his enemies, for while we were still sinners, we were enemies of God). You do not need authority to die out of love, all you need is – love.

  76. Just out of curiosity, does everything in Christendom have to be done by the book (Bible)?

    Or can we exercise our God-given spark of divinity and cultivate it through reason and common sense in order to serve the common good on both micro and macro levels?

  77. Well, Greg, I would say everything has to be done in accordance with The Book. But The Book doesn’t necessarily cover everythign we do. Can you be more specific in the context of Eph 5?

  78. Greg, a lot depends on whether the expression of Christianity is Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Protestant mainline, Protestant evangelical, etc. Protestants, and especially evangelicals, are “Sola Scriptura,” meaning that they consider the Bible their sole authority on faith and practice. The conversation here is pretty much evangelical Protestant in tone. Reason and common sense are important, but God’s inspiration as given in Scripture is primary– though we must, as a matter of course, use our own reason and common sense to help our interpretation of inspired Scripture.

  79. Getting back to the issue of whether authority of husbands is a God-given mandate in Ephesians 5:
    Understanding the underlying cultural assumptions can be very important in helping us see what’s missing in this passage, which the original audience could not have helped noticing, but which we tend to overlook.
    Here’s a quote from Michael Kruse in The Kruse Kronicle, about the ancient world’s household codes:
    http://krusekronicle.typepad.com/kruse_kronicle/2007/07/household-the-h.html
    “The ancient Greeks saw the household as the primary institution through which order was kept in society. To promote effective household management Greek sages would offer their advice to the paterfamilias on household management. These discourses came to be known as the “household codes” or “household tables” (and sometimes the German haustafel.) Aristotle’s household instructions (fourth century B.C.E.) in Book I of Politics are among the most commonly referenced of the household codes. Included in the codes are usually instructions about how the paterfamilias should manage his wife, his children and his slaves. There is often wisdom given about how to manage wealth. Most codes articulate the importance of the paterfamilias dutifully fulfilling his role for the good of society. Some sages advocated an authoritarian approach and others a more benevolent demeanor but whatever their take was on style, they were unified in their conviction that the paterfamilias was obligated to rule his household for the good of society.”
    When I quoted from 1 Peter 5:1-5 earlier, I couldn’t help noticing the specific instructions he gave to elders about leading the church: “Be shepherds of God’s flock, serving as overseers. . . not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples. . .”
    How easy would it have been for Peter and Paul, both of whom set out lists of household instructions as Kruse describes, to have said something similar for husbands that Peter says to church elders? “Husbands,” he could have said, “guide and lead your wives as those under your care, not lording it over them, but being examples.” The original readers, accustomed to ancient Roman and Greek household codes, would have found the complete absense of any such instruction to be absolutely glaring. And yet we, coming from a society where husbands are not considered patriarchs of their clans, miss this– and we see the opposite of what they saw, which was a omission of any instruction to husbands to take authority, replaced instead by a command to love and act like Christ did in His submissive death!

  80. As you pointed out earlier, Kristin, the Christ/Church analogy can only be take so far or it becomes idolatry.
    Ephesians doesn’t say that “just like Christ, husbands are capable of saving, sanctifying and cleansing their wives.” So, Paul is most certainly not saying the husband is to the wife as Christ is to the church in *every* way.
    Only verse 25 applies to husbands:
    “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it”,

    …obviously, verses 26-27, “so that He might make it holy by cleansing it, washing it with water and the word, and might present the church to Himself in all its glory, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind, but holy and without fault,” -DO NOT*.

    The passage never even mentions Christ’s authority or His leading of the Church – that is found nowhere in this analogy.

  81. Greg.

    Your comment caught my attention.

    As far as doing everything “by the book” — sometimes I think christians feel that to be fully living their life for God, as much as is possible, requires embracing every word in their own Bibles (certainly the New Testament) as binding on their lives. For example, churches conduct baby dedications simply because that’s what Mary and Joseph did with Jesus. Does this make it necessary for us? Part of what it means to be a christian? I really don’t think so.

    The intense pursuit of God can become the obsessive pursuit of words. Words in “the book” and phrases are parsed to oblivion to the point of losing the point of the message or idea as a whole. Kind of like arguing with someone for so long you can’t even remember what the issue was in the first place. Certainly this is done with many aspects of the complementarian and egalitarian viewpoints.

    While is is good to be able to argue one’s point of view if it is being challenged, I can’t help but feel this is all much ado about nothing. We’ve twisted our brains tighter and tighter, impossibly convoluting what is so incredibly obvious and plain: human relationships are most successful when we treat each other the way we want to be treated. Every definition of love and God’s love boils down to this.

    I tend to think that we’d all do a much better job of serving the common good on a macro and micro level if we relaxed somewhat and just kept this golden rule principle in the forefront of our minds. We’d certainly have more time and energy for it.

  82. Thank you for your replies Gengwall & Kristen! (#’s 82 & 83)
    As far as I can determine from well over 700 comments now (counting the previous thread), it’s largely a question of Biblical interpretation. Aside from the essentials, who has THE right interpretation? Does it even have to have one?

    Elastigirl #87~ You wrote:

    “…As far as doing everything ”by the book” — sometimes I think christians feel that to be fully living their life for God, as much as is possible, requires embracing every word in their own Bibles (certainly the New Testament) as binding on their lives. For example, churches conduct baby dedications simply because that’s what Mary and Joseph did with Jesus. Does this make it necessary for us? Part of what it means to be a christian? I really don’t think so…”
    And some churches will swear up and down that child baptism and dedications are wrong. Thank you for your entire comment Elastigirl! (#87) You have articulated well what I could not at the time.

  83. Paul tells us that we are free to debate and disagree on disputable issues, as long as doctrine is universally upheld (Romans 14, I think). Eph 5 would be a disputable item, I would think, although occassionally someone turns submission into a sin issue or even a salvation issue which makes the passage bleed over into doctrine. Which brings us back to your question, I guess. That is about the time I just give a great big *SIGH*

  84. Susanna, you asked, “Do you know of any other model in which authority-obedience comes to play? Which one of these is used in the analogy of Christ/Church?”

    I do not think there is an authority/obedience model that can accurately describe the Christ/church analogy. This is why the NT uses the analogy of a groom and his bride. It is a relationship between two individuals who although remain seperate become one. I think that if we want to link the question to Ephesians then I would point us again to Eph 1:10 and say that the plan is that we will all be in harmony with Christ as the head. We know that head does not equate with authority.

    Hierarchalists don’t seem to mention that we will rule with Christ, that we are joint heirs with Christ, that we will one day judge, that we are his friends not his servants. And all this when he has recieved all glory, honour and power. I am not denying Christ’s authority, but for those who love him as they have been loved, authority is not relevant. They are his friends.

    Not sure if this answers the question or was what you were after.

    I am bowing out of things again for a while…life, sadly, stops for no blog! 🙁

  85. Elastagirl and Greg (#87 & 88) — I am in agreement with you, too. Sometimes endless wrangling over what the Bible says and doesn’t say eclipses simply following Jesus and His command to “love one another, as I have loved you” and “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The problem, of course, is that when someone finds justification in the Bible to assert the God-given authority of one group over another, and that authority can and has been used to harm a whole group of people, then because the Bible is held to be the sole authority on faith and practice, such claims really must be refuted from the Bible. But I think a really good test of an interpretation is, “Does following this interpretation uphold the command to do unto others as we would have them do unto us? Or does this interpretation bind up a heavy burden to tie upon someone’s back?”
    I would really much rather it be the case that this conversation about whether women are born to be under male authority, was unnecessary, because everyone recognized that it was against the law of “do unto others.” If you wouldn’t want someone asserting that they have a God-given right to authority over you, regardless of their calling, character or competence, but simply by the privilege of their birth and the lack of privilege of yours– then do not so assert to someone else!
    But unfortunately the conversation is necessary, because as long as some sectors of Christianity assert male privilege, then I must reply to the contrary. It might be different if they’d just keep it to themselves and practice it at home with their own wives (I wouldn’t mind– if it works for them for him to lead and her to follow, and they both feel happy, loved and respected, I have no quarrel), but they must needs tell me how to run my marriage too (or rather, how my husband must run our marriage, since he’s supposed to be the leader– but he wants an equal partner with equal say, and I’m happy to submit!)

  86. Kristen,

    i agree with you on the ‘cultural’ relevance of Eph 5. I guess where i would differ is that the one flesh union or ‘mystery’ of Gen 1-3 was a foreshadow of Christ and the Church.

    Now the question is, wihtin the Christ/Church model, does auhtority exist. I believe it does. I’m not denying that we are co-heirs with Chirst etc- they are glorious truths, but rather also affirming that we will all bow down and worship Jesus as Lord (Phil 2). The problem i see with the egal system is it seems to neglect the latter issue adn only focus on us being ‘friends’. If you couple this with precise definitions of ‘head’ and ‘submit’ as well as where we sit as creatures and not creators i find it hard to accept that Egalitarianism is a biblical alternative.

    So if the original marriage was a foreshadow of Christ/Church, adn authority exists in the church/Christ relatioship, why ought we deny the human relationship is different.

    To me, you must either reject that marriage is a reflection of the ‘true’ marriage, or reject that Christ has authority over his church to accept an egal system on Eph 5. I’m not willing to do either since i believe both options are unbiblical.

  87. Gengwell,

    Regarding ‘disputable’ issues i think we ought to stick to what Paul allows as disputable. Romans 14 doesn’t intorduce issues like ministry into disputable matters- that is something we often do.

    Now i don’t know where i sit on the gender debate= doctrinal issue, but i don’t think it is helpful to classify it into a category that Paul never does. Of course though, it will always be difficult to discern what is doctinal and what isn’t in modern debates.

    I agree whole heartedly with you that scripture has to be the determining factor.

    Cheers

  88. Dave, I merely wanted to see if you had an insight into an arrangement that I did not. I.e. it cannot be tyranny (one always making the decisions), therefore it must be democracy (making decisions together as a team).

    Mark, you wrote: “To me, you must either reject that marriage is a reflection of the ‘true’ marriage, or reject that Christ has authority over his church to accept an egal system on Eph 5. I’m not willing to do either since i believe both options are unbiblical.”

    I dare you to read Eph 5 without reading authority into the text. I dare you to read the whole entire Bible without reading authority into the text when it is not explicitly mentioned. Will you accept my dare, or will you go on thinking you got it right? Don’t forget that God does not share his “Godlikeness” with humans, i.e. what God has and is because he is God, is not for humans to take. Either you agree that God has attributes that only he can have, or you make the make the man also divine in that he, but not the woman, can have God-like attributes. But consider also this: does the church not have authority? Did Christ not share his authority with the church? Are we not called the co-workers of God? Are we not able to perform the same as did Christ on earth? Why do you only make the man to be like “Christ” when it was the mission of Christ to make all of us like himself? Paul wrote that all of us ought to imitate Christ. How does it differ when it comes to women? You see the relationship between Christ and the church only in terms of authority-obedience, which is based on the false translations of hypotasso and kephale.

    As a last note let me leave you with this:
    Two cannot have authority over each other at the same time, but they can both oppose each other.
    Two cannot obey each other at the same time, but they can draw near to each other.
    If the first mentioned does not fit Eph 5.21 because it is impossible, perhaps the latter does, since it is possible. Incidentally, I did a search through the early church writings today and I found that the latter was precisely what they wrote: We should not oppose each other, or God, but to draw near and remain near. This is the biblical definition of Eph 5.21.

  89. “So if the original marriage was a foreshadow of Christ/Church, adn authority exists in the church/Christ relatioship, why ought we deny the human relationship is different.”

    Mark,
    If you think Paul’s analogy extends that far, why stop at assuming Christ’s authority over your wife? Why not include everything else Christ does/is in relation to the Church?

    Why not include saving, sanctifying and cleansing?

    Why not presenting “the wife/church to husband/Himself in all its glory, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind, but holy and without fault?”

  90. Mark – “Now the question is, wihtin the Christ/Church model, does auhtority exist. I believe it does. I’m not denying that we are co-heirs with Chirst etc- they are glorious truths, but rather also affirming that we will all bow down and worship Jesus as Lord (Phil 2). ”

    This is the entire problem with your argument. Phil 2 is not a marriage or head/body metaphor. Nowhere in the bible does it say that Christ’s bride will bow down before Him. Christ has many different types of relationships with humanity and they can not be morphed into one all encompassing top-down gierarchy. Eph 5 is one; Phil 2 is an entirely different one. There is no way to draw a parallel between the two. They are describing totally different relational paradigms.

  91. Mark,
    You said, “So if the original marriage was a foreshadow of Christ/Church, adn authority exists in the church/Christ relatioship, why ought we deny the human relationship is different.” By which I must assume you mean, “why ought we deny the human relationship is NO different,” because that it IS different, is what I am asserting.

    To which I can only reply as I did before. Worship exists in the church/Christ relationship. Why ought we deny the human relationship is no different?
    Eternal salvation exists in the church/Christ relationship. Why ought we deny the human relationship is no different?
    Resurrection exists in the church/Christ relationship. Why ought we deny the human relationship is no different?

    Which means that if we say a husband is to his wife, everything Christ is to the church, then we have the husband as his wife’s god, worthy of receiving her worship, able to save her and resurrect her from the dead.
    This has to be as unacceptable to you as it is to me.
    Therefore, we have to limit the analogy. The husband/wife relationship cannot have everything the church/Christ relationship has. The only question, then, is how we limit it.

    Do we limit it according to our own preconceived notions? If authority has traditionally been assumed between husband and wife, therefore we can extrapolate that this is part of what Paul was talking about? How about the ability of Christ to discipline His church? If He can tell the church at Ephesus in Rev. 2:5 that unless she repents, He will come and take her lampstand from its place (note that in Rev. 1:20 the “lampstand” is identified as the church itself– so Christ is warning the church that she will cease to exist as one of His churches)– can the husband tell his wife how she has displeased him and how he is going to discipline her if she doesn’t repent? Can he tell her he will remove her as his wife unless she does his will?

    I hope you will say no. I have seen complementarians who believe husbands have the power to discipline their wives– but there is nothing, anywhere in Scripture, that gives a husband such power. Between Christ and the church, though, such power certainly exists.

    So– how far DO we take the church/Christ analogy? I for one absolutely refuse to worship my husband, look to him for salvation, or in any other way treat him as if he were Christ– not for one minute will I commit such a grievous sin!

    I suggest we limit the church/Christ analogy to only those things that Paul mentions in the verses where he makes the analogy itself. The husband is said to be “head” in a head-body metaphor with the wife as Christ is in a head-body relationship with the church– and Christ as “head,” according to Eph. 4:15 and Col. 2:9, means the source of nourishment and life– it is a provisionary function. But the passage goes on to speak of Christ as Savior– and the comparison to the husband is not extended into this function. The husband is then told to “love” the wife as Christ loved the church when He “gave Himself” for her. Then it goes on to say that Christ sanctifies and cleanses and washes the church, and presents her to Himself– again, the comparison to the husband does not extend here. Then it says the husband should “nourish and cherish” the wife as his own body, just as the Lord does the church. But NOT ONCE does it say the husband should lead his wife as Christ leads the church, or that the husband should command his wife as Christ commands the church. Salvation and cleansing are at least mentioned– but only as being Christ’s job, not the husband’s. Authority isn’t mentioned in this passage at all.
    When the Scriptures make a comparison like church/Christ to wife/husband, we must be careful, or we’ll end up idolaters. We must be careful to add nothing to what the passage actually says– not even authority.

  92. I agree with Kay, Mark, why do you not extend the comparison to the forgiveness of sins, healing, raising from the dead, intercessory prayer, exorcism, etc. Why stop at authority, especially since you want to be consistent in your theology?

  93. “How about the ability of Christ to discipline His church? If He can tell the church at Ephesus in Rev. 2:5 that unless she repents, He will come and take her lampstand from its place (note that in Rev. 1:20 the “lampstand” is identified as the church itself– so Christ is warning the church that she will cease to exist as one of His churches)– can the husband tell his wife how she has displeased him and how he is going to discipline her if she doesn’t repent?”

    There is even a worse Rev vs. that I have heard used to justify domestic discipline (i.e. physical discipline of the wife).

    Rev 3:19 “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”

    So Mark, NN, since Christ can physically discipline those He “loves”, and the husband/wife relationship is identical in every way to the Christ/Church relationship in your view, is it ok for husbands to spank and otherwise physically discipline thier wives if, in the husband’s (Christ perfected) view, she is being sinful?

  94. Susanna,
    That’s one of the mysteries of hierarchists.
    “Soft comps”, like Mark & NN, are ‘picking and choosing’ what they want included after what’s clearly given in verse 25 (Eph.5).

    The full blown neo-Patriarchists are actually being more consistant in their theology. <–that is not an endorsement of any kind!

  95. gengwall@100,
    I hadn’t thought about that one in a while – made me feel like ‘barfing’ all over again!!

  96. “The full blown neo-Patriarchists are actually being more consistant in their theology. <–that is not an endorsement of any kind!”

    LOL – nor would I mistake it for one. But best you make it clear.

  97. I mentioned waaaaaaaay back in the original post that the problem for comps who want to extend Christly authority to the husband even though it isn’t in view in Eph 5 is that you have to take a “in for a penny, in for a pound” approach. Either Christ/Church as a marriage is just one form of Christ/Church relationship and is limited to the parameters outlined in the actual Christ/Church marriage passages, or Christ/Church is a single, all encompassing relationship which always contains every parameter regardless of context. You can’t have it both ways.

  98. gengwall,
    Yes, you certainly did – directed at Mark, wasn’t it? Wow, what a bunch of rabbit trails the redefining of ‘authority’ and showcasing of Ph.D.s made!

  99. Dave, I hope you are still here for I found the answer to my question. It was actually Ira, my husband, who gave it to me in the car today. I asked him what existed between tyranny (one makes all the rules) and democracy (rules are made by the people) and he said, “It’s communism. You know, the people elect the government, which then can turn around and shoot you, if it wants to.” This is a pretty good description of complementarism too for the woman chooses whom she wishes to marry but through the marriage she gives him the right to spiritually execute (meaning he can kill her personality through excessive demands) her if he wants to. I wonder what ultra-conservative comps would say about this one…

  100. I agree Kay. BTW, the Christian Patriarchy movement (quiverers, or something like that) has noticed the contradictions and advocate therefore a full-blown return to the era before the Industrial Revolution when women were home and obedient. But here’s what they have not thought about: the women may have been home, but they contributed financially, which is not true of the modern Patriarchy arrangement. I.e. then the woman was important and a man had to marry if he wanted to survive, but the modern arrangement has eliminated the financial aspect and demands obedience without the balancing act of both contributing financially and the presence of servants, which used to raise the wife’s status. No wonder then that the daughters have had to fill the gap since the wife, overworked with multiple children and without the domestic help her greatx10-mother had, is not able to serve her husband the way he wants to be served.

  101. Although quiverers are certainly conservative and traditional, I am not sure that strict authoritarian patriarchy is a talking point of the movement. Maybe, but that hasn’t been my experience in discussions with them.

    You may be thinking of Christian Reconstructionists, who want to return society to Old Testament law and family structure.

  102. And lest we forget, Domestic Discipline movement, as mentioned before, which maintains that the husband is not only in authority over his wife but is charged with disciplining her, even physically, to help her in her Christian walk.

  103. gengwall@110,
    Well, I’d luv to, but you brought it up again…excuse me for a moment while I take some Pepto…

  104. Sorry Kay. Just being thorough. Soft comps would like to forget that there are these really abusive movements out there but you were absolutely right @101 – it is the abusive groups that are actually consistent in their application of Christ/church to husband/wife. They would view Mark and NN as betraying the patriarchy and acquiescing to us radical feminists.

  105. #100 gengwall,

    So Mark, NN, since Christ can physically discipline those He “loves”, and the husband/wife relationship is identical in every way to the Christ/Church relationship in your view, is it ok for husbands to spank and otherwise physically discipline thier wives if, in the husband’s (Christ perfected) view, she is being sinful?

    That is quite a thought! It is completely against the idea of sacrificial love, yet when one usurps God’s authority and claims it for their own “right”, then who could stop such a one from physical or emotional abuse when they are the highest authority in their home? And in many lands pagan husbands have already claimed this right and been responsible for the death of their wives. They don’t see anything wrong with having full authority of life or death for another mature human being.

  106. Mark,
    Since I assume that you are still reading here, even though the hard questions that we have been asking haven’t been answered, I recommend that you try. It will be a good exercise for you and helpful for the dialog.

    Also I sent you a couple of emails regarding the private conversation you wanted to have with me. If you haven’t looked at them, you may want to check them out for I think you will find my reasoning quite interesting.

    Cheerio.

  107. Gengwall, there is a great book out there called
    ‘Quiverfull, Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement” by Kathryn Joyce, which outlines how the quiverers are heavily into the concept of female submission etc. You are right though that not all those who reject birth control are as extreme, but it as Joyce noticed, these two thoughts are increasingly being identified as one.

  108. Hi everyone,

    I fail to see the tough questions posed Cheryl. I have only extended the analogy as far as the Bible does. No, a wife should not worship her husband. What everyone failed to mention (especially Kristen in her thread) was that wives are told to submit as the Church does to Christ. So does submit give any indication that auhtority exists. As far as i know, all lexicons say yes. Is it foreign to Paul’s train of thought, no it is not. So i have only ever extended the analogy as far as Paul and the grammar definitions. Some of you egalitarians do a good job at trying to discredit those who disagree agree with you. But as far as i can tell, two themes are common, 1) i don’t answer supposed tough questions (although they never seem to directly relate to the topic) and 2) you introduce and extend what i have said to things i have never said.

    So although you want to discredit my position by introducing all these other extremities that i have not mentioned, let me be clear. I’m focusing only on what the wife is told to do, in the same way the church is told to do in Eph 5. If you wish to continue discussing this with me that is fine, but stick to the topic. Don’t attach foreign labels and concepts.

    Susannah,

    I can’t understand your hermeneutic. You only accept authority if it is the ‘big’ idea of the passage it seems. I find this biblical interpretation hard to follow because i’m sure you don’t say ‘anger’ is the big idea of Ephesians 6, yet i’m sure you would agree with Paul that Father’s should not provoke their children to anger. You can’t re-interpret every word in a passage like that. So i dare you, to actually accept the Biblical words for what they mean, and not do exegetical backflips to dismiss authority.

    P.S Cheryl have you responded to my comment about Ryan’s alternative? I would like to know how many think Eph 5 is ‘cultural’ (in that the husband had authority in that culture but it was not God ordained) and how many don’t? I know Dave thinks it’s cultural, and Kristen not. ANyone else wish to add!

  109. Mark,

    I do think the husband had authority in that culture and it was not God-ordained. I’m not sure why you think I said otherwise. Perhaps if you remind me what I said that you interpreted that way?

  110. I think I found it.
    I said, “No– I don’t agree with the ‘only cultural’ idea– that we can ignore some portions of scripture because they’re only cultural. Instead, I believe that in every passage, we are to take into account the shared cultural assumptions of writer and audience, so that we can understand and obey the principle being conveyed, that the original audience would have understood.
    So– the idea that the church is to Christ more like a wife is to a husband than a slave is to a master, is a beautiful, timeless teaching that I would never seek to circumvent.”

    So what I said was that I didn’t agree with dismissing portions of the Bible as “only cultural.” I also said, though, that we needed to take the shared cultural assumptions into account– so we didnt mistake them for commands of God. That’s different from dismissing the entire passage as not applying to us anymore. What I advocate is finding the principle being conveyed by the passage, after we understand the cultural assumptions for what they were– and following that principle.

  111. Mark,

    You wrote,

    “So does submit give any indication that auhtority exists. As far as i know, all lexicons say yes.”

    I can only ask if you have some reason for ignoring my comments. I have already mentioned the fact that BDAG refers to 1 Clement, where Christians are enjoined to submit each to their neighbour. I am unaware that neighbours had authority over each other.

  112. Mark said,
    “What everyone failed to mention (especially Kristen in her thread) was that wives are told to submit as the Church does to Christ. So does submit give any indication that auhtority exists. As far as i know, all lexicons say yes.”
    In posts 35 and 36 of this thread, Sue referred you back to BDAG and said that in the case of Clement, “submit” meant “mutual” and therefore did not mean “to authority.”
    The mere presence of the word “submit” does not imply authority– I have not seen an adequate refutation of Sue’s points, or evidence that BDAG does not say what she says it does in reference to Clement, or that Clement did not mean “submit to your [equal] neighbor” when that is what he said.
    Also, Ephesians 5:21 still says “submit to one another,” and in the next thread Cheryl shows that “one another” always means mutuality.
    If I leave out “wives submit to your husbands,” therefore, it’s because I don’t believe it means husbands hold God-ordained authority over wives. That Paul and his readers assumed cultural authority, I do not dispute. That mutual submission was intended by Paul as the way beyond mere cultural authority, to equality in Christ, seems quite clear to me.

  113. Sue,

    I never ignored your comment. Let me say it again- all lexicons i have read say that the verb ‘submit’ has authority attached to it. Now you bring up 1 Clement in BDAG, so let me say again what i said to you earlier. It was in the discussion of Grudem’s challenge, and what i told you was that i would need to look at it in more detail when i get a chance because it seems like you might have a case with that one…how is that ignoring you? I directly addressed what you had said.

    Nevertheless, does that then mean that when BDAG list ‘subordination’ or ‘subject’ as meanings it forfeits that authority is involved? I don’t think it does, so my point is still the same. That verb according to lexicons denotes authority. We can argue over the one reference you claim is different once i’ve had time to look into it more fully. But please don’t accuse me of ignoring you.

    Tell me this Sue…why do you hang onto one non-biblical use of hypotasso as the foundation for your theology? Of course that is provided that your test case fits into the required condition Grudem challenges.

  114. Kristen,

    Thanks for clarifying. Let me ask you one question. IF the husband had authority BUT it is only cultural, is Christ’s authority therefore only cultural? OR to put it another way. If a wife is only told to submit in that culture to her husband, is the church only told to submit in that culture? Why or why not? Why is the wife’s submission directly linked to the Church’s submission?

  115. I never said a wife was only to submit to her husband in that culture. I said he only had authority over her in that culture. I agree that wives are to submit to their husbands, and also that husbands and wives are to submit “to one another in reverence for Christ.” The husband’s submission is described in the love he is encouraged to have, which is like Christ’s love when He “gave Himself,” which was an act of submission.

    The relationship between Christ and the church is compared to the relationship between a wife and a husband. This does not mean the wife-husband relationship mirrors the church-Christ relationship in all aspects– since “submission” need not imply authority, and authority is not mentioned in the passage, therefore authority is not one of those aspects it mirrors– but no, the church-Christ relationship is not cultural.
    At this point we are going in circles around the meaning of two words: “submit” and “one another.” You asked me about “submit.” I must ask you about “one another.”
    Why does “one another” not mean “one another” to you? For you must admit that if it does (and all the lexicons say it means mutuality) then submission cannot always mean “to authority” or we would all be in authority over each other.

  116. Mark,

    Sorry I completely forgot that you said you would look into it. It seems that you then put that aside to retain your original assumption. When the BDAG says “subject oneself, or be subjected” it then offers the range of meaning

    – to an ordered structure
    – to husbands, masters, parents, secular authorities
    – to church officials, the will of God
    – of submission in the sense of voluntary yielding in love

    The sense of “to an authority” is not part of the meaning of hupotasso, but is contained within the word that the person is subject to. The Christian is to submit to his neighbour, and we are to submit to each other. This is mutual.

    Not only does Clement interpret Christian submission as to a neighbour, without authority, but we have an instance where a king submitted to the Jews. You dismissed this with a little casuistry.

    I suggest that if Christian men do not want to live within a democracy, if they do not want a government that must submit to the people, then, when Christian men have given up their vote and surrendered their democratic rights, they may then talk about their experience of living in a non-democratic society.

    We are commanded as Christians to love our neighbour as ourselves. My question has always been why some Christian men do not regard women as neighbours. I don’t understand why there is one standard for men, and another for women. Why don’t men request a non-democratic imperial government. W

  117. Why don’t Christian men draw lots and then the half which lose must commit themselves to live a life of slavery, some of them until they die. When half of all Christian men surrender their freedom and become slaves, then they have established the foundation for a conversation with women. I am referring to a lifetime, till death. I am asking one Christian man to surrender his freedom until the day he die, and become subject night and day, to a human master.

    Would you be willing to do that now – to give up your freedom to some other human being to make decisions for you until you die?

  118. Mark,
    You asked regarding Ryan’s comments:

    In what way is the husband the source of his wife? What does that mean from the context? Then in what way does that parallel the Church and Christ?

    The husband is the original source of the woman and thus she is from him and equal to him. The husband today is to see his wife as being from him as his very own body so that he is to care for her as if she is his own flesh. In the same way the Church is the body of Christ and is from Him as the start or origin of the Church.

    No, a wife should not worship her husband. What everyone failed to mention (especially Kristen in her thread) was that wives are told to submit as the Church does to Christ.

    We are to submit to serve Christ and to receive His service to us in love. The attitude is to be one of love and respect, not of constraint.

    So does submit give any indication that auhtority exists. As far as i know, all lexicons say yes.

    Yes authority does exist and submission is at times to an authority but you have already been shown by Suzanne here and myself at http://strivetoenter.com/wim/2010/06/02/submission-and-origin-of-authority/ that authority is not something that is to be assumed as submission can exist between equals and the fact that Paul said that the submission that is required of us is reciprocal, shows that it is not about submitting to an authority.

    Some of you egalitarians do a good job at trying to discredit those who disagree agree with you.

    I don’t know what “disagree agree” means but I am assuming that is a typo. I also think that you should rethink your sentence. Egalitarians certainly do a good job at discrediting the argument not the people. Those who are in disagreement with us are brothers in Christ – no ones to discredit. I don’t see anyone here calling you a heretic or airing your dirty laundry or any other tactic of personal discrediting. Do you see the difference?

    But as far as i can tell, two themes are common, 1) i don’t answer supposed tough questions (although they never seem to directly relate to the topic) and 2) you introduce and extend what i have said to things i have never said.

    Are you saying that whenever there is a tough question that you can’t answer you are going to claim that the question doesn’t relate to the topic so you don’t need to answer? I think that it is good to answer the tough questions anyway as they are important to us. If you feel they are beyond the topic, tell us why. As far as extending what has not been said, there are logical outgrowths of a position and it is fair to discuss these things. If you do not believe that they are logical outgrowths you can tell us why we should not see it this way. It is not an attack on your person, but a part of discussion.

    So although you want to discredit my position by introducing all these other extremities that i have not mentioned, let me be clear. I’m focusing only on what the wife is told to do, in the same way the church is told to do in Eph 5.

    The wife is told to have a reciprocal submission with the husband. Since the verb is in verse 21 and it is reciprocal, there is no way to get around that. How can you take submission from verse 21 but leave out the specific grammar that is attached to submission that renders it specifically two-way? If you can explain how you have detached the reciprocal grammar from the verb, it would be helpful to understand your argument.

    If you wish to continue discussing this with me that is fine, but stick to the topic. Don’t attach foreign labels and concepts.

    I think that everyone has been doing quite fine. Perhaps you can explain what “foreign labels” and “foreign concepts” you believe to be off topic?

    You said to Susanna:

    You only accept authority if it is the ‘big’ idea of the passage it seems.

    I think it would be helpful for you to deal with the grammar that makes submission as reciprocal. Reciprocal submission would leave authority out of the picture, wouldn’t you think?

    You also said to Susanna:

    So i dare you, to actually accept the Biblical words for what they mean, and not do exegetical backflips to dismiss authority.

    Actually Mark, I would like to put this one back on you. How about we dare you to show how reciprocal submission can mean that authority is in mind? How does both have authority over each other? I would really like you to answer this. It is not a side issue but a very important piece of grammar that should not be ignored.

    I would like to know how many think Eph 5 is ‘cultural’ (in that the husband had authority in that culture but it was not God ordained) and how many don’t?

    I think that all of us can agree that the husband had authority in that culture and that many cultures still hold to the husband having full authority over his wife. The question is always whether God ordained such an authority or whether it comes from sinful man wanting to dominate and control the physically weaker one? The question has been asked many times to show us where God has ordained the husband to have authority over his wife. You have as of yet given no Scripture where such an authority was transferred from God. If you have no Scripture that has a God-ordained authority transferred to the husband, then why should we believe that the mutual submission of Ephesians 5:21 is not mutual in the marriage when the only verb that verse 22 can attach to is found in verse 21 and that verb is absolutely and without a doubt reciprocal? Can you explain this?

  119. Mark,
    You said:

    Let me say it again- all lexicons i have read say that the verb ‘submit’ has authority attached to it.

    The Analytical Lexicon does not mention authority and neither does the Lexham Analytical Lexicon or the Louw-Nida Lexicon. And the reference I read in the Lexicons for the passive grammar didn’t mention authority but that the submission was voluntary. When there is a real authority, the submission would be required not voluntary. In the culture of the day women’s submission was not voluntary. It was only through Christianity that she had the same voluntary submission for her husband that all Christians were to have toward each other.

    Nevertheless, does that then mean that when BDAG list ‘subordination’ or ‘subject’ as meanings it forfeits that authority is involved? I don’t think it does, so my point is still the same.

    Once again how do you have authority when the submission is in the reciprocal grammar? This “forfeits” authority of one over the other by the specific grammar that makes the submission as reciprocal.

  120. Cheryl,

    Before i answer any more of your questions, can you please answer the one’s i asked of you first in relation to Ryan’s comments. You answered only one of my questions. Can you do the rest?

    you said

    “The husband is the original source of the woman and thus she is from him and equal to him. The husband today is to see his wife as being from him as his very own body so that he is to care for her as if she is his own flesh.”

    Where does Paul even mention Adam and Eve in this context? Why are you importing this idea? Also when the Bible saids “the husband is the head of his wife” you interpret…

    “The husband today is to see his wife as being from him as his very own body so that he is to care for her as if she is his own flesh.”

    So my wife comes from my body? Are you serious on this one? Or is this some hypothetical idea? How can people think this is a serious alternative to comp theology. Surely you can do better than this?

    Actually i will address one issue of yours. You seem to think that Eph 6 is a slam dunk for the egalitarian position. Now this purplexes me, since the verb ‘submit’ is not even in the text. The slave is told to ‘obey’ so why is it you think it confirms the egalitarian assumption on the verb submit? You stated that the masters are to be reciprocal aswell. Are you saying that the masters are to ‘obey’ the slaves? Here is again another example of a tangent in the egaitarian theology. We are discussing EPh 5, but more specifically the verb ‘submit’ and you tell me Eph 6 proves your point. How can this be, when the verb is not even the same?

  121. Mark,
    You said:

    So my wife comes from my body?

    The first wife came from the husband (he is the source) but every wife after that IS the body. They are one united body knit together so that there is to be complete unity in care.

  122. Mark,

    Before i answer any more of your questions,

    Actually you have answered very few of my questions. I would like you to tell us how examples of how submission works in a comp marriage with the wife acting out a submission that is not something that God requires of the husband.

  123. Mark,
    You said:

    Actually i will address one issue of yours. You seem to think that Eph 6 is a slam dunk for the egalitarian position. Now this purplexes me, since the verb ’submit’ is not even in the text. The slave is told to ‘obey’ so why is it you think it confirms the egalitarian assumption on the verb submit?

    Ephesians 6 lists how one of the pairs from chapter 5 submits. The slave obeys with sincereity of heart. Obedience is the submission and then God tells the masters to do the same.

    Are you saying that the masters are to ‘obey’ the slaves?

    They are to “render service” Eph 6:7, 8 and the term “obey” in verse 5 means to be “subject to”. Therefore the masters are also to be “subject to” or be in submission to the slaves. BADG lexicon regarding the word for obey:

    1. to follow instructions, obey, follow, be subject to
    Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature

    You said:

    Here is again another example of a tangent in the egaitarian theology. We are discussing EPh 5, but more specifically the verb ’submit’ and you tell me Eph 6 proves your point. How can this be, when the verb is not even the same?

    Paul uses a synonym and he carries on the description of submission from chapter 5. It is absolutely the same subjection. The fact that Paul uses another word that means the same thing just reinforces the mutual subjection. Are you seriously trying to tell me that the command for masters to do the same thing is not subjection to their slaves?

  124. Mark,
    So are you actually going to ever tell us how one-sided submission works for the husband and wife and how she does something for her husband that he is not required to do for her? I am eagerly waiting for your explanation.

  125. Cheryl,

    Thanks for the interaction. Let me put it this way. I won’t base my understanding of hypotasso, from a verb that is not the same. I will base my understanding from the lexicons, context and the rest of the Bible. You may wish to swap and fiddle with the verbs to come to the conclusion that you do, but i am not.

    Yes i am saying that masters were NOT subject to their slaves. I am confident in this, becasue the Bible never saids that masters are hypotasso to their slaves. If this was the case they would no longer be masters. I think what you need to do is look beyond the verb ‘obey’ and look at all the other things Paul describes for the slaves. Then also look at what Paul qualifies for the masters after ‘do the same thing’, for example ‘stop threatening’. You can’t just take ‘obey’ and ‘do the same thing’ and ignore the rest of the text as if it doesn’t mean anything or rather gives meaning to the exhortation. I thought i had heard it all from you Cheryl, until you come up with this one.

    Why will i waste my time explaining how my marriage works on this blog. It is quite clear that we are never going to agree since our ‘foundations’ are completely different. Practical implications flow from theology, if the theology is different, the practical issues will be different. I don’t expect anything i say about my marriage will help facilitate our biblical interpretation of Eph 5.

    It seems like in an egalitarian context the book of Ephesians could stop at 5:21, since the husband/wife, Christ/church, slave/master, child/parent relationships all say the same thing right- in a nutshell ‘mutual submission’. It makes me wonder why Paul would go to all that effort to give these exhortations, if he said it all in 5:21. Wow, my relationship with my wife is no different to the slave and his master- that’s encouraging! (sorry for the sarcasm)

    Finally, if my wife IS the body with me, how can she come from my body? How can i be the source of her? Puzzling questions! Also again, why are you interpolating Adam and Eve into Eph 5 when Paul does not. Why are you basing your meaning of ‘head’ from something not even in the context? More puzzling questions. I think the reality is, i am not the source of my wife’s body- her parents are (physically). There is no direct correlation between the first pair and me and my wife physically like that.
    This is why it appears that ‘head’ has some new age hypothetical mumbo jumbo meaning that makes no actual sense of the word or the context in which it lies. Or maybe i am the source ‘spiritually’ like Christ is for the Church. Can we draw the conclusion that i am the one responsible for the salvation of my wife, like Christ is for the Church? Let’s face it- stick with the proper meaning of the word(s) and uphold biblical teaching.

  126. ”Let me say it again- all lexicons i have read say that the verb ‘submit’ has authority attached to it. ……… That verb according to lexicons denotes authority.”

    Mark,
    There is a difference between having one part of the range of definitions include involving authority and denoting authority. In the range of meanings in English and in Greek, the word submit CAN include authority. But it is not required.

    We can see quite clearly that you are ignoring the full range of the meaning of the word because your desire is so strong for it to mean only authority. But reality is that the word submit does not only relate to situations involving authority.

    ”Why is the wife’s submission directly linked to the Church’s submission?”

    First it is not directly linked, but given as an example. Wives are being admonished to submit to the husbands in the same manner believers submit to the Messiah who died that we might have life. They are to submit with reverence for God. As believers we are responding to Christ’s sacrificial love toward us, and in a marriage husbands are to emulate Christ’s sacrificial love toward their wives and wives are to respond to that with the same trust and acceptance that we respond to Christ. We need to find the meaning in the context of what the author is writing about.

    21Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
    22Wives, to your husbands as to the Lord.

    Here is another way to look at this. If we read these two sentences under one another we can see that Paul is basically repeating himself. First we all submit to one another out of reverence to Christ. Then without stopping his thought, Paul continues that wives also to their husbands, still keeping reverence for Christ.

  127. ”In her walk with Jesus she believes she is told to submit to me her husband. It is something God requires of her not me. So i agree that submission is a voluntary act.”

    Mark
    All this is saying is that you are not commanding her to submit, but rather God is commanding her to submit. Therefore, you can fall back on saying God said so. This does not describe voluntary anything. This is still you requiring her to submit. In your eyes she is not a good Christian woman unless she submits to your desires, requests, etc. as long as they are not sin.

  128. Mark,
    You said:

    Thanks for the interaction.

    You are welcome! And I must say that you are one brave man to post your views on this blog! Most complementarians do not have answers to our questions and so the only thing that they can do is to insult egals and deny that they are following Christ. At least you try to stay away from that although your earlier comment about me being like the Pharisee who thanked God that he wasn’t like the sinner was way over the top and thoroughly unkind. Other than that you have been quite civil and it is much appreciated!

    I won’t base my understanding of hypotasso, from a verb that is not the same.

    That is most unfortunate. It is pretty much saying that you won’t base your understanding of the word by considering the context of the passage. However we should understand that there are ranges of meanings for a word and the context will be the final determinate in the understanding of the particular meaning of a word. Without considering the context, it appears that you have chosen in advance what you want the verb to mean and you are looking only for things that might support your preconceived notion. That really isn’t wise. It is understandable for one who holds to male privilege, but it isn’t the way to fear God by submitting your preconceived ideas to His test.

    I will base my understanding from the lexicons, context and the rest of the Bible.

    If you are willing to base your understanding on the lexicons, and you have been willing to admit that the submission is voluntary not forced, then you should be able to see that a voluntary submission in the lexicons does not list voluntary submission “to an authority”. Submission can be given “out of love” without a compulsion or a threat or a fear of an authority that belongs to man.

    You may wish to swap and fiddle with the verbs to come to the conclusion that you do, but i am not.

    The verbs in the context are all to be considered as part of the context. I have no need to “swap” and “fiddle” when the Bible clearly lists mutual acts that are given by both the slave and the master. This act of mutuality is a repeat of Ephesians 5:21 where the verb that we are discussing is reciprocal. The reciprocal is picked up in Ephesians 6:9 where Paul says, “And master, do the same things to them…” Note that this is plural and the things are the same between what the slaves did and what the masters are to do.

    To be continued….

  129. “Why will i waste my time explaining how my marriage works on this blog. It is quite clear that we are never going to agree since our ‘foundations’ are completely different. Practical implications flow from theology, if the theology is different, the practical issues will be different. I don’t expect anything i say about my marriage will help facilitate our biblical interpretation of Eph 5.”

    We realize that if the theology is different then the practical issues are different. This is why we would like to understand how it is different; how does your theology ‘work out’ in real life for you. Anything that you could share with us would help to clarify for us what you are saying.

  130. Mark – “Why will i waste my time explaining how my marriage works on this blog. It is quite clear that we are never going to agree since our ‘foundations’ are completely different. Practical implications flow from theology”

    I agree. But I have never had anyone explain to me the practical “rules” and activities of daily living that entail my leading my wife or having authority over her. If the theology spawns the practical activites, then I think those activities would be at least roughly outlined, if not in scripture, then at least in doctrine. So, maybe you can help me out where no other men have been able.

    So Mark, what are the practical, day to day activities that flow from this theology that I am to lead and have authority over my wife? What does Eph 5 exactly tell me I am supposed to do as a husband? What y-chromosome specific skills does the theology inform me that I have that enable me to fulfill my “role”? And if not in Eph 5, then where else in scripture are instructions for me that lead to these practical applications? Really, I want to know. Where does scripture tell me what I’m supposed to do to be a leader and authority in my marriage? I hear the theology of patriarchy loud and clear, but I find little to nothing practical flowing out of it.

  131. Mark,
    I’m not trying to be rude about this, but it really would make all the difference if you would just give one example of application. Jesus taught using parables for a good reason – it really helps get your message across to others. One example doesn’t seem like a great deal to ask.

    For example suppose that my husband and I were new converts to the comp. view and my husband came to you for advice on how to live that out, what would you tell him?

  132. Mark said,
    “So my wife comes from my body? Are you serious on this one? Or is this some hypothetical idea? How can people think this is a serious alternative to comp theology. Surely you can do better than this?”
    Personally, I prefer to look to Colossians 2:19 and Ephesians 4:15-16, which describe what Christ’s function as “Head” to the church His body, is. The “head” is the source of life and growth for the body, according to Paul’s thinking. It is a provisionary function. Authority is not mentioned in either passage, but life, growth, and building up in love is. Now, obviously only Christ can be the Source of Life, since He is the Vine and we are the branches– but the husband’s “head” function towards his wife as his “body” would be as the source of provision– of material sustenance, certainly for in that culture women were completely dependent on men for that– but also of helping her grow in Christ and building her up in love. This was especially appropos in that culture, where she had been very much under his feet, and Christianity now gave her rights to study and learn, and to stand by her husband’s side.

  133. Kristen,
    Excellent summary.

    I was giving what I believed was Ryan’s view as I was asked. I too believe that the husband is to nourish the wife by suppling her needs thus he provides for her as he is able. But because they are one body there may be times that she has to look after him if he is disabled, etc. But the “norm” would be the husband providing for her needs as he sacrifices for her.

  134. To continue with Mark’s comments from #56,

    I think what you need to do is look beyond the verb ‘obey’ and look at all the other things Paul describes for the slaves. Then also look at what Paul qualifies for the masters after ‘do the same thing’, for example ‘stop threatening’.

    We can look to the verb and at all the other things that Paul tells slaves to do.

    Here is a copy of the Greek.

    eph-6-5 submit

  135. Notice above that the word for “be obedient” means to “be subject to”, “follow”, “listen to”, “submit to”, “yield to”.

    Slaves are to submit to their masters and to do this willingly in sincerity of heart “as to Christ”.

    Are masters also to do all of this in sincerity of heart “as to Christ”? Yes, they are also to submit to the needs of the servant and listen to them. These Christian masters are to do all of this in the fear of the Lord. For just as the slaves are to render service to their masters:

    Ephesians 6:7 (NASB)
    7 With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men,

    …so too are the masters to render service to the slaves:

    Ephesians 6:9 (NASB)
    9 And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.

    One other thing that is added on the part of masters is to give up threatening. Although with mutual submission, this would also be applicable to slaves, slaves would not be the ones who would have the power to threaten. It is the masters who had the power to threaten with punishment. They were to stop this.

    Notice also that along with doing the same things (plural) to the slaves, they were to consider that the slaves were equal with them in the Lord as they both has the same master and the Lord is not partial to masters over slaves.

    You can’t just take ‘obey’ and ‘do the same thing’ and ignore the rest of the text as if it doesn’t mean anything or rather gives meaning to the exhortation.

    I didn’t say that the rest of the text didn’t mean anything. I was pointing out the mutual submission that is evident in the English and in the Greek. Whatever the rest of the text includes, it cannot exclude “submission” and “do the same thing”. These words are there for a purpose and they make common sense of Ephesians 5:21 where the grammar is reciprocal. When the command is for all of us to submit to each other and then Paul goes on to show how that is to be operative even in the lives of slaves and masters with masters doing the same things to the slaves as unto the Lord, we have a full description of mutual submission “one to another”.

    Why will i waste my time explaining how my marriage works on this blog.

    You don’t need to give us an example from your own marriage, but surely you can give a hypothetical example that you would consider a classic example of an authority taken by the husband with submission by the wife where the husband is not required to do for the wife what she is required to do for him. Without an example how is it that we can fully understand what you are saying? Since you don’t agree with my examples of mutual submission, perhaps you can give us a good one or two examples of unilateral submission. Or perhaps you just aren’t able to give such an example. If that is the case just say so. Then our case will stand and we win 😉

  136. Mark,
    You said:

    It is quite clear that we are never going to agree since our ‘foundations’ are completely different.

    It is certainly clear for me that you are never going to give up your male privilege. But even so it is a good thing for at least there to be understanding of the position. You are the one who consistently says that egals add to or misrepresent the comp position. Now is your chance to clear the air and tell us exactly how the comp view of authority and submission can work out in a definite “men would never be called to do that” example.

    Practical implications flow from theology, if the theology is different, the practical issues will be different.

    So, let’s see your different practical issue that flows from your theology. Let’s see the comp view in action. That can’t be too hard, can it?

    I don’t expect anything i say about my marriage will help facilitate our biblical interpretation of Eph 5.

    What an example will do (whether it is from your own marriage or not) will show how the interpretation of Eph 5 works it way out in real life that is consistent with the passage and with the rest of the Bible.

    It seems like in an egalitarian context the book of Ephesians could stop at 5:21, since the husband/wife, Christ/church, slave/master, child/parent relationships all say the same thing right- in a nutshell ‘mutual submission’.

    Paul gives specific wisdom for each different set of relationships. Each has a unique set of problems that would challenge each one from mutually meeting each other’s needs.

    It makes me wonder why Paul would go to all that effort to give these exhortations, if he said it all in 5:21. Wow, my relationship with my wife is no different to the slave and his master- that’s encouraging! (sorry for the sarcasm)

    Funny how you put words into our mouths and then make fun of your own words. The fact is that each relationship has its challenges but each relationship is to submit to each other as to Christ. It is our love for Him and our fear of the Lord that encourages us to do what is right even when we feel like we are the privileged one. We are to realize that the Lord Jesus is Master of all and there is no partiality with Him that would make the master as more privileged than the servant or the husband more privileged than the wife or a parent more privileged than a young child believer. No partiality with God means that all are to submit to the needs of the other.

    Finally, if my wife IS the body with me, how can she come from my body? How can i be the source of her? Puzzling questions!

    She grows from you as her head. You have been set up first so that you take responsibility to care and nurture her and and selflessly meet her needs. That all flows from the head to the body as the head is the source.

    I think the reality is, i am not the source of my wife’s body- her parents are (physically).

    While only the first man was the physical source of his wife, all mean are to be the source of care. Surely you feel some responsibility to look after your wife and care for her needs. If you feel this responsibility, then you are acting out the head as source application.

    Or maybe i am the source ‘spiritually’ like Christ is for the Church.

    Only Christ can supply her spiritual needs. He is the only spiritual source. The husband supplies her physical needs. He is the physical source.

    Can we draw the conclusion that i am the one responsible for the salvation of my wife, like Christ is for the Church?

    One could certainly come to that conclusion if one is a comp. For if the man can take Christ’s authority, then why not take his place as Savior? If the man is to be just like Christ as the comps teach, then where is the line drawing the boundary? I believe that the boundary line is what is in the natural and everything that is a part of God’s duty toward us has nothing to do with the male. Christ’s authority is His right as God.

    Now we will wait to see how Mark will bring out the examples of authority/submission with no male taking on any act of submission toward his wife. It will be a huge learning experience to see into the mind of a comp who believes he has a male privilege that God gave him. I will be waiting with baited breath for you to answer Mark. Go ahead. Your turn.

  137. gengwall,
    I love it when you supply us with these pictures in our head! 🙂 Don’t get blue now. Mark has already turned us down once. Here’s hoping he will keep working for understanding.

  138. It is not a side issue but a very important piece of grammar that should not be ignored.

    You know I’m all ears when you talk about grammar Cheryl…1 Tim 2…Genesis 1, 2 & 3 🙂 Love paying attention to the GRAMMAR!!

  139. Cheryl:
    “The husband is the original source of the woman and thus she is from him and equal to him. The husband today is to see his wife as being from him as his very own body so that he is to care for her as if she is his own flesh.”

    Mark:
    Where does Paul even mention Adam and Eve in this context?

    Are you serious, Mark? In Eph 5, Paul had in mind specificaly Genesis 2 when woman was taken from man. That she was taken from man IS the reason why a man leaves father and mother and the two become one.

    Genesis 2:
    The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”
    24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

    Eph 5:
    In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies…29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31″For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.

    It’s obvious from Ephesians 5 that the woman’s creation out of the man foreshadowed the church being made out of Christ.

  140. Pinklight,

    You missed the point. The egalitarian ‘source’ meaning relies heavily on the ‘physical’ aspect as Cheryl has just confirmed. Is this Paul’s interest in Eph 5. Does he talk about about Adam providing for Eve- NO! The only thing that goes back to Gen is the one flesh union- the marriage- not the supposed provisional priority of the male. Here is the fallicy of Cheryl’s son’s whole argument. Not to mention his claims that we are equal with Christ in the sense that we are sinless and whatever else it was that he said. Both ideas are completely foreign to the text and Paul’s meaning.

    Now carry this further- Paul contrast this to the Church and Christ. Now in what way does Christ provide physically for us. Does he go and earn money and supply our physical needs in the same way a husband is supposed to under the egalitarian position. Straight away the comparison Paul makes becomes meaningless. That is why egals have to talk about Christ provision being different to the husbands provision- thus we no longer have a comparison. It just seems totally silly, at least Sue realises this and abstains from pushing ‘source’ for the meaning of head.

    So why is the comp position so much more consistent- it doesn’t swap and fiddle and sqirm and make nonsense out of the passage. A wife is to submit to her husband who is the head because he has auhtority over her, in the same way the church submits to Christ as the head who has authority over the Church.

    Finally you said
    “It’s obvious from Ephesians 5 that the woman’s creation out of the man foreshadowed the church being made out of Christ.”

    Sure let’s assume this is correct. How then does this apply to the husband in Ephesus who is the source of his wife? In what way is the Ephesian coming out of her husband? This is the problem, the comparison is between the husband and wife in Ephesus and the Church and Christ, from which Paul draws on the one flesh union of Adam and Eve, not the creational order of Eve. It’s interesting how in the two places Paul argues for a creational order, egals protest, and then they insert it into a place where it is not even in view?

  141. Cheryl,

    Your attempt to criticise me for ignoring the context doesn’t seem to hold. Let’s face the fact’s. You are beginning with the slave/master metaphor and the verb attached to it. You come to a conclusion on the meaning of that section AND THEN go back to hypotasso and argue for a meaning that never exists when one person is told to submit to another.

    Sure you may be looking at the ‘context’ but you are not actually looking at the ‘context’. You work backwards in your exegesis in this passage.

    It is pretty clear we are never going to agree on this matter- how can we expect to when our hermeneutics are so vastly different.

    Let me encourage everyone here to perhaps devote more energy to giving a realist alternative to a comp interpretation. You can argue till your black in the face about the meanings of words and verbs etc, but let’s face it, the alternative you offer is weak- very weak. It seems that egals are so caught up in disproving their opposition that they forgot to think about their alternative. That’s my two cents worth.

  142. Let me give one small sample of how i believe my wife chooses to submit to me as her head and the leader of our family.

    When we have dinner our children are not allowed to leave the table until they have finished and until everyone else is finished. If both my wife and i are present and one of my children asks to hop down from the table, my wife will always tell the kids that they need to ask me, even if they have asked her first.
    I have never commanded that she do this. I have never asked her to do this to show her submission to me. I believe and know she does this to show that she respects me as the head of our house. She believes this is one way she can instill into our children how the Father leads the home. Now is this something she does voluntarily- yes it is. Is it something i command- no it is not. It is an act of submission on her part to recognise my authority as both a husband and a father. It teaches our children that when both mum and dad are around, dad is the one in authority. She could quite legitimately tell the kids they can hop down, but she chooses to point the decision over to me.

    Yet it is never something i command or tell her to obey. Hope this helps and please don’t attempt to exegete my words over the computer. Thanks

  143. Mark,
    Your wife’s respect for you is admiral. But are you saying that you are not to display this same kind of respect for her?

    Example: Your kids have asked something of your wife and she has told them that they cannot do what they asked. They come to you and ask permission and you don’t see anything wrong with them doing whatever they asked of you. Do you just ignore the refusal your wife has given and go against her “no” to the children? Or do you make your children respect their mother’s denial of their request? Are you not allowed by the command of God to submit your “yes” to the children to her previous “no”? Are you really trying to tell us that the respect that your wife gives you will never be given to her with your children because your “yes” will override their mother’s “no” so that the children will learn to bypass their mother’s “law” and to see her as someone whose “law” is not upheld?

    Also where does your authority act out in your example? How have you taken authority over your wife? Can you please explain this part while you are showing us why you are not allowed to submit to your wife’s decision with the children. Thanks!

  144. “If both my wife and i are present and one of my children asks to hop down from the table, my wife will always tell the kids that they need to ask me, even if they have asked her first.”

    In a normal houshold, if the children ask their father if they can leave the table, the father is supposed to tell the children to ask their mother also. This indicates to the chiklren that both mother and father are due equal respect. It also happens to be logical and useful, since the mother has been with the children all day, and is tuned into their eating needs and what has happened with the child all day.

    In a normal healthy household, the father would not override the mother at the supper table. If the mother is overridden by the father, she may eventually take her supper to the bedroom and eat in there, as I did for a while.

    If men simply take and accept respect but do not offer it in equal measure, they may end up in their later years living on their own. It is a sorry business.

  145. Cheryl,

    Your above example is a good case of muddying the waters. We are not talking about mutual respect but mutual submission.

    I would not just ‘overide’ so to speak my wife’s instruction to my kids because i am sure that her love for them is the reason for stopping them. If i thought she was being unfair i would go and address that with her. If i did just override her, would that show my children that i love her like Christ does the Church- no it wouldn’t.

    The difference between the examples is that in my case the choice my wife makes is when both are present and both could equally say something. Your example tries simply to show whether i would just usurp my wife’s authority over our children when i am not present. See the difference. What might be better to ask, is whether at the dinner table i would tell my children to ask my wife for permission. I’m sure you know the answer to that though.

  146. Still no answer Mark? I would think you should try a positive approach of your own understanding of authority and submission first. If you have not yet figured out how to give a response, that would be quite telling. It is harder than it looks, eh?

    You said to pinklight:

    Does he talk about about Adam providing for Eve- NO! The only thing that goes back to Gen is the one flesh union- the marriage- not the supposed provisional priority of the male

    Paul talks about the husband to love and give himself up as Christ did. Giving oneself up is part of the provisional aspect of Christ’s love that is to be reflected by the husband and he is to “nourish” her, a link to provision. Are you not complying with this and refusing to provide for your own wife as Paul said husbands were to do? Why a denial that there is a provisional aspect of Christ’s love which is to be modeled by the husband?

    Here is the fallicy of Cheryl’s son’s whole argument. Not to mention his claims that we are equal with Christ in the sense that we are sinless and whatever else it was that he said.

    No wonder you said whatever else it was that he said because you obviously were skimming through it again and misread. Ryan did not say that “we are sinless”. I would encourage you to understand a position first before you throw out an answer, because an uninformed “answer” doesn’t make for a good argument.

    Both ideas are completely foreign to the text and Paul’s meaning.

    Not so. Provision is in the text. See Jamieson, Fausset, Brown:

    (Eph. 5:29) nourisheth—Greek, “nourisheth it up,” namely, to maturity. “Nourisheth,” refers to food and internal sustenance; “cherisheth,” to clothing and external fostering.
    Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., Fausset, A. R., Brown, D., & Brown, D. (1997). A commentary, critical and explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments (Eph 5:29).

    Mark, I can’t believe that you are working to be in ministry and then you ask this question:

    Now in what way does Christ provide physically for us.

    Christ as God provides our daily food, our very breath and life and our spiritual nourishment. I could go on and on and on about what He does for us as our source, but surely you have seen this from the Scriptures and from personal experience or do you not even pray for your needs?

    Philippians 4:19 (NAS)
    19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

    Does he go and earn money and supply our physical needs in the same way a husband is supposed to under the egalitarian position.

    You are just playing silly. It comes across as mocking Christ to me. Are you really intending to do that?

    Straight away the comparison Paul makes becomes meaningless.

    Looking at the text in a mocking fashion will always make it seem “meaningless”. Is this the best that you can do?

    That is why egals have to talk about Christ provision being different to the husbands provision- thus we no longer have a comparison.

    Provision is compared to provision. No one has ever said that the multi-human body that is Christ’s wife is to be taken exactly as the one woman human wife of one man. No exegete compares the two as exactly the same and for you to make Christ’s work as Savior as exactly the same as the husband’s work for his wife, your entire “case” has fallen apart at the seams.

    So why is the comp position so much more consistent- it doesn’t swap and fiddle and sqirm and make nonsense out of the passage.

    The comp position isn’t consistent at all. You can’t show us how a wife’s submission is something that God refuses to allow a man to do the same thing for her. Secondly the issue of the husband’s authority and how he is to take it over his wife is not consistent or even understandable and most comps cannot even come up with a real life example of Christ’s love for the bride as shown by their own taking authority over their wife. Third, comps continually have to disregard the reciprocal grammar of verse 21. Why? Because it doesn’t fit their world view. Egals don’t need to ignore the grammar to make their view fit.

  147. Sue,

    re-read what i wrote and please refrain my labelling my house a ‘un-normal’.

    Why is you think a no-authority policy shows children something radically different. The way i see it in our western egalitarian, non-authority culture, children no longer have respect. Our children run wildly around since they are taught that there is no such thing as authority- this is a direct result of our culture and you want me to push my children head-long into it. It’s all about ‘my rights’ and it is an epidemic at least in Australia.

    I will teach my children that i love and cherish my wife and would die if necessary for her. I will teach them that i will not abuse her or dominate and lord over her. She teaches them that i am the head of our house and that they are to respect and obey that. This is radically different to our culture and why the Bible gives such a beautiful picture of our relationship with Christ. Let me say that the normal picture should reflect Christ and the Bible- an egalitarian model does not do that.

  148. Mark you said:

    Your above example is a good case of muddying the waters. We are not talking about mutual respect but mutual submission.

    It was your example. Why don’t you give an example of submission if you think that your wife’s respect isn’t a good example of submission?

    I would not just ‘overide’ so to speak my wife’s instruction to my kids because i am sure that her love for them is the reason for stopping them. If i thought she was being unfair i would go and address that with her. If i did just override her, would that show my children that i love her like Christ does the Church- no it wouldn’t.

    As Sue said a wife needs respect also from her husband and her “law” needs to be obeyed by the kids. Even if you didn’t see a reason why the kids couldn’t do what you wife forbid them to do, a godly husband would support his wife’s decision thus submitting to her “law” with the children. This is mutual submission and with it comes mutual respect.

    I am very glad that you can see that overriding your wife’s decision is not Christ-like. That is exactly how egals feel. It is also my contention that most comps really live exactly like egals do in their marriages. Respectfully godly men will give their wives mutual submission through mutual respect even if they fail to call it this name. They will with love, give to their wives the same kind of things that their wives give to them. Your example shows this and for this I say you are a good man.

  149. Mark,
    You said:

    The difference between the examples is that in my case the choice my wife makes is when both are present and both could equally say something. Your example tries simply to show whether i would just usurp my wife’s authority over our children when i am not present. See the difference. What might be better to ask, is whether at the dinner table i would tell my children to ask my wife for permission. I’m sure you know the answer to that though.

    Try this one:
    Your beautiful girls want to look a little more beautiful and so they ask you if they can put on makeup (the makeup belongs to their mother). You as a wonderful godly and respectful Dad say to them….ask your mother? Or do you make this decision for them because your wife is unable to make her own decision??

  150. Cheryl,

    Why is it you ask me to give you an example but yet do not wish to address the example i gave? What’s the corner your trying to push me into. I try to give you an example and you have just ignored it, i’m not going to waste my time going over other hypotheticals.

  151. How does my example show mutual submission Cheryl…enlighten me? Maybe you egals just live like comps and have false labels attached to comp theology…like dominate, abuse etc etc

  152. Mark,

    First of all my comment #156 was posted quite a bit earlier. I am not sure why it arrive on the blog page late.

    Mark you said:

    Let me say that the normal picture should reflect Christ and the Bible- an egalitarian model does not do that.

    That is taking a stab at egalitarian marriages and you shouldn’t do that since you don’t live in our homes or see our respect. You aren’t qualified to judge that.

    Secondly the Bible says that the law of the Father and the law of the Mother are to be obeyed. If we set the husband up as the authority in the home and the mother is not set up as an equal parental authority, then the kids may have a tendency to go to father and bypass their mother.

    I have seen godly men ask their children what their mother said and then told their children to obey their mother and not to come for a second opinion. This is mutual respect and it shows the children that the mother is also to be respected and her word obeyed just as their father is to be respected and his word obeyed.

  153. “Or do you make this decision for them because your wife is unable to make her own decision??”

    who saids a wife can’t make her own decision? is this another false label you are attaching to my theology? More circles to go around and around and around. Let me put it this way…ive given an example of how my wife chooses to submit to me as her head- deal with that.

    Ive run outta time today so maybe by tomorrow, you might actually wish to address the relevant issues.

  154. Mark,

    You asked:

    Why is it you ask me to give you an example but yet do not wish to address the example i gave?

    I did address your example. But you were asked to show a kind of submission that your wife gives to you that you would never give to her. So you would never tell your kids to ask permission from their mother? You appear to be a bit of an odd duckie if you would never tell your kids to ask permission from their mother. It was quite easy to find a situation where it should be “natural” for you to say that your children should ask their mother about her makeup. In that case you are submitting the decision making to your wife which is a godly thing to do.

  155. Mark,
    You said:

    How does my example show mutual submission Cheryl…enlighten me? Maybe you egals just live like comps and have false labels attached to comp theology…like dominate, abuse etc etc

    Your example doesn’t show mutual submission. I didn’t ask you to show mutual submission. What I asked you to show was an example of your wife’s submission where she is doing something to/for you that you would never do for her. That would be an example of unilateral submission. But if you would send the kids to their mother to get an answer just like she sent them to you, then you are both submitting to the other person’s decision in a very similar way.

    I do have to go to bed now so I will leave you with this request. Could you please come up with an example of where your wife submits to you and the same kind of action that she does, you could not, would not, and cannot do to/for her (supposing that God forbids you to have this kind of submission to/for her).

    This is the very same question I gave you before, just worded in a way so you can not miss the question. The example you gave was a good example of your wife’s submission to you, but your example is also a good example of where you can easily do the same thing for her in certain circumstances so it is not an example of a completely unilateral submission.

    So what is unilateral submission for your wife to do in your marriage where you will never, ever for any reason do the same for your wife?

    And where does your authority come in? I haven’t seen it in practice with your wife. Perhaps you can give a generic example of Jim and June and how Jim takes a Christ-like authority over his wife. Since you are also out of time, we can pick this up tomorrow. Okay?

  156. Oops sorry missed this one and then I have to go.

    Mark, you said:

    who saids a wife can’t make her own decision? is this another false label you are attaching to my theology?

    Not at all. I was testing your unilateral submission of your wife to see if you too can submit to your wife’s decision. It would be natural in my example to send the kids to their mom thus doing to her what she did for you. But if you didn’t do that, you would be making the decision for her, taking authority over her makeup and why on earth would you do that?

    I think you need to find another example because the one you gave is so easy to be a way to have mutuality and since I think that you must be a good guy deep down in your heart there is no doubt in my mind that you would do the right thing and send the kids to their mom for a decision. So where is an example of submission that is never mutual ever? That is what I am waiting for. Does this make sense?

  157. Does he talk about about Adam providing for Eve- NO! The only thing that goes back to Gen is the one flesh union- the marriage- not the supposed provisional priority of the male.

    Adam’s body provided for Eve’s body. That is how she was created, from Adam’s body and it is why there can even be a one flesh union between the two.

    In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies…29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church

    Christ’s body put to death is what provides us with life, and part of Adam’s body was what God used to create Eve’s body and this is why “source” is tied into the meaning of the head/body metaphor – a unity.

    Sure let’s assume this is correct. How then does this apply to the husband in Ephesus who is the source of his wife? In what way is the Ephesian coming out of her husband? This is the problem, the comparison is between the husband and wife in Ephesus and the Church and Christ, from which Paul draws on the one flesh union of Adam and Eve, not the creational order of Eve.

    Paul tells husbands to love their wives as their own bodies and he can tell husbands to do that because Adam’s body was used to make Eve’s body and since she was made from him they become one flesh. It has nothing to do with Eve being created second (creational order), but rather her origin – that she was taken out of the man.

    It’s interesting how in the two places Paul argues for a creational order, egals protest, and then they insert it into a place where it is not even in view?

    Creation order is mentioned only in 1 Tim 2, it is not in 1 Co 11. Paul talks about origin in 1 Co 11, but he does NOT mention Adam being created first and then Eve. So what’s the second place you had in mind where Paul speaks of Adam being created first then Eve? And in Eph 5, Adam being created first (priority of creation) is not in view. There is a difference between priority of creation (Adam being created first and then Eve) and origin (woman being taken from man or Adam from the ground). They are not the same thing.

  158. She teaches them that i am the head of our house

    So are they taught that they are your body too? The head/body metaphor is a special relationship that can only exist between the husband and wife. If you are the head of the home then your home which includes your children are your body, and that is not scriptural. Ofcourse I assume you get the idea that you are “head of the home” from Eph 5, but you MUST remember that the head is only head in relation to the body, therefore if you distort the metaphor by saying “I’m the head of the home” when scripture only says that you are the head of your wife, then your children are put in the same position as your wife, that is, they are your body. To say that the husband is the head of the home and that this is taught in Eph 5 is to completely distort the head/body metaphor.

  159. Mark,

    In other words, you can’t chop the metaphor up or in two by spltting off the head from the body and and then claim “I’m the head of the home because Eph 5 teaches that I’m the head of the home.” No. That’s is how you destroy the scriptural head/body metaphor by chopping it up like that.

  160. Let me give one small sample of how i believe my wife chooses to submit to me as her head and the leader of our family.

    This is the problem with your example given in #152. You gave an example of how you believe your wife chooses to submit to you as her head and the leader of the family. Obviously, in the example you gave you are not basing it on the metaphor of Ehp 5. But I do appreciate that you tried to give an example. Problem was that you combined you wife’s choice of submission to you with the idea that you are the head of the home.

  161. More circles to go around and around and around. Let me put it this way…ive given an example of how my wife chooses to submit to me as her head- deal with that.

    Wrong. See my last comment #170

  162. So, when Paul says “submit one to another” you take it to mean “some to others” and that would mean (for one) “wives to the head of the home”, right?

    Alrighty then ;P

  163. Mark – I like your example because it is simple and common. But it does not prove any of your points.

    For one, your wife’s submission to you in this particular example does not establish in any way that you are in authority over her. Or are you saying that she also needs to get your permission to leave the dinner table? The only thing your example establishes is that your wife and you have mutual authority over your household. Or are you saying that you would not return the respectful gesture if your kids asked you first? Your example certainly does not establish you are the unilateral leave-the-table decision maker, for if you were, what would your wife do if you were out of town – call you to see if the children can leave the table? That would be absurd.

    So, there is nothing authoritarian in your example at all (or even hierarchical). It is just an example of respectful behavior between parents. Admirable? Yes. An example of comp theology put into practice? Hardly.

  164. NN,

    I for one will not be reading your post as I just don’t have time to go outside my own blog most days. And it is too hard to follow any conversation between two blogs. If you would like to post a paragraph or comment here regarding your thoughts that would be appreciated.

    By the way I will be doing a post in the future on the hierarchy model of submission that you and your dear wife supplied us. I think it would be helpful to talk about and so a post is in the works but not sure yet when it will go up. I may need to do one or more posts first.

  165. gengwall,
    Thanks for your thoughts. I must have been tired last night that I didn’t pick up those great points.

    Indeed Mark’s example did not show that he is in authority over his wife and it did not show that Mark is a unilateral decision maker or that he would never tell his kids in any situation to go to his wife for a decision. That is unless he comes back and shows us that he doesn’t allow his wife to make decisions over her own make-up.

    It also shows an ignorance of the Scripture since the Bible shows that wives are also rulers of the home. If Mark has not shown this to his wife and keeps her in ignorance for his own advantage, it makes me wonder about his silence or perhaps his own ignorance of the Greek.

    It also makes me wonder how one can truly come up with a comp example of authority over his wife with unilateral submission which is never reciprocated in any way. I honestly can’t think of any examples. But then Mark’s stubborn claim that he would never stoop to be lower than his own wife to lift her up in her need may produce an example that I could not think of. I eagerly await his return.

  166. Mark, #152

    Thank you for your example of how dinner is handled at your house. It does show an atmosphere of fatherly rule. The fact that your wife defers to you without being commanded is nice for you. It is not uncommon for wives who live in a marriage of male dominance to willingly and frequently defer to the husband. It makes life easier for her to show visible (and often excessive) honor to the husband whenever possible.

    This does give us a better idea of the extent of authority in a home arranged on the authority submission paradigm. The atmosphere that you described is one that many of us are familiar with.

  167. NN, #173

    I skimmed through your Narnia dialogue. I always loved Narnia. However, I must say that without your input to it, I’ve no idea what spoke to you in those sections of the story. Just quoting the story doesn’t tell me what you make of it.

  168. Cheryl – I agree with you. Mark’s example does not at all show authority of the “head” over the “body”, but instead looks far more like egal mutual submission. I also agree with your parallel example where I suspect Mark would give equal deference to his wife to make a decision. Moreover, while being just a simple example which I appreciate, it can hardly be proven scripturally that the decision to let children leave the table (or any other such decision in the household) is the males unilateral role or that the male is somehow unilaterally gifted (and the female unqualifies) to make such a decision. Which means it boils down, as usual, to individual couples “doing family” in their own way.

    In my house, the situation was actually reversed. My wife, coming from a stricter family, was more prone to expect the children to stay at the table until everyone was done eating. The kids, knowing I would be inclined to allow an early departure, would ask me first if they could leave. Out of respect for my wife’s views on the subject, I would defer to her to give the final release. Certainly, Mark would not claim that my wife was usurping my authority by “leading” in this family situation, nor would he claim I was shirking my responsibility. Or would he? I think such a position would be absurd, so I expect he agrees that the way we did the dinner thing was just as legitimate as the way he did. Which proves our point – it is not an exercise in authority.

    Mark – what we need from you is something that you believe is universally and unilaterally within the husband’s sphere of authority. Something that only husbands are qualified and commanded by scripture to do within the marriage. Something that would consitute sin if either the husband deferred to the wife or the wife took the lead. Is there anything in your marriage or in comp theology that husbands must always do and wives are never allowed to do. And please, when you answer, give us the scriptural playbook to back up the theology. Your saying so doesn’t make it so – we must see where scripture says it’s so.

  169. “But then Mark’s stubborn claim that he would never stoop to be lower than his own wife to lift her up in her need may produce an example that I could not think of.”

    Hmmm – I don’t think he has ever claimed that, has he? That may be your conclusion, but are we putting words in Mark’s mouth?

  170. “This does give us a better idea of the extent of authority in a home arranged on the authority submission paradigm. The atmosphere that you described is one that many of us are familiar with.”

    This has an accusatory ring too, and is a borderline straw man. I doubt Mark’s wife is cowering in the corner and engaging in “excessive honor to the husband” to avoid a beating, which is what I read implied in your comments.

    I don’t think it moves the conversation forward to take an overly pessimistic view of Mark’s marriage. From everything I have read from him, which is all I and any of us have to go on, he and his wife seem to have a happy marriage with a decision making arrangement that works well for them. The point Cheryl and I and others have occassionally made is that on the surface, it sounds egalitarian. I would offer that we should assume the best and try to point out where we think he and his wife actually depart from comp theology and practice.

  171. “Mark – I like your example because it is simple and common. But it does not prove any of your points.
    For one, your wife’s submission to you in this particular example does not establish in any way that you are in authority over her”

    Gengwall, actually I disagree. Maybe because I have lived that picture before, I understand what leads up to that. Plus, note Mark’s statements describing it.
    1. likely the children are not allowed to leave because father has commanded it. This could be one reason why wife defers to husband for children to ask permission. Or she could be deferring everything she can to husband, which is also the sign of a humbled wife.
    2. The fact that wife always defers to husband is not innocent of influence. Wife may have learned that life is easier if she does this. I’ve seen this often enough.
    3. An atmosphere in which no one is allowed to leave the table until everyone is through eating and father is in charge of when anyone can leave, is very authoritative.

    Mark describes himself as head and leader. He believes his wife defers to him in order to show that “Father” leads the home. It appears that Mark takes some pride in the fact that he doesn’t have to command his wife to defer to him, but that she does so voluntarily in order to show his authority. All of this describes an atmosphere of authority and submission. Quite true.

    However, you may have noted that a wife can defer to a husband without it being about the husband’s authority. And a husband can defer to his wife without it being about her authority. Quite true. But would you actually take pride in not allowing anyone to leave the dinner table until everyone had finished eating? Maybe you might do that for a particular dinner, but my guess is not as a required routine. That could get really old and tiring. IMO the whole atmosphere of authority submission get’s old and tiring. It IS INDEED role playing as the French call it. I’ve lived a bit of that in my youth, and some of it as a spouse.

    But then I concede that some people enjoy being boss and some people enjoy being bossed. It is their choice.

    The end line though is that type of living is not prescribed in Scripture. Everyone is really allowed to organize their marriage however they choose with minimal guidelines. How anyone can get an authority submission marital paradigm out of Ephesians is an interesting mystery.

  172. “Which proves our point – it is not an exercise in authority…”

    I should have added “…of one spouse over the other”

  173. gengwall, 181

    If you think that was too harsh, then I will yield to you on that and ….

    Cheryl, will you please remove my comment #177 and this one as well.

    Perhaps, you may think my following comment #182 is harsh also, but it may give you an idea of why I saw what I saw in Mark’s comment.

  174. “I doubt Mark’s wife is cowering in the corner and engaging in “excessive honor to the husband” to avoid a beating, which is what I read implied in your comments.”

    Nope that wasn’t implied. In fact, it didn’t even occur to me.

  175. “But would you actually take pride in not allowing anyone to leave the dinner table until everyone had finished eating? Maybe you might do that for a particular dinner, but my guess is not as a required routine. That could get really old and tiring. ”

    This was the norm in our house. It may get old and tiring for the kids, but they are not in charge. I guess I have no problem with parental authority, which is what I believe Mark’s example shows. I do not see any inherent male authority in it.

  176. Yup, putting words in Mark’s mouth. A little poke in fact. Mark has said that he will not submit to his wife and I added the real meaning of submission – to go underneath a person to meet their need. Now I realize that Mark isn’t seeing submission this way. I would venture to say that he does this very thing regularly but refuses to call it submission and my little poke was set to bring this out. Gengwall you uncovered my ruse. Rats!

    I would like to see Mark’s example of manly authority over his wife and her submission that he would never stoop to doing for her. But in reality I think that they live just as egalitarian a life as we all do for the most part and that Mark never takes his authority. Sadly men taking authority over their wives is actually hurtful to women whether a man knows it or not. By the time that many men find out the harm that they have caused, their marriage is already destroyed beyond repair. I sincerely doubt that Mark does takes authority over his wife because it strikes me as a inner attitude that he has rather than an outer taking authority over his wife in reality.

    I also doubt that Mark in reality would fail to support his wife with submission when she needs it. He would just call it something else because I believe that Mark truly does love his wife and he would do for her whatever she needs even if it is letting her take authority over a situation that is highly important to her. While Mark may be rude here sometimes and he still has not repented for his calling me the equivalent of a self-righteous Pharisee, I believe that he is gentle with his wife respecting her needs and never calling her Pharisaical names in order to demean her. If I am right, Mark is not the same way in his marriage as he comes across on this blog.

  177. TL – I don’t think you were too harsh, and I certainly exercised a little hyperbole myself. I just don’t want us to jump to erroneous and unsupported conclusions about Mark’s marriage based on one little anecdote from him or our own negative personal experiences with similar situations.

  178. TL,
    Are you sure that you want me to remove the comment? I think the conversation can be helpful to others, but if you still want me to, I will.

  179. “Let me encourage everyone here to perhaps devote more energy to giving a realist alternative to a comp interpretation”

    Mark, Mark, Mark…Do you not realize that many of us lived as comps for many years? I could quote you all the talking points forwards and backwards. I have read their Talmuds. Sat in most of their seminars. Listened to thousands of comp sermons.

    It was only by studying the Word indepth and begging the Holy Spirit to remove the filters did I see the contradictions of the comp proof texts. I can give you ONE: The Joel prophecy in Acts. Oh, I know all the comp arguments about this one but they are lies using a few other badly translated proof texts and very bad interpretations. (Ironically, the Puritans agree with me on one bad translation the comps use to negate the Joel Prophecy for women)

    But I did the same thing that they are asking here. I started asking for practical examples of the husband authority on a day to day basis. I asked this of well known comp couples. Of seminar presenters and many pastors who focus on this stuff (to the neglect of the Gospel, I might add)

    And guess what! The answers were ALWAYS what the wife should do. The point was that SHE had to make him feel like the big authority. It was all about what she does. This was no matter if the wife worked 50 hours a week or not. It was the same message. And it started sounding like a rule book or to do list or one of those 10 step how to books.

    And your example was about what your WIFE does. It never ceases to amaze me how this is the same everywhere in the comp movement! The focus is on the women.

    The bottomline is that if you both are believers, you seek the Kingdom first. The relationship with Christ is first and foremost. And that relationship with Christ is what will bring a great loving marriage. But you comps have women focused on their role. They are taught to focus on YOUinstead of Christ. It is a man centered religion of works. After all, none of us can serve two masters.

    I suggest you think of ONE FLESH union as it is: ONE FLESH. There is no authority in one flesh.

  180. I will leave it all in your capable judgement Cheryl. If you think both of my last opinions on this were unacceptable or sidetracking, then please remove. If you esteem they are useful for conversation, then leave them. I willingly defer to your judgement in this.

    blessings, 🙂

  181. I actually have no problem with a wife making sure that the kids see the father as an authority figure. After all they are with her all day and it is her authority that they must respect. The dad they see far less (usually) and I think it can be really sweet for a wife to defer to her husband to show respect to him as a model for her kids. What wouldn’t be good would be if the husband did not show her equal respect and disrespected her authority. This would give the children the idea that she is an inferior authority and would cause them also to disrespect their mother.

    I saw this attitude in the Middle East when we were there in the mid 1980’s. The wives have no respect from the children because the father is set up as the key authority figure. We saw a boy throwing rocks at his sister. His mom tried to stop him but he only responded by throwing rocks at her. Our guide told us that the mothers are not allowed to discipline the sons as that is taking authority over a male and it isn’t allowed. If she were to discipline him she would invite a beating from her husband. The result is that the males are raised with a haughty mindset of male privilege that allows them to disrespect women.

    While Mark’s wife is willingly giving her husband respect (and I commend her for her effort), if he does not also show her respect for her authority with the children he is giving them an unspoken message that he alone is worthy of respect and only males have the highest worth.

    I believe that one day when we are in heaven there will be some sadness at the lack of humility that some expressed here on this earth thinking that they alone are worthy. Jesus never took an attitude of having a higher worth nor did He give the impression that He alone could make decisions or that He alone had authority and He is God! If He could live a life of respect for others and not lording it over those less than He is, then surely godly men today should live as Christ did in humility and respect.

  182. “This was the norm in our house. It may get old and tiring for the kids, but they are not in charge. I guess I have no problem with parental authority, which is what I believe Mark’s example shows. I do not see any inherent male authority in it.”

    Gengwall, 186

    LOL I’ve no problem with parental authority either. My brain just saw something else at work there. And the age of the children makes a difference also. Requiring children to sit through a meal and engage in conversation is not a bad thing in itself. If one starts young enough, later on the rules can be slowly released as the children have learned respect for others. For many other reasons, it just wasn’t a good experience for me in my childhood. It’s the other reasons that were in play in my head.

    Sorry about the misunderstanding there.

  183. What is interesting in this last turn of conversation is that it shows me that motivation can make all the difference. Both male authority minded and those mutuality minded can do the same things but for different reasons. I propose that the reasons we do things can sometimes (but not always) influence how they are experienced by some.

  184. Lydia @ 190 – exactly my experience. I have asked literally hundreds of men on forums, in bible studies, in my family, and even in church leadership, what the “playbook” is for “head of the house” or “spiritual leader”. I get nothing but vague generalities like “well, the husband should make the decisions” or “the husband should lead in spiritual matters”. But nowhere can they point me to scripture that outlines this concept, nor can they demonstrate in their own lives this concept being lived out consistently.

    We also shouldn’t lose sight of pinklight’s comment @ 168. Ephesians 5 uses a head/body metaphor exclusively within the relationship between husband and wife. How we deal with our “household” is not addressed in the passage. Moreover, the concept of “kephale (head) of the household” is entirely foreign to the ancient Greek language. So, to assert that Eph 5 proves a position or role that isn’t in view and the original language doesn’t even recognize is really a stretch.

  185. Cheryl – I agree with you. Mark’s example does not at all show authority of the “head” over the “body”, but instead looks far more like egal mutual submission.

    I agree with this, but from his perspective the example he gave is of his wife’s submission to him as head of herand him being head of the home. I wonder what would his wife’s submission to him as head in the marriage look like aside his belief that he is the head of the home? Seems to me that maybe he cannot seperate the two?

  186. Mark describes himself as head and leader. He believes his wife defers to him in order to show that “Father” leads the home.

    YES!

  187. I would like to see Mark’s example of manly authority over his wife and her submission that he would never stoop to doing for her.

    This is what I want to see also.

  188. ” How we deal with our “household” is not addressed in the passage.”

    I don’t know if Mark is coming back but what does he do with the verse in 1 Tim that describes the woman as the ‘despot’ of the home? (In the Greek, of course…not the translation)

  189. “She teaches them that i am the head of our house and that they are to respect and obey that. This is radically different to our culture and why the Bible gives such a beautiful picture of our relationship with Christ. Let me say that the normal picture should reflect Christ and the Bible- an egalitarian model does not do that.”

    I did not criticize the fact that your wife asks the children to respect their father. I do say that IF the father does not reciprocate in a completely mutual way and teach the children equal respect for the mother, the result is chaos. I am saying that it is not enough for children to respect and obey their father. Instruction in the Bible is for children to respect their parents. This is essential. I am shocked at anything less. I suspect that you must teach the children to respect their mother, but perhaps you have not thought about it that way. Perhaps you do model equal respect for both mother and father. Perhaps your family is normal in this way.

    Then let us admit that equal respect for both parents is normal, and putting one parent over the other causes serious dysfunction, since one parent cannot function as a parent.

    Although I believe that “authoritarianism” is bad for children, I am the head of an orderly and respectful household. My children to respect me. I think you would find my home a peaceful and respectful place.

  190. “This is radically different to our culture….”

    Mark, this is an area that comps really beat on…the whole idea of authority. I understand it and agree with it to a point. I must also teach my children to think critically and spiritually and NOT follow evil authorities. This includes wolves in the church, despots, etc. I think we can learn from the Germans on this one. They used this position of respect for and obedience to authority and turned it into something evil and horrible for children.

    There are some adults they should be civil to but I certainly hope they do not respect out of some misplaced duty.

  191. Mark said,
    “The way i see it in our western egalitarian, non-authority culture, children no longer have respect. Our children run wildly around since they are taught that there is no such thing as authority- this is a direct result of our culture and you want me to push my children head-long into it.”
    In our household, both my husband and I encourage the children’s respect for the authority of the other. Our children respect both their father and their mother.
    I wanted to ask for clarification in the example you gave, Mark. You said the children were at the table with your wife and you both present. The children asked their mother for permission to leave the table– with you present– and she told them to ask you. Is that right? It seems to me that your children must also respect their mother’s authority in the home, or they would have simply bypassed her and asked you directly. This is why I don’t think the situation TL describes (poignantly, from her own experience) applies in your home– for if your wife were “humbled” in that way, the children would know that it’s no use asking the mother anything, because only the father has any say. Since your children plainly do NOT know this, I agree with Cheryl that you are a good man who teaches the children to “honor your father AND your mother.” Sadly, many marriages use the doctrines of complementarianism to divest the wife of honor. There are homes in which “honor your father and mother” is lived out as if it said “children and mothers, honor the father.” I’m glad for TL’s input, because she shows how easily this can happen, if these doctrines are taken too far. I am glad you do not take them too far. Kudos to you.
    But a Christian egalitarian marriage does NOT mean a no-authority family where the children run wild. It means that both the husband and the wife have equal authority over the children.

  192. Kristen,
    An excellent comment!

    It was also very good to remind Mark:

    But a Christian egalitarian marriage does NOT mean a no-authority family where the children run wild. It means that both the husband and the wife have equal authority over the children.

    For some reason comps often think that because we do not believe that the husband has authority over the wife that this equates to a no-authority home. The Bible clearly talks about the “law” of the mother and the father so there is not just one ruler in the family who sets out the family “law”.

    Proverbs 6:20 (NKJV)
    20 My son, keep your father’s command,
    And do not forsake the law of your mother.

  193. This is why I don’t think the situation TL describes (poignantly, from her own experience) applies in your home– for if your wife were “humbled” in that way, the children would know that it’s no use asking the mother anything, because only the father has any say.

    Maybe it was the wife who knew better and not the children, because she believes that the father has the final say, so I wouldn’t be so sure of the children’s perspective…

    TL:
    Mark describes himself as head and leader. He believes his wife defers to him in order to show that “Father” leads the home.

    TL was onto something in her comment #182

  194. my wife will always tell the kids that they need to ask me, even if they have asked her first.

    That’s about final say.

  195. So my question is if the husband always has final say does the wife actually have any say – ever? (In Mark’s case)

  196. Mark, would or could you ever agree to always telling the kids yourself that they need to ask their mother, even if they have asked you first?

  197. So my question is if the husband always has final say does the wife actually have any say – ever? (In Mark’s case)

    pinklight,
    Clearly, logic will say “no.”

  198. Lydia:
    And guess what! The answers were ALWAYS what the wife should do. The point was that SHE had to make him feel like the big authority. It was all about what she does. This was no matter if the wife worked 50 hours a week or not. It was the same message. And it started sounding like a rule book or to do list or one of those 10 step how to books.

    And your example was about what your WIFE does. It never ceases to amaze me how this is the same everywhere in the comp movement! The focus is on the women.

    And one question I have is, why? Why is the focus on the women or what the wife does?

  199. This message is for Mark. I have copied my last personal emails to you and forwarded them from my ministry email address since your hotmail account is apparently not receiving my emails. I think the first resend you already received, but my answers you have not seen. I don’t know what else to do except to say that if you don’t get them now, could you please write me and give me another email address to use. Maybe sign up for gmail and that should solve any problems. This is quite baffling to me. I did have to resend a lady an email twice before she got it. She also had a hotmail account. Gmail had no problems receiving.

  200. My wife and I have been following the recent discussion on authority, submission and Ephesians 5 with interest. Thank you to everyone for your comments. There has been much food for thought.
    I wanted to check if we are on the right track. Any feedback would be welcome.
    In Eph 5, wives are to submit to their husbands because he is the head of the wife. The church is to submit to Christ because He is the head of the church.
    This can mean either:
    Wife/church submit (obey) because husband/Christ is head (authoritative ruler) of wife/church OR
    Wife/church submit (serve) because husband/Christ is head (loves, cares for) wife/church
    The latter does seem to fit the context better and is a biblical concept- we serve Christ because he loves us so much and gave his life for us. The context is not that we serve Christ because he is the authoritative ruler of the church. So in the same way, wives are to serve their husbands who are to love and care for them, not because he rules with authority over them.

  201. Craig – I’m not sure you can get directly to “serve” from the Greek for “submit” but you are on the right track. I would note that the Eph 5 verses to husbands certainly contain the idea of service to the wife, wouldn’t you agree? Christ does serve us as well as we serving Him so the biblical concept is not lost.

    I also would encourage you to not lose sight of the fact that head/body is a metaphor. Paul is asking us to look at the relationship between the anatomical head and body and derive from that how marriage should work. In other places through the same metaphor, Paul indicates the mutual honor and symbiotic relationship that head and body have. In keeping with your idea – head and body physiologically certainly do serve each other, need each other, and cooperate with each other for the good of the whole person. Marriage should mirror this relationship.

  202. Referring our children to their mom or dad has never been about a show of who is in authority. Rather, in our home it is about deference being shown to both the husband (dad) and wife (mom) because the other may be better equipped to inform the other’s decision or to make the decision. More importantly, for us, it is about “inviting the other parent” into a circumstance or situation and presenting a “united front” to our children, not about creating a scene that dad is in ultimate authority.

    So, though we don’t have the exact custom Mark does for the dinner table, the scenario in our home would play out accordingly:

    if mom were asked by a child to be dismissed prematurely from the table, she could remind the child of the family’s rule and dad would reinforce most likely with a joke or a fun challenge, etc. However, if mom chose to show latitude for reasons only known to her at the time she could excuse the child and dad would not feel threatened because he has full confidence in her and trusts her because he knows she brings him good and not harm. Or, mom when asked invites dad into the process, and they decide together. The latter is not too different from Mark’s example, except the motivation. The motivation here is to show deference and to use a natural occurence as an opportunity to present a “united front” not about a scene to show who is in ultimate authority.

    Each example affirms the mom and dad’s authority in the lives of their children, shows confidence in each other, and models respect, deference, and two lovingly working together as one.

  203. “And one question I have is, why? Why is the focus on the women or what the wife does?”

    I have studied CBMW writings for some time now and have several answers:

    1. Because men are the “authority” teachers and this is what they teach.  If the “authority’ says this interpretation is correct, then it must be.

     When they teach on the male ‘role’ they are vague as gengwell mentioned above: spiritual leader, final authority, etc. These are vague roles that can really cover just about anything the individual husband wants it to cover. They see themselves as God ordained authorities as both teachers and husbands. (Except that they should see themselves as servants. But they have managed to redefine servant as authority)

    2. Because they must have women obeying these man made interpretations or the whole comp structure fails.  So, they teach this in a way that makes it sinful for a women not to obey. They teach it to make women think  that, in effect, she is NOT obeying God if she does not follow her ‘role’. So, this makes  the focus on women. And it makes her the sinner.  Have you noticed how they deal with abuse of various kinds? Piper says she should endure abuse for a season. See, she is righteous if she endures abuse. I often wonder if Piper would go to work each day and endure abuse from someone who claims to be a Christian? He could escape it by gong home. The wife cannot.

    3. Many comp teachers talk about the husbands ‘role’ in such as way that is really silly. He is to love her…ok, how is that taught? Date night, flowers, telling her you love her. Very shallow sort of things.

    Her “role” is to support him in whatever he does…this comes down to whatever he thinks she should do. Even down to being careful how you give driving instructions so that it won’t look like you are ‘teaching’ him.

    It is all about elevating men. Which goes back to the fact that they must be  insecure about who they are in the first place. Otherwise this would not be such a huge issue that has become a mass  movement within Christianity and has more folks thinking about thier roles than their relationship with Christ.

    What concerns me most is that they humanize spiritual counsel in Eph 5. The husband is NOT Christ. He is a fallen sinner saved by the same grace as the wife. But these men map themselves to Christ. Are not women to be Christlike, too?

  204. Craig,

    The reality is that wives care for their husbands. Women provide and protect their parents, husbands, children and other relatives. Women simply do fill this function as a matter of fact. In the NT women did this as well. In the social context of the NT, women were often dependent on husbands or other male members of the family for legal representation. But this no longer pertains.

  205. 217

    Heavy. I’ll have to respond later to it. It’s a very serious matter the issue at hand and so I don’t know exactly how to address it. It’s depressing too.

  206. “They see themselves as God ordained authorities as both teachers and husbands. (Except that they should see themselves as servants. But they have managed to redefine servant as authority)”

    Hence the “servant leader” oxymoron

  207. Craig #214

    My wife and I have been following the recent discussion on authority, submission and Ephesians 5 with interest

    I am so happy that you are able to join us even if it is just in following the discussion. I believe that this is a very important discussion and that we can all learn from each other. If you have a comment or two, please feel free to jump in at any time.

  208. Craig,
    You said:

    In Eph 5, wives are to submit to their husbands because he is the head of the wife. The church is to submit to Christ because He is the head of the church.
    This can mean either:
    Wife/church submit (obey) because husband/Christ is head (authoritative ruler) of wife/church OR
    Wife/church submit (serve) because husband/Christ is head (loves, cares for) wife/church

    I believe that the second reason is correct but I also think that it goes beyond this reason for those men who do not know or love the Lord Jesus and who may not show love or respect for their wives. I believe that wives will submit to serve these unbelieving husbands also in ways that will cause them to see Jesus in them. This honors the Lord Jesus and may very well bring them to the Lord. So while it is much easier to serve a husband and receive from him when he is a believer who truly wants to love and sacrifice for his wife, we are also required to respect an unbelieving husband who has not yet come to understand that his wife is not beneath him but is his own flesh.

    If all husbands would act first in love and sacrifice, their wives would have a very easy job to respect them, love them and serve them with joy in ways that honor them. It is not so easy to submit to a man who treats a wife like her submission is what belongs to him as his “right” and who uses that to selfishly get whatever he wants from her. I believe that being in the marriage as “head” he is the one who is to initiate the sacrifice first and what flows from that in his relationship with his wife will be peace, honor and love. Those who demand submission before they have a heart attitude of sacrifice are not doing what is required of them as “head”.

    The entire mindset of patriarchy is male entitlement and you-do-it-first mentality that places the onus on the wife to initiate the sacrificial submission. While wives are to submit no matter the “attitude” of their husbands, I believe that the “head” place in the body is to “start” or “initiate” just as Jesus initiated our relationship with Him by coming to earth even when we didn’t know Him and we were still alienated from God. It is interesting that most pastors do not give this kind of counsel but look to the wife to be the “head” in initiating a sacrificial submission in order for him to “respond” in a good way to her. I believe that this is completely backwards to the “leaving” and “cleaving” that the man is called to do.

  209. “And one question I have is, why? Why is the focus on the women or what the wife does?”

    I have studied CBMW writings for some time now and have several answers:

    Lydia, how long has the focus been on the women?

  210. When they teach on the male ‘role’ they are vague as gengwell mentioned above: spiritual leader, final authority, etc.

    Was the male”role” at one time the focus?

  211. It is interesting that most pastors do not give this kind of counsel but look to the wife to be the “head” in initiating a sacrificial submission in order for him to “respond” in a good way to her. I believe that this is completely backwards to the “leaving” and “cleaving” that the man is called to do.

    I agree.

  212. Mark,

    I realize you have several commenters and a host throwing questions at you on this thread and another. At your earliest convenience, could you look at #216 and respond to the following?

    Are the options in the scenario at #216 biblical? If not, why not?
    Are some or one option biblical but not others? If so, which ones and why?
    Would your scenario at the dinner table be *more* bibilical? If so, why?

  213. Only one brief comment becasue time is limited,

    If my children ask me first to hop down, would i tell them to ask their mother aswell…no i wouldn’t.

    My example does not say that the wife does not have authority over our children, nor able to make decisions. It simply shows, that when both parents are there, and an authoritative decision is to be made, i make it. My wife expects me to make it. Would she make the same decision if i were not there…of course she would.

    I have never said i need to ‘take authority’ over my wife, as appears common in these threads. It is not about ‘taking’ the auhtority, it is whether authority exists. Even when authority exists we can choose not to obey it. I can choose to break laws, but it doesn’t mean that the authority to fine me, no longer applies.

    My wife could equally choose to usurp my authority, since it is not in my opinion, my job to ‘take’. As i have said earlier, the Bible commands her and thus God, not me. If she chooses to reject God’s commandment, it is between her and God. Likewise if she chooses to obey God’s commandment, it is between her and God. I will never, and don’t ‘take’ or demand authority from my wife.

    To apply it differently, when we moved house last year to another state, we discussed the issue, prayed about it etc. However, when the crunch time came and we needed to decide to do it, my wife left it to me to make the decision. In this process, i did not ignore her, abuse her, not take her feelings etc into account. Simply when an authoritative decision is to be made for us or our family, i make it. If i choose to make a decision deliberately to antogonise my wife, or to make life harder for her, is that reflecting Christ-no it is not. My decisions and thus authority, i always try to manage in a Christ like way.

    Anyway i’ve said enough about my marriage.

  214. Mark,
    I appreciate your willingness to discuss this issue with an example from your own marriage.

    You said:

    It simply shows, that when both parents are there, and an authoritative decision is to be made, i make it.

    What do you mean by this? Do you mean that your wife has no power or authority to make an “authoritative” decision when you are home? Also why would the simple matter of when children leave the table require an “authoritative decision”? When you say this it seems to imply that your wife doesn’t have the authority to tell the kids when they can leave the table. Are they many other things that she doesn’t have the authority to do? Does she had the authority to tell the kids when it is bedtime when you are home?

    My wife expects me to make it. Would she make the same decision if i were not there…of course she would.

    It seems like her authority is there when you are not home and when you are home you have an unspoken authority that claims the right to make all decisions regarding the children when the two of you are together. Is this how you see it?

    I have never said i need to ‘take authority’ over my wife, as appears common in these threads. It is not about ‘taking’ the auhtority, it is whether authority exists.

    How would we know if authority exists unless someone takes authority?

    Secondly in your “authority” role can you give your wife the opportunity to make an “authoritative” decision when you are both there or would that remove your authority?

    Even when authority exists we can choose not to obey it.

    If you said nothing and your wife made a decision concerning the kids without deferring to you to make the decision, would that be disobeying your authority?

    More to come…

  215. Mark,
    You said:

    I can choose to break laws, but it doesn’t mean that the authority to fine me, no longer applies.

    Do you have the authority to “fine” your wife for not deferring to your authority? Do you have the authority to punish her for making a decision regarding the children when you are in the home together and when she hasn’t asked you your opinion or given the decision over to you?

    What type of authority do you actually have concerning your wife?

    My wife could equally choose to usurp my authority, since it is not in my opinion, my job to ‘take’.

    How could your wife “usurp” your authority? An authority can be usurped only if the authority belongs to one person and not the other. Does the authority over your children belong solely to you? If it doesn’t, and your wife makes a decision about your children, how could she usurp what also belongs to her?

    As i have said earlier, the Bible commands her and thus God, not me.

    Are you sure? Where does the Bible command that she make no decision about the kids when you are in the house? And does the Bible go further by commanding that she make no decision about the kids even when you are not in the house? Would it also be usurping your authority if she did that? Should she be calling you first to ask your permission to put the kids to bed if you are not in the house? How exactly does the Bible describe your wife’s usurping of your authority?

  216. Mark,
    You said:

    If she chooses to reject God’s commandment, it is between her and God.

    That actually seems to come across as if you have no authority over her at all. That you have no permission from God to punish her as if it is none of your business as God will deal with her? Is this right? If you have no power or authority to punish her, then how is it that you actually have authority unless she actually gives you authority? If she gives you authority to make decisions that she could have made, doesn’t that mean that she has the power to give something that actually belongs to her too? Wouldn’t that mean that she is submitting to your equal right to make decisions and she is yielding to you, but that you do not have any more authority over the children than she does?

  217. Mark,
    You said:

    Likewise if she chooses to obey God’s commandment, it is between her and God. I will never, and don’t ‘take’ or demand authority from my wife.

    This seems to confirm my earlier comment that it is your wife that gives you the authority. That you can’t demand she give you her authority. But rather that she can submit her “rights” to you but you have no “right” to demand that she give up her “rights” with the children?

    You said:

    To apply it differently, when we moved house last year to another state, we discussed the issue, prayed about it etc. However, when the crunch time came and we needed to decide to do it, my wife left it to me to make the decision.

    Does this mean that she had no decision of her own so she let you make the decision? Or that she was not in favor of what you wanted but she submitted to your decision?

  218. Mark,
    You said:

    In this process, i did not ignore her, abuse her, not take her feelings etc into account. Simply when an authoritative decision is to be made for us or our family, i make it.

    May I ask if you made the “authoritative decision” to do what she wanted to do or did you make the decision to do what you wanted to do?

    If i choose to make a decision deliberately to antogonise my wife, or to make life harder for her, is that reflecting Christ-no it is not.

    How about if you make a decision that you want to do but you don’t do it deliberately to antagonize her, but you still did not choose what she wanted. Do you believe that is reflecting Christ to her since you know better than she does what is good for her? Or how would you explain how your decision which is opposite of hers would reflect Christ to her?

    My decisions and thus authority, i always try to manage in a Christ like way.

    Actually, if I may be so bold to say, that it isn’t your authority. It seems to me that you have no authority unless she gives it to you. If you do still have authority if she doesn’t surrender it to you, then how is that shown?

    It is rare that I get to see inside a complementarian’s brain and try to understand how they think. I really appreciate being able to ask questions and any answers that you can give would be much appreciated. I think that we all appreciate knowing how and why you consider yourself to have authority of yourself. It sure seems to me that unless your wife gives you hew “right” to make a decision, thus empowering you, that you don’t really have any authority at all. Perhaps I am wrong about this but I fail to see how. Maybe you can enlighten me.

  219. If my children ask me first to hop down, would i tell them to ask their mother aswell…no i wouldn’t.

    My example does not say that the wife does not have authority over our children, nor able to make decisions. It simply shows, that when both parents are there, and an authoritative decision is to be made, i make it. My wife expects me to make it. Would she make the same decision if i were not there…of course she would.

    Mark,

    So you are saying that in the home both you and your wife have authority but you have ultimate authority or final say – in the home.

    I think it is clear then what you are saying, if I’m not mistaken.

  220. I have never said i need to ‘take authority’ over my wife, as appears common in these threads. It is not about ‘taking’ the auhtority, it is whether authority exists. Even when authority exists we can choose not to obey it. I can choose to break laws, but it doesn’t mean that the authority to fine me, no longer applies.

    Right, Mark. It’s about what your wife does. She places herself under your authority – you don’t have to “take” authority over her. This is what Lydia pointed out.

  221. Thank you Mark, for giving 227! I might have a few things to say more in response later.. Thanks again, Mark. It helps me understand where you are coming from.

  222. When you say this it seems to imply that your wife doesn’t have the authority to tell the kids when they can leave the table.

    I think Mark is saying that she indeed does have authority to tell the kids when they can leave the table even if Mark is present, but that she gives the descision power to the father as she believes she is commanded to do. So she has the authority because they are her children, but she doesn’t use it over the head of the home, the father.

    Mark doesn’t have to exercise his “right” of authority because his wife places herself under his authority. It would be sin for her from her perspective (and Mark’s) to not give the descion power over to the father of the home.

    Is this right, Mark? (Gotta double check)

  223. How would we know if authority exists unless someone takes authority?

    That’s right!! If Mark cannot take authority (he doesn’t need to cause his wife gives it to him) then he doesn’t actualy have any authortiy. He only has what has been given by his wife, therefore the question is, if SHE DECIDED not give him this authority would he have it? The answer depends on whether or not he can at that point take the authority because she had no longer decided to give him authority.

  224. The more I think about what Mark is saying, the more I believe that his wife is the key to his authority. He has not authority to force himself on her or to take authority over her so if she doesn’t give him his “rights” there is nothing that he can do. In other words the power is in the woman’s hands not in his. She gives him the right to make the final decision and she gives him the right to make an “authoritative” decision.

    I would also like to know what Mark considers is an “authoritative” decision. Is it a decision that cannot be reversed? Is it final… that’s it…no-more-influence-will-be-accepted kind of “authoritative” decision?

    Again, I give Mark a lot of credit in being willing to actually answer some of the questions that we have asked him. There aren’t too many brave comps around who will agree to answer these questions. So kudos to Mark.

  225. How could your wife “usurp” your authority? An authority can be usurped only if the authority belongs to one person and not the other. Does the authority over your children belong solely to you? If it doesn’t, and your wife makes a decision about your children, how could she usurp what also belongs to her?

    I would like to know too, Mark. How is that possible?

  226. The more I think about what Mark is saying, the more I believe that his wife is the key to his authority.

    YEP YEP!

  227. Are you sure? Where does the Bible command that she make no decision about the kids when you are in the house? And does the Bible go further by commanding that she make no decision about the kids even when you are not in the house? Would it also be usurping your authority if she did that? Should she be calling you first to ask your permission to put the kids to bed if you are not in the house? How exactly does the Bible describe your wife’s usurping of your authority?

    He only has final authority when he’s physicaly under the roof.

    Mark, oh come on…

  228. If she gives you authority to make decisions that she could have made, doesn’t that mean that she has the power to give something that actually belongs to her too?

    *BIG GRIN*
    😛

  229. In other words the power is in the woman’s hands not in his.

    Nuff said. The power is in the WOMAN’S hands. 🙂

  230. Cheryl said,
    “The more I think about what Mark is saying, the more I believe that his wife is the key to his authority. He has not authority to force himself on her or to take authority over her so if she doesn’t give him his “rights” there is nothing that he can do. In other words the power is in the woman’s hands not in his. She gives him the right to make the final decision and she gives him the right to make an “authoritative” decision.”
    Yeah, but I wonder if Mark thinks about it more like this: He has authority, but it is not Christlike to insist upon or take authority. After all, Christ has authority, certainly, but He lets us choose whether or not to follow Him. Even so, it must be up to Mark’s wife to choose to follow Mark. Logically, choosing not to force authority upon someone is not the same as not having authority.
    Just trying to be fair. (grin)
    I had a question, though. My husband has been working really hard on his final projects to graduate with his graphic design degree. (He’ll be done tomorrow! Yay!) After a presentation of his portfolio that he made to the faculty, his fellow students and their families, we both wanted to go have lunch. He was so tired that he had absolutely no desire to make a decision about where we should go for lunch– nor was he really capable of making a decision at that point because his brain was in a fog of fatigue. He did not come right out and say, “I want you to make the decision,” but I’ve been his wife for 22 years, and I know him. So I made the decision. I said, “We’re going to such and such a restaurant.” He nodded and (I know Mark will hate the way I say this) gladly submitted. (another grin)
    If we were complementarians, would this be considered to be usurping his authority?
    Or how about this: Supposing he comes home from school with a high fever and a cough. Suppose I take one look at him, lead him to the couch, press him down upon it, cover him with a blanket, and then go get medicine and a glass of water, hold them out and say, “Take this!” Am I usurping his authority? When he takes those pills, I’d call that “submission.” What would a complementarian call it?

  231. Yeah, but I wonder if Mark thinks about it more like this: He has authority, but it is not Christlike to insist upon or take authority. After all, Christ has authority, certainly, but He lets us choose whether or not to follow Him. Even so, it must be up to Mark’s wife to choose to follow Mark. Logically, choosing not to force authority upon someone is not the same as not having authority.

    This is awesome. I bet he does look at it the way you have described.

    Back to those questions on the other thread, Mark, can you or can you not command? What can you do? Christ can command, insist, take, but what can you do? What real authority do you have?

    Anti-spam = “real”

  232. Do you really think that you have authority like God over another person?? (Though you choose not to use it)

    I did not just have to ask that question, did I?

  233. God’s (Godhead or the Father, your choice) given YOU authority, (and the Father gave the Son authority) over another person?

    The more I continue with this thread the more is ridiculous in my mind.

  234. My brother use to have real issues with “having authority”, and one day a prophet shows up to town to give messages to the small town’s church. The prophet told him (this is the only prophet I’ve ever met face to face that I know was a real prophet) that God had already given him authority. Thing is, my brother never understood what that meant. God’s given authority to us all in matters we’ve yet to even understand, but he certainly has not given any authority in the way comps believe he has. He’s given us all authority to protect, love, honor, build up…he’s given some authority to discipline, to teach, to care for the sheep, to operate in their gifts etc. But what he’s never given is authority to the sex chromosome or authority based on flesh.
    I still contend that comps do NOT understand the authority that God gives – and to his PEOPLE.

  235. @ pinklight (#246 and following): “The more I continue with this thread the more is ridiculous in my mind”. Precisely, and that’s why the authority argument is on its face not just ridiculous but farcical. IMHO, it all comes down to one thing: men trying to prove that women are inferior, and they are the superior ones. We wouldn’t be going round and round in these stupid circles with this infantile argument (essentially a p—ing contest) if there weren’t a huge (and obvious) dose of male hubris at play here. It will be denied but I think (and hope) I’ve been around long enough to sense pride at work, and there’s a lot at work in the writings of the complementarians (Grudem and Piper especially come to mind). Why else would they be hung up on submission, unless they felt like they had to defend “their” authority? That’s the $1,000,000 question, and until they can admit that that’s at least in part what’s going on, we continue in this ridiculous cycle, ad infinitum, ad nauseaum.(And if I butchered the Latin, mea culpa. Coffee and Coldplay aren’t enough to wake me up so far. Up too late celebrating my beloved Chicago Blackhawks winning the Stanley Cup!)

  236. “2. Because they must have women obeying these man made interpretations or the whole comp structure fails. So, they teach this in a way that makes it sinful for a women not to obey.”
    Lydia@217,

    Yes, and I believe this is the hinge on which the entire comp/hierarchist’s door swings. That is exactly why their focus is on the woman’s role – getting her to supply the man/husband with authority. Notice how “soft” comps, like Mark and NN, would never say that the husband “takes authority over” or “enforces” his authority??

    We have discussed this on Cheryl’s blog several times. They have designed the perfect Control Paradigm – since to even question it makes a woman guilty of unsubmissiveness, if not worse.

  237. NN #173
    TL #178

    It is near impossible to know what NN’s point is, since he did not provide any commentary or synthesis of his thoughts with the quotes. Given his title, I suppose the quotes he has pulled are intended to say something about authority, although the word “rule” is used in the quotes and used according to the English definition.

    I found the final quote he used very telling:

    “My children,” said Aslan, fixing his eyes on both of them, “you are to be the first King and Queen of Narnia.”
    “You shall rule and name all these creatures, and do justice among them, and protect them from their enemies when enemies arise.“
    “Well,” said Aslan,”can you use a spade and a plough and raise food out of the earth?”
    “Can you rule these creatures kindly and fairly,….” The Magician’s Nephew

    I noticed Aslan’s instruction to the King & *Queen* resemble closely the instructions given in Genesis 1:27-28 to both the male & *female*:

    “….He created them as male and female.28 God blessed them. He said to them, “Have children and increase your numbers. Fill the earth and bring it under your control. Rule over the fish in the waters and the birds of the air. Rule over every living creature that moves on the ground.” 29 Then God said, “I am giving you every plant on the face of the whole earth that bears its own seeds. I am giving you every tree that has fruit with seeds in it. All of them will be given to you for food.” “

  238. cont…

    Actually, Mark and NN try to soften it so much they redefine “authority” to be “male’s serving” when pinned down.

  239. Mark @227 – That was quite an eye opening post even though it was brief. All of Cheryl’s questions would be mine as well so I won’t clutter things up by posting extensively. I would just say that, without any license to “take” your authority, and without any means to enforce your authority, it seems what you have described is simply your and your wife’s individual marital decision making paradigm. It hardly qualifies as doctrinal and I suspect that you would have a hard time arguing that my and my wife’s egalitarian decision making paradigm is any less legitimate or blessed in God’s eyes.

  240. “As i have said earlier, the Bible commands her and thus God, not me. If she chooses to reject God’s commandment, it is between her and God. Likewise if she chooses to obey God’s commandment, it is between her and God. I will never, and don’t ‘take’ or demand authority from my wife.”

    Mark is making my points for me here. This is exactly what they believe. Note that it is a one way submission and if the wife does not submit, she is disobeying….NOT ONLY HER HUSBAND…BUT GOD!

    (Never mind Eph 5:21. It simply does not apply to husbands or evidently, pastors or elders, either)

    This is why all the focus must be on what the wife does or does not do in comp teaching. It is as if the husband represents God to the wife and by not obeying the husband she is a rebellious sinner.

    But where does Eph 5 talk about authority and obediance?

    Now, who does the husband obey in this scenerio? Of course, the civil authorities (like his wife must, too) and the church “authorities” (as they deem them that are just like the husband in this belief) but then they believe the husband has some direct link to God the wife does not have. How else could they believe he is her spiritual authority?

    Question: Does the wife have to obey the church authorities? If so, do they have final say over the husband if it comes to that?

    The more you get past the general comp teaching and delve into the specifics, the more bizarre and legalistic it gets in practice. What are the lines that seperate basic comp teaching from Patriarchal groups? The lines are the degree’s of legalism they teach.

  241. LOL – This soft comp approach is a pretty sweet deal for us guys. Let’s see, I get to redefine authority as “servant leadership” which sounds so much better than “king” or “boss”. I never have to actually punish my wife for disobedience which saves me from being labelled as an abuser, but I do get to shame her by claiming she is being sinful, which heeps all the condemnation on her and keeps me lilly white in the eyes of the church. And I get to be in charge even though God hasn’t told me I am because God tells her she has to let me be, which clears me of ever being viewed as an authority grasping tyrant. This is awesome! I can’t possibly lose! Sign me up.

  242. pinklight: I have been involved with the comp movement since the mid 1980’s even before the Danvers statement was published. They have elevated this doctrine to a primaryteaching of salvation. So, if you are not submitting to your husband (they define as obedience) then you are rebelling against God and believers do not do that.

    If you think about it, this controls every area of a woman’s life if she is married. Even her spiritual relationship with Christ and striving to be guided by the Holy Spirit instead of a human.

    If you can get a copy of RK McGregor Wright’s 3 part response to the Danvers statment, do so. It was revised around 1990 but it was unpublished. However, I like Wright’s response because he is seriously into the Sovereignty of God and he shows how lame and lacking it is in scriptural basis and how badly the proof texts are interpreted. And the statement is the basis for the modern comp movement. it is the basis for the advent of CBMW.

  243. Kristen,
    You said:

    Logically, choosing not to force authority upon someone is not the same as not having authority.

    Yes, you are right. However the question I still have is how do we know someone really has authority? With Christ we know that he has all enemies under his feet and he rules over them. He has authority to judge all lawbreakers whether they like it or not. Christ has true authority.

    Now we know that each of us as believers also has authority. But what is that authority? We have authority over the earth and the animals and all spiritual authority that Christ gave us. But do we have authority to make decisions for other believers? If we did, they wouldn’t need to give us authority, we would already have it.

    Mark shows us no way that we can tell that he truly has authority. We know that his wife gives him her own authority to make a decision, but we don’t see any authority that is inherent in him that would make it morally right to override his wife’s will.

    Mark also has given us examples of how his wife has given him the right to make the final decision but he has not shown us through making those final decisions that he is sacrificing for his wife.

    I think that however a husband and wife mutually decide to run their marriage should be up to them. After all if Mark were to sacrifice himself to make a final decision that would make them go his wife’s way, then what difference would that be to those marriages where sometimes it is the husband who submits to the wife’s desires? In the end it is the same thing. However if a wife gives the final decision to her husband and he uses that authority that she gives him to promote his own way every time, I would submit that she has given him the power to be selfish and I don’t think that should be something that is encouraged in men (or women!)

  244. I doubt that Mark uses the authority conferred on him by his wife selfishly, but as he has described, it is authority conferred on him by her, nonetheless.

  245. “This is awesome! I can’t possibly lose! Sign me up.”

    LOL, gengwall, it does have the perfect appeal, doesn’t it?!!!

  246. “I’m not the boss in my house. I don’t know how I lost it; I don’t know when I lost it. But I’ve seen the bosees job…and I don’t want it!” – Bill Cosby

    I know plenty of women who are perfectly happy letting their husbands “wear the pants”. I also know plenty of men who are perfectly happy letting their wives “rule the roost”. The better question is not “who is in charge” but “what does God want”. Does God really want only one side of the “two become one-flesh” relationship to make the decisions; to have the authority? Is such a scenario even a true reflection of the design of either the two individuals or the unified couple? I find no evidence of that in scripture (or biology). It just doesn’t make any sense to me, and “two are better than one” and “a cord of three strands” and so much more in scripture teaches explicitely against it. Even worse, to actually abdicate responsibility and grant another authority you, Cosby’s humor not withstanding, is to deny both God’s design (for the individual and for marriage) and even His sovereignty (over the individual and the marriage).

  247. Would I like it if my wife deferred to me in all decisions? Absolutely! Does that mean I actually want her to? Absolutely not! Why? Because sometimes I am ignorant and sometimes I am shortsighted and sometimes I am ruled by my flesh and sometimes I am downright dumb. Conversely, sometimes she is intuitive and sometimes she is insightful and sometimes she is led by The Spirit and sometimes she is downright brilliant. Why on earth would I trust me to decide everything for us when we do such a better job at it.

  248. gengwall,
    You said:

    Why on earth would I trust me to decide everything for us when we do such a better job at it.

    That is it! Why should one person be given the license to make every decision when two people coming to a mutual decision using both of their gifts and input from both is the best for both? If a mutual decision doesn’t come right away, maybe God is saying that more work is needed for a one-flesh decision. Giving only the husband a final decision-making power or authority is bypassing the hard work of mutuality. It may be an easy way out for a woman who isn’t used to making decisions, but how will she learn? Not by giving over her responsibility. And as I said, one person making all the decisions promotes selfishness and I don’t think any wife should want to promote that.

  249. All this discussion on whether or not the husband truly has authority in the relationship he has with his wife, or is it that she simply treats him as if he does (in which case “authority” is entirely irrelevant).

    Reminds me of a scene in the movie “My Boig Fat Greek Wedding”. Michael Constantine and Lainie Kazan (a couple married for many years with grown children) are sitting at a table in their family-owned restaurant with their friend or relative Andrea Martin. Lainie and Andrea have come up with an idea that would be a good solution to a problem they are all aware of. The success of this idea requires the participation of all 3 of them, including Michael. Yet they know that Michael would never buy into this idea because they are the ones who came up with it and not he himself. So they proceed to approach it all very obliquely, chatting about the problem, “wondering” about some “hypothetical solution” out loud with minimal description but enough for anyone to logically fill in the blanks. And lo and behold, “Eureka! I’ve found it!” – Michael comes up with a grand solution that he has claimed as his own, and “presto!” Lainie and Andrea’s plans are set in motion. A good solution that will benefit many people.

    Everyone I was with when seeing the movie laughed, men and women, knowing that this is simply how it is.

    I think it’s obvious that whatever “authority” the husband has is simply what the wife allows him to have. And it’s not so much authority as his “participation”. I just prefer to call it what it is rather than what it’s not.

  250. Lydia@259,
    Another side issue with this: I’ve encountered a number of young wives who get “into” CBMW/comp theology without/before their husbands are indoctrinated and then either manipulate their husbands into assuming aspects of “authority/headship” or lament the fact that their husband refuses to lead because the wives feel shamed for not being able to adhere to the “rolebook.”

  251. “They have designed the perfect Control Paradigm – since to even question it makes a woman guilty of unsubmissiveness, if not worse.”

    Further, in living among comp/hierarchalists, some men will not lower themselves to discussing it with a woman who disagrees. Such a woman who does not choose to inordinately adore the men in the church deferring everything of seeming importance to them and every doctrinal question to their decision, is seen as a rebellious unchristian-like woman. That is one way to ‘control’ the dissidents. Many men do not feel they need to qualify their beliefs on this issue to a woman who disagrees.

    When there was a group of men in our church who applauded the book “Wild at Heart”, they started going around calling the women ‘beauties’. I made a few remarks that women were not just beauties or ornaments and I disliked the way the author characterized the women, I was viewed pitifully as if I didn’t understand the great gift I was being given by being viewed that way. But no one was willing to discuss it. 🙂

  252. “I think it’s obvious that whatever “authority” the husband has is simply what the wife allows him to have. And it’s not so much authority as his “participation”. I just prefer to call it what it is rather than what it’s not.”

    Elastigirl,
    great scene. Thanks for sharing it. In many cases you are correct. It is just a way of gaining the husbands participation WHEN HE HAS THE IDEA THAT HE MUST BE THE INSTIGATOR. 🙂 If he didn’t think he needed to be the instigator than such staging wouldn’t be necessary.

    However, we also know that many men take it beyond that and decide they must have all control.

  253. “It may be an easy way out for a woman who isn’t used to making decisions, but how will she learn? Not by giving over her responsibility.”

    This is a key point. I remember my great aunt having a sweet marriage where the husband made all the decisions about everything he considered important, without discussing it with his wife. He ran the finances, buying and selling, trip arrangements and so forth. She busied herself with entertainment, cooking and home stuff. She felt she needed to be frilly and girly to please him. When he died she knew nothing about their finances, even tax stuff. She immediately began to make really bad decisions and lost a lot of the money he had saved up for her. One of them was a simple mistake to the tune of $50,000. She didn’t know how to take care of the house, yard, car and so forth. And even in her old age she continued to dote on men and be girly in order to impress.

    Sadly, she could have been and done so much more as underneath it all she was really an insightful woman. But few saw that side of her. I did. She was my favorite relative. But she had been so brainwashed that the only way to please men was to be helpless, that I couldn’t get her to grow beyond that. What a loss to many.

  254. “When there was a group of men in our church who applauded the book “Wild at Heart”, they started going around calling the women ‘beauties’.”

    Can anyone say, “Objectify?”
    ….where’s my Pepto?….

  255. “Many men do not feel they need to qualify their beliefs on this issue to a woman who disagrees.”

    Can anyone say, “Pride?”

  256. Kay – Eldredge has an abnornmal and quite fleshly, IMO, obsession with physical beauty. I wrote a series of posts on my blog a while back on Christians’ ungodly focus on beauty and a response to some parts of “Wild at Heart” and, even more so, the companion book “Captivating”, took up one whole post in the series.

    But even more to the point of this post is the marriage-impacting reaction that some men have after reading “Wild at Heart”. I wrote another short post entitled ” ‘Wild at Heart’ does not mean abandon my family” after I personally witnessed a rather disturbing scene between a couple in a very dangerous time. I will not go into detail because the participants may chance across my writing this (they follow my blog) .

    But, I will say this. Although I believe “Wild at Heart” is an important book because I agree with Eldredge’s premise that masculinity has gotten a very bad rap in our culture and the degradation of masculinity needs to be addressed, I think the book has inspired some unintended consequences. Men must not forget that masculinity has its dark side too. It is one thing to rediscover your wild side, it is quite another to use that discovery to fuel a Genesis 3 style “rule” over your wife. Yet that is the route that many men take on their exploration.

  257. gengwall,
    I loved Wild At Heart, for me. As I read it, I thought it might be awesome for men too. So I had my husband read it. It had a horrible effect on him.

    “I’m a man. I can say what I want, be rude if I want. And if you tell me I can’t, you are trying to make me into a woman.”

    It was awful. Instead of giving him spiritual freedom, it turned him into a jerk.

    I love the idea of being wild and free in the Lord. I felt that book helped me with it because somehow God used it to help me. Guess I wasn’t indoctrinated enough at the time to realize that being wild and free didn’t really apply to me, a female created inside the garden…

    Good thing for me. A pity for any woman reading it who couldn’t receive the wild and free part.

    And a pity for men who couldn’t handle such information and used the liberty Elderidge tried to give them as an excuse to sin against their families.

    A real pity.

  258. gengwall@274,
    Some time ago, I read your posts and appreciated them very much. Perhaps you are correct that Eldridge’s basic point is good – it would be great if you (or someone else) would write a book that’s actually biblically sound. Like say, one tempered with Christ-likeness as the mark for one’s aim….

  259. re: SM#253 with reference to NN#173 & TL#178,

    How come it is that when lotsa people are confronted with arguments they cannot reply to with their own salvos, they call in an airstrike from C.S. Lewis?

    Is Lewis sposeta’ be the last word? I’d rather have self rule than the micro management of a benevolent tyrant anyday.

    elastigirl #266

    Once again, I think you’re spot on with the illustration from a film source! I think male rule and entitlement in marriage is largely titular in the real world anyway. Only those who want to make it part of a complicated religion get their drawers in a dither over it, because things have gone on like this since the world began.

  260. “How come it is that when lotsa people are confronted with arguments they cannot reply to with their own salvos, they call in an airstrike from C.S. Lewis?”

    Perhaps, they just don’t want to actually THINK about it. The danger is that we might have a point and then someone might have to adjust their belief system somewhat.

    FWIW I’ve adjusted my belief system many times as I learn more about God and His Word.

  261. LOL – This soft comp approach is a pretty sweet deal for us guys. Let’s see, I get to redefine authority as “servant leadership” which sounds so much better than “king” or “boss”. I never have to actually punish my wife for disobedience which saves me from being labelled as an abuser, but I do get to shame her by claiming she is being sinful, which heeps all the condemnation on her and keeps me lilly white in the eyes of the church. And I get to be in charge even though God hasn’t told me I am because God tells her she has to let me be, which clears me of ever being viewed as an authority grasping tyrant. This is awesome! I can’t possibly lose! Sign me up.

    That’s great! LOL You’ve taken my thoughts and put them down! Thank you! LOL Hahaha

  262. I’ve often thought that compism was men saying this to women:

    “We won’t play house or church with you unless you let us be the boss while we’re playing.”

  263. Dana, welcome to my blog!
    Yes, and I have always wondered what men would do if women just quit playing. I think that everything would just grind to a halt.

  264. “Another side issue with this: I’ve encountered a number of young wives who get “into” CBMW/comp theology without/before their husbands are indoctrinated and then either manipulate their husbands into assuming aspects of “authority/headship” or lament the fact that their husband refuses to lead because the wives feel shamed for not being able to adhere to the “rolebook.”

    This is pretty typical. For one reason, more women tend to be involved in church than men and they pick up on this and take it home. I know one woman who waited 20 years praying for her husband to be the spiritual leader before she realized how much time she had wasted and her kids went lacking from her spiritual guidance at a young age. Her husband simply was not going to step up to the plate.

    So, not only did her kids get short changed from her spiritual guidance but they were indoctrinated that the man has to do it in the home.

    It is all so silly and senseless. It gets people focused not only on themselves but on others and their roles. Instead of on Jesus Christ.

    gengwell, I know quite a few comps who cannot stand Eldridge for the reasons you give: Fleshly/worldly. one comp I know and like a lot says it is fairy tale stuff. And he is right. What if that “beauty” has a masectomy or a horrible disfiguring accident. Then what?

  265. 251

    We wouldn’t be going round and round in these stupid circles with this infantile argument

    Alison,

    Tell me about it.

    I’ve been around long enough to sense pride at work, and there’s a lot at work in the writings of the complementarians (Grudem and Piper especially come to mind).

    I think they recognize their pride, but they ignore the sin. That’s what I think.
    The whole thing is just ugly.
    They are not a bunch of idiots. They are in rebellion! And their rebellion hurts people like a cancer.

  266. Notice how “soft” comps, like Mark and NN, would never say that the husband “takes authority over” or “enforces” his authority??

    Kay,
    I didn’t get it at first. Now I understand.
    Terrible.

    If you can get a copy of RK McGregor Wright’s 3 part response to the Danvers statment, do so. It was revised around 1990 but it was unpublished. However, I like Wright’s response because he is seriously into the Sovereignty of God and he shows how lame and lacking it is in scriptural basis and how badly the proof texts are interpreted. And the statement is the basis for the modern comp movement. it is the basis for the advent of CBMW.

    I will look into it. Thanks, Lydia.

    Many men do not feel they need to qualify their beliefs on this issue to a woman who disagrees.

    What a cop out if you ask me – especialy with the issue of pride and all.

  267. My big concern which depressed me yesterday was that if the focus is on the women, the woman must become stepford in order for her to follow the man. I think this is the part of it all that makes me the most upset. (Ofcourse this doesn’t apply to all comp wives, not the point anyway)

    As Lydia said, their doctrine falls apart without the women.

    Prophecy I heard a few years ago – women will start to become like stepford wives. And this is why I asked how long the foucs has been on the women. Ofcourse the patri cults are worse, but it doesn’t matter essentialy cause it all comes from the same pool.

    Focus on the women = stepford wives. It’s what the woman does! And this is why it’s a very serious matter.

  268. If you ever watched the stepford wives it has a real kink to the story. The men perpetuated it by means of a leader who turned out to be a robot created by a woman who just liked all the prettiness and neatness and the predictable male.

  269. The hupotasso verb describing how a wife “is subject” to her husband is Hupotasso in the Passive Voice: A Wife’s Submission is descriptive rather than prescriptive )
    Further contemplating the passive voice of the wife’s subjection as stated in Ephesians 5:24:
    “Therefore as the church is subject to Christ,
    so also the wives [to] husbands in everything” Eph 5:24

    I have investigated other occurrences of hupotasso in the passive voice.
    Question: The hupotasso verb below is also in the passive voice (different tense but passive voice).
    “For the creature
    was subjected to frustration
    not willingly
    but by the will of the one
    who hath subjected the same in hope”
    Romans 8:20
    When did this occur?
    What was the human female creature subjected to?
    Hint: see Genesis 3:16

  270. @ pinklight: those who are in rebellion often don’t see their rebellion until it’s too late. The key here is “often”, since the rebellion perpetrated by the comps is so well disguised that even they can’t see it for what it is, since they’ve manipulated Scripture and themselves so well that they are blind. They truly are blind guides for the blind, and eventually they will both fall into a pit.

    You’re right, that their doctrine falls apart without the women. But thanks to stuff like the “True Womanhood” movement and other female-oriented comp stuff, winning the hearts and minds of comp women could be harder than we think. Seeing some of their stuff, slickly produced and sweetly manipulative, should tell us that we’re dealing with devilishly ingenious folks who know how to keep the leash six inches long, yet know how to do it in such a way that those on the collar end of the leash (the women!) don’t realize they are being manipulated and leashed. It all looks so good, like Alice in Wonderland’s Eat Me and Drink Me things, yet they do such damage. Mind control, anyone?

  271. Alison,

    There is another angle to this: Money. Comp movement, women’s ministries, marriage seminars, conferences, books, etc. It is a big money maker in Christian circles.

  272. I would personally like to say that I don’t think we should make moral judgments about WHY people are comps. Many are simply following the Bible as best they read it. I would argue with their hermeneutic, but not with them.
    For others, the “Stepford” kind we have been discussing (involved in movements like Quiverfull or True Womanhood), the problem usually formulaic thinking. They want certainty and controllable outcomes, and believe that by following a certain set formula, in marriage as well as other areas of life, they can successfully predict a happy outcome. But certainty is not granted to us in this life, and the desire for it, I think, comes from fear. Perfect love casts out fear, and I hope they let God draw them into more perfect love and trust of Him, whatever happens.
    Then there are narcissistic personalities that, due to real mental illness, require control and domination. For these, patriarchalist doctrines are convenient ways to use God’s authority to create and uphold their own power. They need prayer and intervention.
    Of course, comp or patriarchalist doctrines can and do feed selfishness and pride that is already resident in the human heart, as well. But many who sincerely believe comp doctrine, strive against selfishness and pride and are gentle and humble, serving those they consider subordinate to them.
    Many times I have seen men who sincerely believe these doctrines and are Christlike in character, put themselves under considerable strain trying to serve their families while leading the household all on their own. By not letting their ezer kenego (“facing-them strong help”) come alongside as an equal partner, they are doing what God created Eve to keep them from having to do, for it is not fit that they should rule the creation alone. I feel sympathy for them and hope they will explore another hermeneutic that will ease the pressure on the husband and set the wife free.

  273. …since the rebellion perpetrated by the comps is so well disguised that even they can’t see it for what it is, since they’ve manipulated Scripture and themselves so well that they are blind. They truly are blind guides for the blind, and eventually they will both fall into a pit.

    Wow. You’re a mind reader ;P

  274. “I have investigated other occurrences of hupotasso in the passive voice.
    Question: The hupotasso verb below is also in the passive voice (different tense but passive voice)”

    Who is doing the subjecting (tense) does make a difference. When we are to subject ourselves (in the passive 🙂 ) it is different than a situation where another controls our subjection.

  275. Seeing some of their stuff, slickly produced and sweetly manipulative, should tell us that we’re dealing with devilishly ingenious folks who know how to keep the leash six inches long, yet know how to do it in such a way that those on the collar end of the leash (the women!) don’t realize they are being manipulated and leashed. It all looks so good, like Alice in Wonderland’s Eat Me and Drink Me things, yet they do such damage. Mind control, anyone?

    *blech*

  276. “gengwell, I know quite a few comps who cannot stand Eldridge for the reasons you give: Fleshly/worldly. one comp I know and like a lot says it is fairy tale stuff. What if that “beauty” has a masectomy or a horrible disfiguring accident. Then what?”

    True. I actually was a little more blunt in my critique of the section “A Beauty To Rescue” in the book. I said – “what do all the ugly damsel’s in distress do in Eldredge’s world?”

    I should make my position clear. I think “Wild At Heart” is an important book and I can recommend it, but with a big caveat regarding the afore mentioned section and an even bigger warning to not fall prey to pride and selfishness when exploring one’s masculinity. Scirpture, especially our current passage, needs to be used to temper any man’s testosterone rush when reading “Wild At Heart”.

  277. I’ll add to the above, bringing it full circle….

    The greatest way a man can express true masculinity, feel “manly”, and appear absolutely, irresistably “studly” to his bride is to live a life of sacrificial love as Paul exhorts us to do in Ephesians 5.

  278. In the New Covenent Commentary Series on Ephesians, author Lynn H. Cohick makes some interesting statements.

    “With its call for believers to submit to each other, the verb in 5:21 governs 5:22 and its instructions for wives to submit to their own husbands as to the Lord. Note that Paul qualifies ‘submit’ in both verses’ in 5:21 with the phrase ‘out of reverence for Christ’ and in 5:22 as ‘to the Lord’. Paul pictures each believer as submitting to Christ, and that is shown by submitting to the other members of Christ’s body. This participle can be interpreted as either middle or passive (being submissive or submitting yourselves), which affects the interpretation. The passive voice would imply that the person instructed has little say in the matter, while the middle implies some agency. This latter sense is preferred, as it matches the other active participles’ voice and it fits Paul’s point that believers should not act as though drunk (passively under the influence of another source) but actively make choices following the Spirit’s leading.” pg’s 136-137

  279. TL,

    This is an important observation:
    “This latter sense is preferred, as it matches the other active participles’ voice and it fits Paul’s point that believers should not act as though drunk (passively under the influence of another source) but actively make choices following the Spirit’s leading.” pg’s 136-137”
    I’ve enjoyed some of Cohick’s other works.

  280. @ Lydia: I was hoping not to have to make that connection, between submission and $$$$. But point well taken: there’s a boatload of money at stake in all this, with all the conferences, books, websites, and other materials. I halfway wonder but what some of the comp authors don’t truly believe the dreck they’re sending out, but are only in it for the money. If the figures on the paycheck are right, they’ll cop to comp doctrine, even if it means a betrayal of their own truest selves that genuinely (in some cases) don’t believe any of it.

    @ pinklight: sorry to gross you out. I think I took my coffee a bit too strong when I wrote what I did. But the point remains: there’s some nasty stuff out there.

  281. I have another question (if you don’t mind) while I continue to think about Ephesians 5.
    I can understand the concept of mutual submission from Eph 5:21 and how the the husband submits to his wife by loving her sacrificially.
    I can understand that “submit” doesn’t imply that there is authority.
    My question regards the meaning of “head” in this passage. If I use the context to work out the meaning of the head/body metaphor the head loves, feeds, cares for the body and is united as one with the body. There is no mention of authority. But if I go back to Eph 1:20-23 the head/body metaphor seems to be associated with authority. Is Paul using the metaphor in different ways within the one letter? Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
    TIA.

  282. Craig,
    Any word can be used differently within it’s range of meanings in different places. One can use the same word in two sentences using a different meaning for it. Context is hugely important.

    It is good that you do understand that almost every word has a range of meanings in how its used.

  283. Craig – I’m glad you brought up Eph 5. Take a careful read and note where the authority is applied (I sugest NASB, but you can get multiple versions at blueletterbible.org). Is it authority of head over body or is the authority aspect outside of the metaphor. I think you will find tha Christ’s authority is expressed over “principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named”. CHrist’s authority is oevr the world and is for the benefit of His body.

    It is also important to continue reading into chapter 2, for the passage continues as Paul speaks specifically of the body.

    Eph 2:1-2 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the [fn] course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.

    The “all things” that chapter one speaks of, which Christ is over, are all things of “the world”, which we were once a part of. But no more.

    2:4-5 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead [fn] in our transgressions, made us alive together [fn] with Christ (by grace you have been saved),”

    And especially don’t miss this

    2:6 “and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,”

    Not only is Jesus’ authority over the world exercised for the benfit of His body, /but we will share in that authority!

    Chapter 2 ends with some great and encouraging words. The metaphor has changed to a temple, with Jesus the cornerstone. We are the remains of the building, in a sense, the body of the temple, “growing” up from that cornerstone. We are still part of the whole, not outsiders who the cornerstone is in authority over. Notice, even in the temple metaphor, how the language is very similar to the head/body language of Col 2:19.

    Eph 2:19-22 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the [fn] saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner (kephale/head) stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

    In the final analysis, the question that needs to be asked is – “is the authority in Eph 1 being expressed within the head/body metaphor, creating a hierarchy, or outside of it creating a symbiosis that benefits and joins in that authority”. What say you Craig?

  284. Craig – I would also refer you to the other post that is going on at the smae time as this one. Cheryl points out that authority from God is always directly and obviously granted, and that is certainly true in Eph 1. Going back to Eph 5, one needs to see if authority is directly granted to the husband. I think you will see that not only is it not granted in Eph 5, it is not even part of the discussion.

  285. “If I use the context to work out the meaning of the head/body metaphor the head loves, feeds, cares for the body and is united as one with the body. There is no mention of authority. But if I go back to Eph 1:20-23 the head/body metaphor seems to be associated with authority. Is Paul using the metaphor in different ways within the one letter? Does anyone have any thoughts on this?”

    Craig, Another clue are the words the Holy Spirit Inspires. Why not inspire clear Greek words for authority when writing about the husband wife relationship in Eph and other places? The Holy Spirit did Inspire a clear authority word in Greek when describing the relationship of husband/wife in 1 Corin 7. And they BOTH have this authority over the other.

  286. Lydia@259,
    I have been hunting for Wright’s response to the Danvers statement that you mentioned. In his article “God, Metaphor and Gender: Is the God of the Bible a Male Deity?” in Discovering Biblical Equality he says it is posted on the CBE website. But I cannot find it there. Does anyone have a link?

    BTW, if you want to read his essay above, about whether God is male and why we think so, you can go here:
    http://books.google.com/books?id=6G-RSR6JlmMC&pg=PA287&lpg=PA287&dq=R+K+McGregor+Wright&source=bl&ots=iTGvtOFPmK&sig=KLPeA3-tQIAi-H5V8y8IZdcq2tQ&hl=en&ei=WTwVTLCpO8aqlAfO4b3-Cw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBEQ6AEwADgU#v=onepage&q=R%20K%20McGregor%20Wright&f=false. (I hope this works)

  287. Lydia@308,
    “The Holy Spirit did Inspire a clear authority word in Greek when describing the relationship of husband/wife in 1 Corin 7. And they BOTH have this authority over the other.”
    Thanks Lydia. I agree that 1 Cor 7 is a significant passage in favour of the egal view. Here Paul had a perfect opportunity to show how comp authority could work in practice but he spoke of both having authority over each other.
    I can see many strong arguments for an egal view, but there are still some questions I have about some passages.

  288. Gengwall@305 and 306,
    “I would also refer you to the other post that is going on at the smae time as this one. Cheryl points out that authority from God is always directly and obviously granted, and that is certainly true in Eph 1. Going back to Eph 5, one needs to see if authority is directly granted to the husband. I think you will see that not only is it not granted in Eph 5, it is not even part of the discussion.”
    Thanks Gengwall. I have been reading the other post also, and I can see that no authority is ever clearly and directly granted to the husband in Eph 5 or anywhere in the bible. It has to be assumed or read back into passages from particular understandings of other passages. This is a strong point for the Egal position.
    The use of “head” is one of those “particular understandings” and I am still seeking a better understanding of its use and how it relates to the whole subject. Thanks very much for your detailed explanation @305. It is just the sort of material I am after. I will need to spend some time on this one.

  289. Gengwall @215,
    “Craig – I’m not sure you can get directly to “serve” from the Greek for “submit” but you are on the right track.
    Would you mind expanding on this if you have time? Are there better words for submit that would accurately convey its meaning?
    One thing I find helpful in understanding a passage is to try and say it in my own words, like an expanded paraphrase. If anyone here would like to do this for the “difficult passages” I would really find it helpful and I think many others would too.
    Gengwall, you also said @215 “I would note that the Eph 5 verses to husbands certainly contain the idea of service to the wife, wouldn’t you agree? Christ does serve us as well as we serving Him so the biblical concept is not lost.”
    I do agree that the husband is to “serve” his wife in sacrificial love and that this is an example of mutual submission from v21.

  290. pinklight,
    I finally got your email. Sorry for being off line for so long, but it is year end accounting time for me and this has kept me very busy.

  291. Gengwall @305,
    “In the final analysis, the question that needs to be asked is – “is the authority in Eph 1 being expressed within the head/body metaphor, creating a hierarchy, or outside of it creating a symbiosis that benefits and joins in that authority”. What say you Craig?”
    I think I can understand what you are saying in that the head (Jesus) and the body (church) are working together with authority over everything else. The head’s authority is not over the body.
    But I am still a bit confused. In Eph 1:22 the NASB says “gave Him as head over all things”. The “all things” is not the church, his body, but “head over” seems to equate with “authority over” in this context. Do you agree?
    Why did he say “head over” and not “authority over”? If he had said “authority over” I wouldn’t be confused. Is Paul using “head” in two different ways in the same passage- one toward the world as “authority over” and one toward his body as “united in a symbiotic relationship” and together having authority over all things.

  292. Craig #303,
    You said:

    If I use the context to work out the meaning of the head/body metaphor the head loves, feeds, cares for the body and is united as one with the body. There is no mention of authority. But if I go back to Eph 1:20-23 the head/body metaphor seems to be associated with authority. Is Paul using the metaphor in different ways within the one letter? Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

    There has been some very good comments here and I will just jump in to point out a couple of things. If you start from the beginning you will see that we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (verse 3). This is because we are so connected to Christ that when He is seated in heaven, we are said to be seated there with Him.

    Ephesians 2:6 (NAS)
    6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

    Ephesians 1:22 becomes quite clear when we consider that it is the one body (head – Christ and body – church) that is seated at the right hand of God in the heavenly places. With this understanding we can see our place with Christ:

    Ephesians 1:20–21 (NAS)
    20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
    21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.

    In the verse 22 we can see that the things that are placed in subjection are placed “under His feet” and that Christ is “head over all things” to the church.

    Ephesians 1:22–23 (NAS)
    22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church,
    23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

    The church is not placed in subjection, it is all things placed under our feet as we are the body of Christ. In this context “gave Him as head over all things” is a position of preeminence of first place as is fitting for the source of all creation. Col. 1:18 brings this out well

    Colossians 1:18 (NAS)
    18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. It is the first place of importance as He is the beginning and ending of all things.

    In this context although there is authority, but it is not authority over the church which is His body. It is authority over all other power, all rule, all dominion and all other “names”. And the subjection of all other sources of power are placed under Him and under us. It isn’t a situation of the head taking authority over the body but rather that the head and body are one and all else is under that one body.

  293. Craig,
    It looks like you and I were posting at the same time.

    Why did he say “head over” and not “authority over”? If he had said “authority over” I wouldn’t be confused. Is Paul using “head” in two different ways in the same passage- one toward the world as “authority over” and one toward his body as “united in a symbiotic relationship” and together having authority over all things.

    That’s a great question! I believe that Paul uses the term “head” to show the source of all authority and all power. On one of these posts I commented that there is no authority except that which is given by God. He then is the source of authority and only God can give what exists within Him.

    When Jesus is returned to His rightful place after all of His enemies are placed under Him, it will be seen that Jesus as God is the source of all authority as He Himself holds all things together.

    Hebrews 1:3 (NAS)
    3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

    As the source of all authority, He will be placed in the preeminent place so that He may have the preeminence and the one who started all things and finishes all things. The absolute amazing thing is that He places us there with Him as His body and in union with us He has first place.

  294. Another way to look at the metaphor is to focus on all of the metaphors together to get the full meaning of what Paul is saying. Paul not only calls Jesus the “head” but he calls Him the cornerstone.

    Ephesians 2:20 (NAS)
    20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone,

    Is the corner stone a metaphor about authority? Or is a metaphor about a foundational source a preeminent stone upon which all is built?

  295. 1 Peter 2:6 (NAS)
    6 For this is contained in Scripture:
    “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone,
    AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”

    Jesus was set in place as a precious corner foundational stone upon which His church was to be built. As the corner stone Christ gave up His life so that the church could exist. Which that sacrifice there would be no building.

    Contrast that with what the very first man did. He was laid as a cornerstone, the first one to be created and from him would come his bride. As the first stone laid and the source of his wife, he was to cherish her as his own body. He was to treat her as he treats his own body and the one who would initiate sacrifice as an example. But the first Adam failed to do that. Instead of identifying the deception and the deceiver (and he recognized both since he was not deceived) he allowed his own body (his wife) to be destroyed.

    But Jesus as the last Adam did not fail to provide for His own body. He gave all He had to come and receive His wife to Himself. He laid down His life, He nourished us, He protected us and He allowed us to respond to Him in willingly love. He never took an authority to demand love but as the perfect example of husbandly love, He initiated the sacrifice, initiated the cherishing and initiated the clinging to or joining Himself with her. When a man follows Jesus’ example, he will willingly give himself for his bride to bring her up to his level so that she too has all the privileges and rights as he does. He will sacrifice himself to give her everything that she needs and not selfishly demand that she serve him and die to herself so that his needs will be met.

    I believe that men as “head” of their wives (not head over their wives) have been set up by God as the preeminent part of the body to initiate in every way so that the wife is granted equality and equal opportunity to serve God. In the church there have been godly men who have elevated women past the place where the world has held females. The world values women as less than men in order to use them up for men’s benefit. When they are of no use, they are discarded. But Christianity with godly men has changed that to place a value on women that far exceeds the world’s value. When the church changes their mindset so that the men understand that Jesus gave up everything for His bride to elevate her beside Him, and they understand this they will release women to be beside them too. And when men and women walk in unity and in equality in the church, each working in the special giftedness that each has been given by the Holy Spirit, we will be a light set high on a hill to the world showing the heart of God. No longer desiring to rule over each other, but dying to self to elevate the other past the restrictions and the prejudices of the world.

  296. Craig,
    You said:

    Are there better words for submit that would accurately convey its meaning?

    I see Christian submission as meaning two things:

    1. Submission for the benefit of another in order to lift them up in their need.
    2. Submission to receive the good that someone is offering for your own benefit.

    When we submit with #1 we are elevating the person’s need and well-being as greater than our own need thus serving them with true Christ-like service. It isn’t a submission to be used as a door mat. Nor is it a submission that is placing oneself as a conquered party to one who is commanding and controlling your actions. In fact submitting oneself to the self-centered control of another isn’t fulfilling the duty of love. It would be affirming a sinful lifestyle and it is not God-honoring. A sacrificial service would be providing what they need not supporting their sin.

    In the submission of #2 above, we serve another by giving our will to allow them to serve us with their gifts. One who is a teacher cannot properly serve as a teacher if no one is willing to allow them to teach. They may have great gifts for us in helping us to understand the Scriptures, but if we refuse to submit ourselves to their care, they are unable to teach us. It is the same thing for those who have the responsibility to protect us. If we will not listen to their warnings of dangerous teaching and dangerous wolves, then we are not allowing them to work out their calling. It is a source of grief for those who are mature and have the ability to protect us as they are called to do, but when the flock is unwilling to be protected. We are told to submit to them so that they can do their job without grief. This is the second kind of submission that is based on our own good as well as the good of the other person. It is submission to receive.

    Wives are called to submit in all ways to their husbands. Therefore they are to submit to meet his needs and lift him up and they are to submit to receive from him the things that he is to provide for them. Mutuality is men also submitting to meet their wives needs and submitting to receive from the hand of their wives the things that will benefit them. This kind of submission and this kind of mutuality is beautiful and finds its source in the Lord Jesus.

  297. Thanks Cheryl for all the time you give to help others.
    Can I check something. Is it correct that Paul uses “head” in two different ways in this one passage Eph 1:22,23.
    In “Head over all things”, “head” is not being used in any metaphor so we look at the context and possible meanings of “kephale” (like authority, source, origin) to determine its meaning.
    In this same passage though, he uses the head/body metaphor and to determine the meaning of this we look at the way heads and bodies work together, the context and what is being taught by the analogy.
    The two meanings can be entirely different, so that “head over all things” can have everything to do with authority, but the head/body metaphor has nothing to do with authority of the head over the body. Rather, the body joins the head in having authority over “all things”.
    Thus Paul can be using “head” in a context of authority in Eph 1:22 but can use “head” in the head /body analogy entirely differently in the same passage and the rest of the letter.

  298. Craig,
    You are welcome! I am very happy to serve in any way that I can.

    As far as Eph 1:22 I see a preeminence being brought out.
    Although Christ has authority over all things, and the world is not His body, I still see a connection to what Christ is to the church. Maybe there is more and I am missing it. But this is what I see. In Eph 1:22, Christ is placed in His proper position of preeminence as the origin and source of all things. He is the origin of all creation and the One who holds all things together. Thus He is the starting point, the preeminent One. As “head” He is the Alpha, the starting point the initiator. Because He is “far above all rule and authority” the term “far above” shows preeminence. He is so far above His creation because He is the uncreated Creator. He is the starting point of creation, the source of creation and its origin. Thus He is far above everything that originated from Him.

    In the head-body metaphor, we are connected to Him and He is not just our source, but He is a part of us. He is our source and origin yet He is connected to us as one body. Everything that belongs to Him, belongs to us. There is an intimacy and oneness that isn’t there in the rest of creation.

    So while we could add in “authority” in Ephesians 1:22, I see the preeminent Origin of all creation as the key thought to the term “head”. I think that if Paul had merely wanted to emphasize His authority rather than His place of preeminence, he would have used an authority word rather than an origin word (i.e. head).

    That’s the way I see it. There is a connection to origin, but one part of the connection (head and body) is far more intimate and mutual then the other part (head over creation).

  299. Thus the fallacy of this position. Paul’s use of kephale changes dramatically.

    2776 ??????? [kephale /kef•al•ay/] n f. From the primary kapto (in the sense of seizing); TDNT 3:673; TDNTA 429; GK 3051; 76 occurrences; AV translates as “head” 76 times. 1 the head, both of men and often of animals. Since the loss of the head destroys life, this word is used in the phrases relating to capital and extreme punishment. 2 metaph. anything supreme, chief, prominent. 2A of persons, master lord: of a husband in relation to his wife. 2B of Christ: the Lord of the husband and of the Church. 2C of things: the corner stone.

    Note point 2 which deals with the metaphor. Are we dealing with people or things- this is important, contra Cheryl’s above argument.

    And thus Paul’s use changes in Eph, and then again in 1 Cor 11, and then again in Col. I’m astonished how you can all just pick and choose your meanings like that. Does it not ring alarm bells?

    Here is the basic thesis as i see it: In Eph 5, it cannot be authoritative since authority is not explicitly mentioned. In Eph 1 and Col, authority is not in view because it is not directly over the Church. In 1 Cor 11, the metaphor is not in view, so thus a meaning of ‘source or pre-eminance’ is employed to remove the authority otherwise prevelant. So, in other words, kephale is used by Paul to mean varying things. Is this a fair comment?

    2 side points, if anyone wishes to answer for me…
    1. Is Christ in authority over the Church at all?
    2. Do Church leaders have authority?

  300. Cheryl,

    A while ago you stated that i did not have authority over my wife because i did not ‘take’ it. Now you have just said regarding Christ…

    ” He never took an authority to demand love but as the perfect example of husbandly love, He initiated the sacrifice, initiated the cherishing and initiated the clinging to or joining Himself with her.”

    So according to your train of thought, Christ did not ‘take’ authority. Does he therefore also NOT HAVE ANY AUTHORITY? This appears like a fallacy in your critiques…inconsistencies. Again…

    “I believe that men as “head” of their wives (not head over their wives) have been set up by God as the preeminent part of the body to initiate in every way so that the wife is granted equality and equal opportunity to serve God.”

    Explain how this is equality? The husband is to initiate, which is his role but not the wife’s? This seems like a weak way of saying he is in a leadership position, just with more careful words. If it is the husbands job to initiate to lift his wife up, is she equally called to lift up her husband? I assume you have to say no, since the wife is never called the ‘head’ of the husband, which is what your comment is based on. Why have you jumped from the marriage to service for God, saying the husbands job is to initiate to give her an equal opportunity to serve God. Seems like you missed the point of marriage? Can you state clearly what ‘head’ means for you in ALL of Paul’s usages. I’ll list all the passages from Paul’s letters, and you can give your defintion next to each.

    will heap burning coals on his head.” Ro 12:20 2776
    that Christ is the head of every man, 1Co 11:3 2776
    and the man is the head of a woman, 1Co 11:3 2776
    woman, and God is the head of Christ. 1Co 11:3 2776
    something on his head while praying or 1Co 11:4 2776
    or prophesying disgraces his head. 1Co 11:4 2776
    her head uncovered while praying or 1Co 11:5 2776
    or prophesying disgraces her head 1Co 11:5 2776
    as the woman whose head is shaved. 1Co 11:5
    if a woman does not cover her head, 1Co 11:6
    her hair cut off or her head shaved, 1Co 11:6
    head shaved, let her cover her head. 1Co 11:6
    ought not to have his head covered, 1Co 11:7 2776
    a symbol of authority on her head, 1Co 11:10 2776
    a woman to pray to God with her head 1Co 11:13
    or again the head to the feet, 1Co 12:21 2776
    gave Him as head over all things to Eph 1:22 2776
    aspects into Him who is the head, Eph 4:15 2776
    the husband is the head of the wife, Eph 5:23 2776
    Christ also is the head of the church, Eph 5:23 2776
    He is also head of the body, the Col 1:18 2776
    the head over all rule and authority; Col 2:10 2776
    and not holding fast to the head, Col 2:19

  301. Mark – My answer to 324 (1) would be that Christ does not have authority over the church in the marriage realtionship (unless you want to bring in eros as NN has suggested and then the church has equal authority). He does in other relationships but not in that one.

    And no, we are not changing our definitions. We have consistently maintained that kephale does not mean “authority over”.

    Regarding point two from the lexicon. We have discussed your choice of lexicon in the past and shown where it is in error regarding kephale. To the particular passages, you are incorrect, definition two is not the applicable definition. Definition one is the correct definition as used in the metaphor. It is the anatomical head that is the vehicle for the metaphor – the object whose attributes are being applied. It is persons who are the tenor – the objects who adopt the the attributes. To answer your question, we are dealing with people by looking at the attributes of things (parts of the anatomy). The direct relationship between people is not what is being described; it is the direct relationship of parts of the anatomy that is in view and it is that which Paul is superimposing on people. So, the dynamics of ordinary people to people relationships are irrelevant. Even more so if it is the dynamics of people to people relationships as described by English idoms. Hence – “head of the household” is a completely out of bounds expression in this discussion, since it has nothing to do with the anatomical relationship Paul is using as his vehicle to describe martial interaction. It is even more out of bounds because it doesn’t exist as a Greek idom. There is not such thing in ancient Greek as the “kephale of the household”. Kephale is simply not used in the same way we use “head” in English at tiems to descirbe an authority.

  302. I want to make sure this is clear. The lexicon Mark uses claims that in Greek, kephale is used metaphorically of persons to mean master or lord. That contention is absolutely false. kephale in the biblical Greek metaphors that have persons as the tenor could only be used in that way if Greek’s viewed the anatomical head to be the “master” or “lord” of the body. But they absolutely did not have that view, nor is that true today based on our advanced scientific knowledge. One must look at the relationship between parts of the body, not the ordinary relationships between people (where a person may be master or lord over another), to grasp what Paul is trying to convey about marriage.

    In fact, the Greeks never used kephale in any sense to mean authority over. Common English phrases like “head of state”, “head of the company”, “head of the house”, “head of the family” etc., are unknown in ancient Greek (maybe modern too, although I don’t study that). That is why, when the Greek translators of the Septuigint ran into a Hebrew idom or phrase using the Hebrew word for head that contained an aspect of authority, they didn’t translate “rosh” into “kephale“, they translated it into “archon” (ruler). “kephale of state/city/country/house/clan/family” would be meaningless to their Greek readers. But “archon of the state/city/country/house/clan/family” would make perfect sense.

  303. So, to Cheryl’s point which Mark refutes. When we look at a phrase like “head over all things”, we think authority because in English, such a phrase could legitimately mean “authority over all things” because in English, “head” can mean “authority”. We have to get out of our English mind set and definitional universe and think about how the Greeks defined “kephale“, not how we define “head”. In the Greek definitional universe, “kephale over all things can’t mean “authority over all things” because “kephale doesn’t ever mean “authority”. That becomes even more true when the metephor is in place, because the concept of the anatomical head being in authority over “all things”, whatever that may be, “to the [anatomical] body”, is nonsensical. The Greek speaker, being given that definition of the verse, would, I imagine, give quite a puzzled look. But staying within the Greek definitional universe of kephale and the Greek understanding of the relationship of the anatomical head to the anatomical body, Cheryl’s explanation makes perfect sense, especially to Paul’s audience, but even to us once we remove our English blinders.

  304. Cheryl will probably delve into Genesis a little more as well in her response, but we can’t lose sight of the importance of the Genesis account when dealing with Christ and His marriage to the Church. Paul certainly doesn’t lose sight of it.

    Jesus is Adam; the Church is Eve. Does Jesus “need” the Church? Absolutely. Just as it was not good for Adam to be alone, it is not good for Jesus to be alone. The Church is Jesus’ ezer kenegdo. Does Jesus rule the world alone? Absolutely not. Just as with Adam and Eve (Gen 1), Jesus and the Church rule together (Eph 2 and others). Mark asks “Is Christ in authority over the Church at all?” Of course! BUT not in this instance where the relationship is a marriage. This stuns complementarians who can’t fathom the inverse of Mark’s question: “Is there any instance where Christ is not in authority over the Church”? Just as Adam was not in authority over Eve in the Garden, neither is Christ in authority in relation to His bride.

    Is it no wonder that Paul so adamantly avoids authoritarian language when the Christ/Church or any other marriage relationship is in view? The use of the head/body metaphor seems, IMO, to be quite intentionally an effort to avoid worldly ideas, about husbands and wives. Paul’s frequent and exclusive use of this and other “mutually benefiting relationship” metaphors when speaking of marriage, whether Adam and Eve’s marriage, yours and my marriage, or Christ and the Church’s marriage, is, I believe, his direct attempt to undo the hierarchialist, patriarchal, ruler/husband-property/wife paradigm wrought by the fall and propegated by the world.

  305. “In “Head over all things”, “head” is not being used in any metaphor so we look at the context and possible meanings of “kephale” (like authority, source, origin) to determine its meaning.”

    In my estimation Paul is seeking to show an endless power in the passage. Authority is a weak power. Rather when we consider that Jesus is the source of everything to the Body, we then see the greatness of what Jesus did. After all, if Christ had not died on the cross we would not have salvation and would not be part of His Body. In this way ‘head over all things’ shows His preeminence, shows Christ as origin of all, shows Christ as the one through whom all things are provided, and the one who has everything we need.

    Generally speaking (not directing this at anyone) IMO this human lust for seeing authority every where and being an authority is just trying vainly to provide a kind of selfish strength we can control rather than relying wholeheartedly upon God for everything we need to do the things of God and the works of God.

    There is an ‘authority’ in Scriptures for believers. It is a spiritual ability or strength to do and be Christlike and help others do and be Christlike. We see this authority in leaders and those who regularly manifest a gifting of the Holy Spirit as a ministering service to the Body of Christ…. such as the five fold ministries. I really don’t think it is beneficial for us to seek for any other kind of authority, especially anything similar to the kinds of authorities the world needs to operate in because of sin.

  306. “The use of the head/body metaphor seems, IMO, to be quite intentionally an effort to avoid worldly ideas, about husbands and wives. Paul’s frequent and exclusive use of this and other “mutually benefiting relationship” metaphors when speaking of marriage, whether Adam and Eve’s marriage, yours and my marriage, or Christ and the Church’s marriage, is, I believe, his direct attempt to undo the hierarchialist, patriarchal, ruler/husband-property/wife paradigm wrought by the fall and propegated by the world.”

    Very well said, gengwall.

    God’s idea/concept of marriage was always superior to what the world has come up with. Paul is attempting to steer us back toward the perfection God had in mind in the beginning. The world’s example’s are far from perfect.

  307. “So according to your train of thought, Christ did not ‘take’ authority. Does he therefore also NOT HAVE ANY AUTHORITY? “

    Mark,
    Christ as the God/Human is far above and beyond human ideas of authority. He is the originator of it. Christ always had and has all authority and power beyond anything we can imagine. But Christ did not choose to manifest authority (as we think of it) while among us. He became as one of us, so that He could save and heal us in order to bring us into Himself. He wants us to become part of Him. And as part of Him sitting with Him in the heavenlies we will be able to judge the angels.

    Whose first, whose second, who get’s to decide or initiate, who get’s the glory or preeminence, are all worldly thoughts far below the sight and insight that God would have for us.

  308. “IMO this human lust for seeing authority every where and being an authority is just trying vainly to provide a kind of selfish strength we can control rather than relying wholeheartedly upon God for everything we need to do the things of God and the works of God”

    Personally, I would hope comps would use such verses below more than trying to find put authority in submission or head:

    26For consider your calling, brothers:(A) not many of you were wise according to worldly standards,[a] not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27But(B) God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise;(C) God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28God chose what is low and despised in the world, even(D) things that are not, to(E) bring to nothing things that are, 29so(F) that no human being[b] might boast in the presence of God. 30And because of him[c] you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us(G) wisdom from God,(H) righteousness and(I) sanctification and(J) redemption, 31so that, as it is written,(K) “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

  309. “So according to your train of thought, Christ did not ‘take’ authority. Does he therefore also NOT HAVE ANY AUTHORITY? “

    His authority does not map to humans. That is one of the most frightful and insidious ideas that comps have. It scares me for them.

    The reason: “Christ IN YOU” would bear the fruit of humility, love, patience, kindness, never lording it over, etc. Christ IN YOU would never bear fruit of “I am the authority” or “you are to submit to me”.

    Do not confuse authority with boldness or courage which is manifest by the Holy Spirit and women can have, too. There are women in China right now who are in jail because of thier boldness and courage to share the Gospel.

    While we sit here and talk of ridiculous roles and who has authority, the Holy Spirit is leading people (including many women) to proclaim (preach) the Gospel to any and all who will listen. They risk their lives for Christ. But many in the West want to tell them they are in sin for teaching men.

  310. “In “Head over all things”, “head” is not being used in any metaphor so we look at the context and possible meanings of “kephale” (like authority, source, origin) to determine its meaning.”

    I missed this part – thanks TL for bringing it up.

    Mark – are you purposely playing ignorant of the next verse? How can you claim “head over all things” is not part of a head/body metaphor when the very next phrase is “to the church, (v. 23) Which is his body…”?

    Anyway, even if the metaphor wasn’t in use, your contention defies the Greek where kephale is never synonymous with authority like it is in English.

  311. To continue on the Adam/Eve-Christ/Church connection.

    Jesus is the second Adam. From a purely marital perspective, where Adam failed God and his Wife and brought about the curse, specifically, of authoritarian patriarchy, Jesus has triumphed and kept His mutually submissive (as in Cheryl’s dual-action submission), one-flesh relationship with His bride in tact.

  312. “The reason: “Christ IN YOU” would bear the fruit of humility, love, patience, kindness, never lording it over, etc. Christ IN YOU would never bear fruit of “I am the authority” or “you are to submit to me”.”

    N e v e r.

  313. “To continue on the Adam/Eve-Christ/Church connection.

    Jesus is the second Adam.”

    Yes, the connection in Eph 5 and Adam being the second Adam is “in the face.”

  314. “since generic singular has never been morphed into a generic plural ever before by God’s word”

    Cheryl, you made this statement elsewhere regarding the 1 Tim. 2:15 verse. How did you figure that out?

  315. “I only have a quick minute and then I have to run.

    Jesus is actually the “last” Adam according to the Bible.”

    lol, yes! One time I felt the need to make the same correction…See I wasn’t paying attention enough.

  316. Thanks all,

    Let me clarify. I’m not pushing anything here, simply looking more deeply into your own position.
    No-one has answered my question 2 yet…any takers? Feel free to attach the meaning of ‘head’ to all the passages in which Paul uses it- that way we can all see how consistent people’s meanings are.

    Thanks gengwell for confirming my question 1. I’m glad you see that Christ is in authority, just not in the the marriage analogy. I wonder though, if you follow this throught the OT aswell? The marriage metaphor is not new to the NT or Paul. Just think about Hosea. I think you might find it hard to come to a similar conclusion that the marriage metaphor there, gives no indication of authority. Thoughts?
    As regards lexicons, i’m rather stunned at your claims that kephale never has authority attached to it. Have you overstated your case here? I find it much more reliable to listen to experts in this regard, especially one’s who publish prior to the whole comp/egal debate in recent decades. Was it you who also said BDAG is unreliable in this regard?

    Lydia,
    It is good to be reminded of that verse you gave (333), but we also need to be careful not to go the other way. Read 2 Peter 2, where Paul explicitly links false teachers with despising authority.

    “then ?the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials,? and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially ?those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and ?despise authority.”

    Cheers

  317. “Thanks gengwell for confirming my question 1. I’m glad you see that Christ is in authority,”

    Why do comps always allude to or ask if egals believe Christ has authority just because we say that the husband doesn’t have authority in Eph 5?

  318. Just because Christ has authority doesn’t mean husbands do.

    Just because husbands don;’t have authority doesn’t mean that Christ doesn’t.

  319. Why do comps think this way?

    If Christ has authority then the husband does. Comps think. But then they ask if the husband doesn’t have authority, then does Christ?

  320. “The marriage metaphor is not new to the NT or Paul…Just think about Hosea…Thoughts?”

    Now I’m really confused.

    Body of Christ (the church)
    Hosea’s wife (a prostitiute and unfaithful)

  321. “As regards lexicons, i’m rather stunned at your claims that kephale never has authority attached to it. Have you overstated your case here? I find it much more reliable to listen to experts in this regard, especially one’s who publish prior to the whole comp/egal debate in recent decades. Was it you who also said BDAG is unreliable in this regard?”

    Mark,

    Are you serious about pursuing this. If you are then please follow my blog. I can show you all the relevant passages in the different lexicons.

    The places where kephale is listed as having authority are only those places in the NT that are under discussion. However, in order to establish the meaning of the word from other contexts, we should look at the meaning of kephale in literature outside of the NT.

    First, apart from the LXX, there is no evidence prior to the NT that kephale meant leader or authority, or anything of the kind. Second, in the LXX, in the fvast majority of cases, the Hebrew word for “head” that is rosh, was translated by one of the usual Greek words for leader. Only in the highly anomolous case of Jephthah do we see the word kephale being used. This is a much debated passage.

    There is no case in Greek literature prior to the NT, where the word kephale was used for a person in order to indicate that he was the authority over his own wife, family, house, tribe or nation, – other than Jephthah. Even then, he wasn’t leader of his own clan, but brought in for a certain reason.

    Just saying ….

  322. @324
    “2. Do Church leaders have authority?”

    It’s not their own personal authority obtained from God. It is the authority of God’s Word. The authority is God’s. Paul didn’t take authority over people, but rather authority over error and false doctrine.
    Jesus said, “*All* authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

    “What is Apollos, really? Or what is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, and each of us in the ministry the Lord gave us. I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused it to grow. So neither the one who plants counts for anything, nor the one who waters, but God who causes the growth.” 1 Cor. 3

    And “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” John 13:12-17

    Why do complementarians/hierarchists want to place personal authority and obedience to themselves (or what they term their “servant leadership”) in these passages?

  323. Here’s a link to Sue’s research on “kephale.” We’re indebted to you, Sue, for your intensive work on this.
    http://powerscourt.blogspot.com/search?q=kephale

    With regards to what the word means in Ephesians– Paul uses it 3 times in the book. The first time, Eph. 1:22, he uses it with the preposition “over” (Greek “hyper”), in reference to “all things” (with the context being that He is “above” all principalities, dominions and powers). The word “over” is not used in the head-body metaphors which are the other two uses of “kephale” in Ephesians. Since Sue’s research indicates that the word “kephale” also meant “preeminent one,” its use with the word “over” in Eph. 1:22 would seem to indicate this meaning. (Authority is IMPLIED in His being “over” all other powers, but it is not part of the actual meaning of the word “kephale.”) But the word “over” is NOT used in any of the three references, when Christ is spoken of as head “of” the body. In Eph. 4:15 we read that the members of the body “grow” in all things into Christ as the “head.” “Head” when used with “of the body” appears to carry the meaning “source of growth.”
    In Eph. 5:22, then, since the word “head” is used with “of” and not “over” the body, it quite likely means the same thing it meant just a few paragraphs earlier, in 4:15– source of growth. The word is then followed with a picture of Christ, not taking the preeminent place as He does in 1:22, but giving Himself to make the church glorious. It is Christ’s sacrifice, not His preeminence, that is associated with “head of the body.” And it is not ruling the church, but making her glorious, that is in view.
    If there is any meaning of “preeminence” when it comes to husbands and wives, the only logical way to read it is that husbands are being asked to emulate Christ and give themselves; and Christ gave Himself by laying down His preeminence and taking the lowest place– the place of a criminal on a cross.
    I think it’s most likely that husbands are being asked to be the source of growth for their wives (nourish and cherish). But the only other possible meaning is that husbands are to lay down the preeminence given them by the social structure, and go lower in service to their wives, to raise the wives up.
    There are other places in the Scriptures where Christ is spoken of as being in authority over the church. But authority over the church is not part of the meaning of the head-body metaphor, which refers to the nurturing-providing-raising up aspects of Christ’s ministry to the church. And it is THAT non-authoritative metaphor, and NOT any of the authority passages, that are used in reference to husbands and wives.

  324. It’s been a long day for me but I’ll try to get through some of the comments and questions here before bed.

    Mark #324, you said:

    2 metaph. anything supreme, chief, prominent. 2A of persons, master lord: of a husband in relation to his wife. 2B of Christ: the Lord of the husband and of the Church. 2C of things: the corner stone.

    Note point 2 which deals with the metaphor. Are we dealing with people or things- this is important, contra Cheryl’s above argument.

    While a “corner stone” is normally a “thing”, the Bible often uses the metaphor of things for Jesus. Jesus is the corner stone but He is also “the door” and “the vine”, etc.

    Here is the basic thesis as i see it: In Eph 5, it cannot be authoritative since authority is not explicitly mentioned. In Eph 1 and Col, authority is not in view because it is not directly over the Church. In 1 Cor 11, the metaphor is not in view, so thus a meaning of ‘source or pre-eminance’ is employed to remove the authority otherwise prevelant.

    Authority is not “removed”. It is just not added into the passage. Authority is a very serious thing and it cannot be assumed. If it isn’t given, it is not to be taken.

    My question is why would any Christian want to take authority over another Christian anyway? Any thoughts?

    2 side points, if anyone wishes to answer for me…
    1. Is Christ in authority over the Church at all?
    2. Do Church leaders have authority?

    1. Christ as God has all authority. As husband of the body, Christ shares His authority over creation with His bride who is His co-ruler.
    2. Church leaders have authority to use their gifts for the benefit of the body of Christ. They do have authority to identify and deal with false doctrine, but they do not have authority over individuals. It is the entire church who is to carry out discipline of unrepentant sinners.

    Once again it is important to understand that Jesus has all authority and no one can have His authority unless it has been given to them. If it is “assumed” authority, it isn’t true authority.

  325. I have answered Mark’s challenge when it comes to the three “head” references in Ephesians. To complete his challenge, then:

    will heap burning coals on his head.” Ro 12:20 2776 – this refers to a physical head. I will use the word “noggin” whenever this is the meaning.
    that Christ is the head of every man, 1Co 11:3 2776 – the context of this passage is all about who came first and who follows. “Head” in its context here means “that which came first; source.”
    and the man is the head of a woman, 1Co 11:3 2776 – Again, “source.”
    woman, and God is the head of Christ. 1Co 11:3 2776 Again, “source.” Since Christ (the Messiah) was sent by God the Father, God is the Source of Christ.
    something on his head while praying or 1Co 11:4 2776 – the meaning is “noggin.”
    or prophesying disgraces his head. 1Co 11:4 2776 – “source.” Jewish men covered their heads when they prayed to show their state of sinfulness before God. A Christian man who covered his head would be declaring that his sins were not forgiven, thus disgracing Christ, his “source.”
    her head uncovered while praying or 1Co 11:5 2776 – “noggin.”
    or prophesying disgraces her head 1Co 11:5 2776 – “source.” Here the man is the “source” of the woman, and by praying with her head uncovered, she dishonors her “source” because women who went uncovered were prostitutes.
    as the woman whose head is shaved. 1Co 11:5 – “noggin.”
    if a woman does not cover her head, 1Co 11:6 – “noggin.”
    her hair cut off or her head shaved, 1Co 11:6 – “noggin.”
    head shaved, let her cover her head. 1Co 11:6 – “noggin.”
    ought not to have his head covered, 1Co 11:7 2776 – “noggin.”
    a symbol of authority on her head, 1Co 11:10 2776 – “noggin.” (although the word “symbol” does not appear in the original Greek. The correct translation is “she should have authority on (over) her own head.”)
    a woman to pray to God with her head 1Co 11:13 – “noggin.”
    or again the head to the feet, 1Co 12:21 2776 – “noggin.”
    He is also head of the body, the Col 1:18 2776 – “source of life/growth.”
    the head over all rule and authority; Col 2:10 2776- “preeminent one.”
    and not holding fast to the head, Col 2:19 – “source of life/growth.”

  326. #325 Mark,
    You said:

    A while ago you stated that i did not have authority over my wife because i did not ‘take’ it. Now you have just said regarding Christ…

    ” He never took an authority to demand love but as the perfect example of husbandly love, He initiated the sacrifice, initiated the cherishing and initiated the clinging to or joining Himself with her.”

    So according to your train of thought, Christ did not ‘take’ authority. Does he therefore also NOT HAVE ANY AUTHORITY? This appears like a fallacy in your critiques…inconsistencies. Again…

    No, it isn’t an inconsistency. We all know that Christ as ALL authority, so He can choose to take authority or not to take authority as God. But also as a human, He takes a human bride and this has been the issue that we have been talking about. As far as a husband’s authority, it is not given. Christ’s is given. Think about that. Christ is God, yet as a human He had to be given all authority. He didn’t assume authority. He waited until it was given to Him. But husbands cannot say that like God, they have authority. They are human just as Christ is human and they cannot take an authority that has not been given to them.

    Since power over their wives is not in their hands from God, it can only belong to them if their wives turn over this power over them to their husbands. This is why not taking authority over their wives is just another proof that they do not have authority that resides within them. If their wives do not turn over authority over their person, husbands have no authority whatsoever to take from her what she has not freely given to him. If he does take it, it isn’t an authority that he has. It is a nasty four letter word that can result in a jail sentence in our country.

    Think also about this. The Bible says in 1 Cor. 7:4 that the husband has authority over his wife’s body and she has authority over his. Does this mean that they can take authority over the other person’s body? No. It means that the wife cannot rightfully give her sexuality to another man because only her husband has that authority or right to her body. And he cannot give himself to another woman because she has authority over his sexuality. But in the marriage, authority doesn’t mean taking that authority when the spouse is unwilling to freely give.

    Does this make sense?

  327. Well, folks there are a lot of good comments here, some that I haven’t even had time to fully read yet or digest, but I will try to catch up sometime tomorrow. It is another full day for me but hopefully I can quit a little bit earlier to devote some time to my blog.

  328. Gengwall @335,
    You quoted
    “In “Head over all things”, “head” is not being used in any metaphor so we look at the context and possible meanings of “kephale” (like authority, source, origin) to determine its meaning.”
    You then said
    “I missed this part – thanks TL for bringing it up.
    Mark – are you purposely playing ignorant of the next verse? How can you claim “head over all things” is not part of a head/body metaphor when the very next phrase is “to the church, (v. 23) Which is his body…”?”

    I (Craig) just thought something should be corrected. Mark didn’t write this, I did. I also wrote it to ask if I was correct, not to make a statement of fact. Unlike most of you here I am quite new to this subject so I may say some stupid things that don’t make sense to you. I am certainly not “playing ignorant” as you asked of Mark- my questions are from genuine ignorance! I have watched Cheryl’s DVDs and read some of the posts and comments. I can see a lot of positive points in favour of the Egal position but I still have many questions.
    My reason for thinking that “head” in “head over all things” (Eph 1:22) was not the anatomical head of the metaphor is because if “all things” means “all things of this world” I have never seen an anatomical head attached to that! However, I can see that “head” of v 22 and “body” of v23 is the metaphor so “head” seemed to be being used in two different ways in the one passage. Hence my confusion and asking for help. BTW, this whole discussion has been very helpful, but I feel as though I will have to reread it a few times to digest things properly.

  329. Kristen,
    Excellent work! Oh boy, with all of the special, smart and godly people here who are willing to answer questions in a gentle and respectful way to challengers, I am so happy that I am not needed to be here every time to answer. That is a great load off of my shoulders as my level of busyness has really increased. Night before last I spent four hours answering an email from a gentleman who was pushing me for answers on another apologetic issue. I finished at four a.m. just in time to catch a couple hours of sleep. It will be nice when my schedule goes back to normal (whatever that is!)

    Anyways, I appreciate you all and your wisdom amazes me!

  330. Craig,
    I value your questions and I think that others do as well. The difference between you and some others who come here is that you appear to be genuinely interested in seeing both sides and you ask questions to understand and not to condemn. Thank you for your patience with us all as we too work through these passages. Others come here to push us with questions that appear to many of us as “traps” meant to trip us up and gain the upper hand as if we are all so foolish to ever believe that men and women are spiritually equal and equal rulers of the world. When we carefully and respectfully answer questions and challenges many of the challengers will either move on or ignore the answers to mock us in other ways. Sometimes it gets tiring because we are doing our best to live as Christ wants us to live in love for the body no matter how they believe on these secondary matters, but the unloving responses and sometimes downright mockery that we get back sometime wears on us. I personally have been attacked and my name smeared because I would dare to produce DVDs on women in ministry when I should know that my place is to “be silent”. I consider it a honor to suffer for doing what I have been called to do, but honestly it stings and downright hurts when the mockery is coming from those who should be our brothers in Christ and who are also called to love those who do not believe as they do on this secondary issue. So if I or anyone else here gets a little testy at times (and I try really hard to lead out with a good example of grace under pressure but I too am human) it is because our patience is worn thin at times and we are waiting for our next infusion of grace ourselves so that we can continue to love those who disagree with us.

    Now most here know that I have resisted dealing with the Scriptures on marriage because it is not a direct connection to women in ministry. However even though I resisted for a long period of time, I felt the gentle push of the Lord Jesus to go where I didn’t want to, hence the last few posts on my blog about women and submission and there will likely be a few more posts that will cover this issue. I think that if it is important to the Lord that we understand these passages and if He wants it done here as is apparent to me, then my resistance needs to go. Gengwall knows all about that resistance because he has tried to push me a number of times. So, Craig, know that I too am working through these issues myself.

    My reason for thinking that “head” in “head over all things” (Eph 1:22) was not the anatomical head of the metaphor is because if “all things” means “all things of this world” I have never seen an anatomical head attached to that!

    Count me in too! That’s how I see it. I understand that the body of Christ is also in the verse but “head over all things” doesn’t appear to apply to the “body” since what Christ is head over is not said to be the church in that instance and what is put under Christ is also put under our feet since we are His feet too as part of the body. I noticed that the Scripture didn’t say that “all things” were put under Christ’s head but put under His feet. I think that this makes a big difference. If all things were put under His “head”, then all things would be His body but that isn’t so. And if “head” were used as if it meant authority, then we should expect that all things would be placed under His head(ship). Instead we find that all things are placed under His feet. There is a big difference between our English meaning and the meaning in Greek when it comes to a metaphorical meaning of “head”.

    I really appreciate Suzanne’s scholarship and her language skills that allows her to read and search through other the use in the term kephale in classical and Hellenistic Greek. Here is her latest blog post on kephale as authority http://powerscourt.blogspot.com/2010/06/not-slam-dunk.html Suzanne as usual does a great job in showing that the meaning of “authority” is not listed as “head” in the classical Greek lexicons.

    More to come when I am awake enough. I am going back to bed. 🙂

  331. Craig@358,
    Sadly, that is one of the hazards of a long thread of comments – I hope you stick around in spite of it. Too bad we can’t all simply sit in the corner coffee shop and discuss. Certainly would simplify things. 🙂

  332. Thanks for your help and your kind words. I do understand the difficulties of long threads and the pressures placed by those with differing viewpoints. One of the things that has caught my attention and caused me to spend time here is the godly and loving tone of the discussions- even when there is strong disagreement. I appreciate the emphasis that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ sharpening each other on a secondary issue of the faith. My wife and I have several times said to each other that the attitudes portrayed attracts us and encourages us to investigate what you are saying. Keep up the good work!

  333. Craig – sorry for the mix up.

    Mark – I will have to take a look at Hosea. I have not studied in depth. As far as lexicons go, I have never met an expert yet who didn;t have an agenda. But we discussed that at length in another thread so no use reviving it here. My point, although possibly slightly “overstated”, is that the lexicon you refer to seems to offer opinion on the definition of the word rather than actual demonstrable proof. And the author seems to have a stunning (our new favorite word 🙂 ) misunderstanding of how a metaphor works. For the metaphor to mean what your lexicon says it means in 2a, Paul and the Greeks of the time would have to have the view that the anatomical head is the lord and master of the anatomical body. But that is demonstrably false.

  334. Cheryl said:
    “Now most here know that I have resisted dealing with the Scriptures on marriage because it is not a direct connection to women in ministry.”
    I’m glad the Lord led you in this direction, because although there is not a direct connection between the two topics, they are philosophically linked. The issue in both is whether women are meant to be subordinate to men. How can we assert that women can have full equality with men in ministry, if we believe they are created to be under their husbands’ authority? The belief that men are meant to lead and women meant to follow, says something (whether comps want to admit it or not) about the fundamental nature of men and women. “Meant” to lead means “born” to lead. “Meant” to follow means “born” to follow.
    It would be like saying a person who is still under the authority of his parents can be senior pastor of a church. If he must still be under their authority, how can he be qualified to lead a church?

  335. “Authority is not “removed”. It is just not added into the passage.”

    Precision work. Love it.

  336. To all,

    i haven’t read through all comments yet, but just have time for one brief thought.

    Since all but one lexicon and other greek sources identify authority with kephale from what i’ve read, it’s hard don’t you think to disagree with the majority. BUt maybe Gengwell is correct, they all just have their biases.

    But then it makes me wonder, why so many of you rely on Sue’s research and conclusions. Is she not also biased in her research? Just seems like the very argument you want to use against the majority of scholars in this area is a little flawed. Why do you trust Sue over others? IS it some bias of your own to stick with your own interpretation?
    Let’s be realistic about this. Give me a better reason to ignore the majority of scholars. Note also my point about looking at people, pre egal/comp debate- i think you would get a much fairer response.

    Sue,
    I’m very serious on this topic and i’ve read your research before, but i’m still not convinced. The whole argument falls to pieces regarding the LXX, since there are instances when kephale is used to mean authority or leader- you may dismiss them, but they are there. Like i have challenged you before, show me one use in the LXX where kephale is meant to translate ‘source’? Let’s get things in perspective! Why are we choosing to select a meaning that is not related to human relationships (i.e source), but not only that, it is used as the plural not singular. Now i know you don’t like source, but what is the alternative, and how does that make sense of the biblical passages?
    Would you argue that the majority of scholars in this field of your’s are simply biased? WHy should we believe you that your research is not biased more so than others?

    Thanks

  337. ” Since all but one lexicon and other greek sources identify authority with kephale from what i’ve read,”

    Mark,

    First I don’t think that is accurate. Secondly, we must take note of how they are listing their definitions. Most of them do NOT go into cultural uses of the era. That takes a lot of research. Most lexicons simply list how it is often translated in the Bible. And of course we know they are also not exhaustive in their research there either but simply choose the couple most popular translations. That method is not accurately researching the language usage. Liddell & Scott and and at least one other source look at the common usage of the word in the original language and list those instances instead of just what Bible scholars have chosen.

    ”The whole argument falls to pieces regarding the LXX, since there are instances when kephale is used to mean authority or leader- you may dismiss them, but they are there.”

    If you take each instance on their own context, you’ll see that any authority noted is found in the context and not the word itself. And then let’s say there are two instances where it is questionable. Do you think that two out of 180 uses sets a precedence?

    ”WHy should we believe you that your research is not biased more so than others?”

    Sue is not by any stretch of the imagination the only Christian who studies languages (or the only non Christian) that is aware of the discrepancies that Sue has noted. Several Christian authors have written on this subject.

  338. TL,
    @330 you said concerning Eph 1:22
    “Rather when we consider that Jesus is the source of everything to the Body, we then see the greatness of what Jesus did. After all, if Christ had not died on the cross we would not have salvation and would not be part of His Body. In this way ‘head over all things’ shows His preeminence, shows Christ as origin of all, shows Christ as the one through whom all things are provided, and the one who has everything we need.”

    Are you saying that “head over all things to the church” means that Jesus is “the source of everything wonderful to the church”? So rather than “all things” meaning “the world” it means “everything wonderful”(like salvation)? This would make sense, but it would mean “all things” under his feet at the beginning of the verse would be a different “all things” that he is head over at the end of the verse. Any comments?

  339. Hi Mark,

    I have never said that kehpale means “source.”

    The instances in the LXX for kehpale are problematic in that kephale is the literal translation of rosh and many passages in the Hebrew are very difficult to translate in any way at all except literally, since they are metaphorical passages.

    Of course, I am biased. My life was not worth living under male authority. I want to live. But likewise, every male is also biased. That is just the way it is. We are all biased. And most certainly lexicons are biased.

    The least biased are likely those that do not related directly to NT material.

    IMO, we need to look at the core and repeated principles of the Bible, that we should love our neighbour as ourselves, that we should defer to each other and put others first. Unless, of course, they are contentious, ie prone to fighting. Then one should walk away.

  340. Gengwall,
    Apology accepted. “No worries mate” – as we say in Australia. I appreciate your well thought out comments here and I have read some good things on your own blog also. Thanks.

    Cheryl,
    I am no computer expert, but I remember looking for some comments one time and they were no longer there because there were too many or something. Just a friendly reminder that we are up to 370 (and I am probably not helping!) :).

  341. Sue,

    I admire your honestly regarding your bias. I think that is helpful for all to understand, so that when comments are made rejecting the BDAG for example because of bias, one can see that such an argument is not really an argument at all. But let me ask you this, how do you know you are correct? You told us your motivation- you “want to live”. Are you therefore manipulating the text to suit your agenda? How can you know? And what if your wrong- what then?

    The problem i have with Liddell, is that it is much more of a broad survey dealing with an enormous amount of greek literature, most of which is irrelevant to the Koine Greek period. However, to deduce therefore that such a lexicon is more accurate i think is flawed. It is much more accurate to look at the period in question rather than such a broad expanse. It’s like trying to understand what the term ‘awesome’ means from a linguistic period covering an enormous amount of years. Considering it probably is used in different ways every 10 years or so, it would be hard to have an accurate picture from the broad analysis.

    Indeed many people are biased, but what makes you think the majority of Greek scholars would be pushing for a comp position? You would have to be assuming that all these publishers and editors are patriarchal advocates…but of course that is just an assumption based on your own bias. Sure someone like Grudem is of course doing that, but the BDAG lexicon was in print before this dabate even began.

    Where do we draw the line as to which lexicon to trust? Are all BDAG entries wrong and therefore anything we need to know about Koine Greek and the Bible ought to come from secular sources? To me, it seems like you and many others would be more than happy to take 99.99% BDAG entries seriously, excluding the ones that clash with egal theology. So it’s no so much that they are wrong, but probably more so, that our contemporary readings of passages are wrong.

    TL,

    My statement was not wrong at all, because i qualified it by saying what i have read. Yesterday i had a look through our college library at all the greek sources availiable. All bar one confirmed what i said- the one exception was Liddell (which to re-enforce again is a lexicon that covers an enormous time period which would be hard to give definitions accurately). Now i also looked at theological word books etc and not just lexicons. They all came to the same conclusion. So either they are all wrong, and the church has been wrong for 2000 years (which of course could be possible since the church is fallible), or our modern debate is an attempt to read back into the text what we want it to say. We see this all the time when ‘new’ theologies pop there head up.

    Let me finish with this at least. Reject kephale as authority all you want- i won’t agree but that is ok. But at least give a decent alternative. ‘Source’ is not a good alternative. Source is used in plural forms not singular, and as Sue herself told us, she does not accept that translation. ‘Source’ not only is an impossible alternative, it doesn’t make sense either. I am not the source of my wife because 1. it is singular and 2. she wasn’t created out of me, the same way the church was created out of Christ.

  342. gengwell,

    i suggest you do read Hosea. Througout all of biblical literature the marriage metaphor is common. Not only is it common, there are may places in which God’s authority over his bride is in view. This is simply common sense. God is God. God is in authority over us.

    So although you argue that the marriage metaphor never has God in authority over his bride, i hope you see that that is simply not true. You may wish to further narrow your scope to Paul’s marriage metaphor, that’s up to you, but looking at the Bible as a whole (especially in light of Paul being a Pharisee and being well versed in the Old Testament literature) i’ll stick with my conviction at the moment. It seems like your argument will have to extend to saying that Paul is ‘re-inventing’ the marriage metaphor to exclude authority, especially in regard to Church/Christ.

    I’d love your thoughts as this seems to be the crux of your thesis!

  343. Mark,
    You say: “I agree submission is something we do. A wife is told to submit to her husband. She has to choose to do it, it cannot be demanded by the husband. God demands it, not the husband.”

    Please read what you wrote yourself. The One with the right to demand it Is the one in authority – and in this case, as you point out yourself, that One is God. She is told by God to do it and if she disobeys, then she is clearly disobeying GOD – NOT her husband.

    The husband has no inherent “authority” – God and God’s Word is the authority. It’s not husband’s personal authority obtained from God. The authority belongs to God. Paul didn’t take authority over people, but rather authority over error and false doctrine.

  344. Kay,

    So what you are saying is that Church leaders are not in authority-

    let’s see…

    Tit 2:15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

    Does Titus have authority here over the congregation? Paul says don’t let anyone disregard him. Maybe you should consider if you are disregarding your church leaders?

  345. “How can you know? And what if your wrong- what then?”

    I can’t know any more than you can know. I make decisions guided my moral guidelines, not on a gendered line of command. I believe that this is healthier and leads to less harm and more righteousness.

    If I am wrong, I have simply modeled that it is best to make a decision based on sound moral judgement, rather than on the basis of gender. Maleness is no more moral than femaleness, so I don’t need to worry about being morally compromised because I am a woman.

    Regarding lexicons, I don’t really trust any lexicons. I am just trying to discuss what is in them. The basic component of a lexicon is not the meanings listed, but the evidence or corroborating examples. There are no examples in the Liddell Scott or Woodhouse indicating that kephale meant “authority.” In the BDAG and the TDNT the examples given to denote superior rank are mostly from the NT. That is using something to prove itself so we have to set them aside.

    In BDAG, the example listed as Hs. is Shepherd of Hermas, and follows the NT, and could be influenced by Latin, since it was published in Rome, written at the same time in Latin. Caput did mean “head of the household” in Latin, but does not normally mean that in Greek. Kephale, as head of a household, occurs only once in all of Greek literature in Hermas, as cited in BDAG. Is that what you were referring to? It is the very oddity of this expression in Greek, the fact that it is not natural Greek that makes it stand out.

    The truth is that to me the scriptures are not always clear. This is acknowledged by Dr. Grudem who believes that they are interpreted by the spirit. Really, who can test the spirit of someone else. For some people it is in their interest to invest superior authority in men, there is so much at stake. For others, it is important that each person has equal moral authority, and takes equal responsibility for their own actions, for the way they care for their own family. I stand with that, that each of us has both equal responsibility before God, and equal authority.

  346. ”Are you saying that “head over all things to the church” means that Jesus is “the source of everything wonderful to the church”? So rather than “all things” meaning “the world” it means “everything wonderful”(like salvation)? This would make sense, but it would mean “all things” under his feet at the beginning of the verse would be a different “all things” that he is head over at the end of the verse. Any comments?”
    Craig, 368
    ”22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”

    In preceding verses (sentences) Paul does appear to be addressing Christ’s stand before the world. Remembering that verses and their ‘breaks’ were not in the original language, it seems that as you said, putting all things under His feet, is indeed different (and part of the preceding sentences) to Christ being head over all things to the church which is His body. Christ being the source, or preeminent over all things TO THE CHURCH is relevant as God’s special relationship with believers.

  347. “I can’t know any more than you can know. I make decisions guided moral guidelines, not on a gendered line of command. I believe that this is healthier and leads to less harm and more righteousness.”

    This is a typo. I meant to say,

    “I can’t know any more than you can know. I make decisions guided BY moral guidelines, not on a gendered line of command. I believe that this is healthier and leads to less harm and more righteousness.”

  348. Mark,

    I find it kind of funny that you find wanting to live to be an “agenda!” I wonder if men could ever understand that a husband having authority over his wife is also an “agenda” – quite the agenda, in fact. Whew.

  349. Mark,
    Is it Titus’ own personal authority? Really?
    The Greek word ‘epitage’ (translated as ‘authority’ there) is used to describe an injunction, mandate or command. This word does not relate to how we normally think of authority. In the KJV, epitage is normally translated as “commandment.”

  350. When I say “want to live” I don’t mean that I want to go out on the town or have a career. I mean that I want to be able to get out of bed each day, to have basic physical health, to stay alive and care for my children.

  351. Paul was saying that the minister of God has a MANDATE to preach those things regardless of their immediate approval or rejection. “in season, and out of season.”

  352. “Tit 2:15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.”
    Does Titus have authority here over the congregation? Paul says don’t let anyone disregard him. Maybe you should consider if you are disregarding your church leaders?”

    Mark 374,

    I agree that leaders do not hold authority over a congregation. However, yes, they should indeed rebuke, correct, admonish, encourage, exhort the believers in, with, and through The Word of God. There is a difference. Yes, they exercise an authority which is given by the Holy Spirit. It is an authority to train and direct the people of God to honor God. They do this as servants of the Lord. There authority is not to or for themselves, but to and for the Lord as the Lord directs.

  353. When Jesus spoke of the rulers of the Gentiles who “lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.” Jesus said that this was NOT God’s plan. In verses 27 and 28 Jesus said that “whoever wants to be first must be your slave.” In other words, a person cannot, by birth or by force of money or might, become “first” in God’s order. Instead, he or she will have to become a “slave.” They will have to forfeit their *own* “authority” in order to be in God’s order.

  354. Sue,

    But again there are more problems. You told us that your motivation was to live and not be under male authority, and know you relate that to ‘moral guidelines’. I don’t see the connection!

    I could equally argue that i am governed by moral guidelines- that really means nothing. What we should be governed by is the Word of God- that is the only place where true morals can be formed, otherwise they are not morals at all. You can’t approach the Bible with a 21st century ‘moral guideline framework’- it doesn’t work that way- it should be the opposite.

    I think your first answer seemed far more honest and open. Being under authority is not accepted nowadays, and in some places rightly so, but i don’t think you can only connect your view as morally right and the comp not.

    Again regards lexicons, if you don’t trust any, how can you possibly give any explanation for anything. It seems like you have just undercut your own research- why would i trust you? How do i know you aren’t just making up your own terminology or meanings if they are not inline with other relevant scholars.

    I think your insistence to disregard BDAG is unwarranted. They cover the koine period as their focus. The question we need to ask is whether their definitions fit the context. Of course they do, they are just repulsive to our generation- that’s the only difference. Does ‘source’ fit the context? In many places not at all- that’s why many egals switch between source and ‘beginning’ and ‘preeminance’, which are totally different meanings. And then we need to ask whether the few lexicons that offer another alternatives can rightly be considered as covering the relevant time frame accurately.

    I think we need to steer away from the open hermenuetic mind field. There are not 2 possible meanings to Paul’s teachings. I would have thought that the research you have put into the New Testament, you would have realised the amount of divergents, ducking and re-interpretation of passages, words, meanings goes into the egal position. If it was ‘so obvious’ why did the early church miss it- the natural greek speakers. Why aren’t the fathers writings in line with the egal position? Did they misunderstand the meanings of words from their own time?

    This is why i struggle. Many egals claim that the church has just been patriarchal, but yet then claim that the very words of the New Testament shout for egalitarianism. How can the two co-incide. Either they were just patriarchs, or they misunderstood their own language. I don’t see how you can argue the two.

  355. TL,

    “Yes, they exercise an authority which is given by the Holy Spirit. It is an authority to train and direct the people of God to honor God. They do this as servants of the Lord.”

    Beautiful picture of servant leadership that you wrote! This might not go down to well with your fellow egals!

    Now tell me, why the same paradigm doesn’t work for a husband? WHy do you assume it has to be his authority that he takes? Have you perhaps given false labels to comp theology?

  356. “Of course they do, they are just repulsive to our generation- that’s the only difference.”

    Mark,
    People in arranged marriages were who Paul was writing. Would you find being bound to an arranged marriage with a woman of your parent’s choosing to be repulsive?

  357. Mark,

    If a woman is “under authority” then she does not relate to the moral guidelines contained in God’s word in the same way as a man does. There is always a man to tell her what the morals taught in the Bible are.

    I am simply saying that a woman has the same responsibility and authority to follow morality as taught in God’s word as a man does. A man must care for his family, so must a woman, and so on. A woman can never ever compromise what is best for her family because her husband has some kind of authority over her on the basis of his gender. That is wrong.

    Since men are not more moral than women, sometimes the wife does see a situation in a different moral light than her husband and she needs to follow that. It may relate to the health and safety of the children, to their well being, it may relate to obligations to others. A woman has exactly the same moral responsibility before God that a man does.

    If you simply mean that in situations that have no moral component, a man should have his way, I do not see any justification for this. It seems a rather selfish way for men to organise life, but less harmful that having a man supersede moral decisions.

    Regarding lexicons, when you read BDAG, you see the words “of the father as head of the family” Hs 7, 3 and you trust that. But I have read Shepherd of Hermas (Hs) in Greek, so I have to think about whether this is an example which informs us as to Paul’s intent. In my opinion, it is not. As I said on my blog, “it is not a slam dunk.”

    Regarding those who duck and twist, complementarian scholars equal in every way all other interpreters. As you know, Dr. Grudem has made the claim that God is subordinate to man in the moment in which he helps man. This is in the interest of proving that woman as the ezer kenegdo, the “help meet” is subordinate to man. That is a duck with a quack!

    If you would like a list of complementarian inconsistencies, I would very much like to tell you when it will be published but it would be a book of 600 pages at least! I can’t really say that egals are much better.

    I do not regard history as much help. It was not until the 1980’s that the law regarded marital rape as a crime. Does that mean that the weight of history demonstrates a greater morality? Hardly!

    However, I definitely believe that in the law of Christ we have a firm foundation. It is the most repeated commandment in the scripture, to love the Lord your God, and treat fellow humans as you would be treated. It seems so simple to me, so straightforward.

    I remember crying when I realized that a “neighbour” could refer to a woman also. I was 50 years old before that concept had ever occurred to me. I had never had that thought before, that I as a woman, should be treated as a fellow human being by a man.

  358. You’ve lost me on the above comment. My post was about the appropriateness of BDAG’s definition for kephale- i don’t see how your comment is relevant.

    P.S- where does Paul say in Eph that he is writing to people in arranged marriages- are you assuming that into the text? I’m astonished that the very arguments you are all chucking at me, you guys equally do? Hypocrisy in the midst!

  359. “which of course means you have to reject the very model of Jesus himself!”

    Mark,
    Why would you say that to me? I mean honestly?? We’ve been conversing here for months. When I have questioned your faith? All I asked you to do earlier was think about the links of what you yourself wrote. I think you really just came tonight to hurl insults at the most convenient egal. Well, I’m not into that. It’s very late here – so ‘good night.’

  360. “You’ve lost me on the above comment. My post was about the appropriateness of BDAG’s definition for kephale- i don’t see how your comment is relevant.”

    Mark,

    You will need to cite the reference in the BDAG that you are referring to. I just assumed that you had something specific in mind. The only evidence that I see in the BDAG is HS 7, 3. What is it that you have in mind?

  361. Mark,
    If anything I said to you came across as insulting, please understand it wasn’t meant that way. I was simply posing questions hoping you would think them over.

  362. Mark,

    I have to confess that I cannot find the word “authority” in the entry for kephale in the BDAG. I do see “superior rank” so I assume that this is what you referring to.

  363. Mark,

    I am truly confused. I have searched this entire thread and I cannot find where you refer to the entry in the BDAG for kephale. With regard to hupotasso, I have indicated that according to BDAG, Eph. 5:21 falls under voluntary yielding in love, as in 1 Clement, submitting to a neighbour.

    I do regard BDAG as very useful, but somehow I am not sure what information you are getting out of BDAG. It would help if you would cite a part of the entry in BDAG, and then we can discuss that entry.

  364. Sue,

    We are not really getting anywhere here, and we are getting off topic quite a bit.
    History is helpful to help us in this instance to see how the fathers understood the NT teaching, and thus how they understood the NT grammar and words. Doesn’t necessarily mean they are right, but it at least sheds light on the proper interpretation of words.

    That said, how can you as a greek scholar continualy maintain that what comps are arguing for in regards to kephale is not correct?

    First, you don’t trust lexicons, nor do you put any weight to history- how can you possibly be trusted to give a clear understanding into the meaning of kephale? How can you offer us a proper meaning for kephale if you ignore the experts of the past and present, aswell the very people who spoke the language and drew their theological conclusions from it? What then do you base your interpretation upon? Your pre-conceived guidelines on what is morally right and wrong.

    I’m not sure how much time you’ve spent in thinking about an alternative meaning, but i’d love to know what it is. It isn’t source and it isn’t authority- what is it? Most of what i’ve read from you focuses so heavily on disproving Grudem, that an alternative has not been mentioned. Maybe i’ve missed it somewhere?

  365. Ok i am going to stop for a while, because everyone is posting at the same time and it is getting confusing.

    Kay,

    What i said was not an attack at you at all. My point is simple- to reject servant leadership is to reject the model of Jesus himself. Jesus was both leader and servant!

  366. Mark,

    Sadly you have not missed something. It took me a long time to realize that many of the citations in support of the subordination of women are not accurate. That really was a lot of work. I am a detail person.

    I don’t disregard lexicons, but I read them in such a different way than you do. If we take this conversation up again, I would like you to cite a line, quote something from a lexicon or a page or something, and then we can talk about a specific detail. Right now, I really do not know what you are referring to.

    It is true that men have been preeminent over women, in general for a long time. And this has lead to many bad things. There have been no laws to protect women from marital rape or other violence until very recently, and the Bible does not provide these laws either. We cannot simply say that the way things were was altogether good.

    I don’t actually ignore the church fathers. For example, this is Cyril of Alexandria, referring to Adam,

    “Therefore of our race he became first “kephale”, which is “arche”, and was of the earth and earthy. Since Christ was named the second Adam, he has been placed as “kephale”, which is “arche,” of those who through him have been formed anew unto him unto immortality through sanctification in the spirit. Therefore he himself our “arche,” which is “kephale,” has appeared as a human being: indeed, he, being by nature God, has a “kephale,” the Father in heaven. For, being by nature God the Word, he has been begotten from Him. Because “kephale” means “arche,” He established the truth for those who are wavering in their mind that man is the “kephale” of woman, for she was taken out of him. Therefore one Christ and Son and Lord, the one having as “kephale” the Father in heaven, being God by nature, became for us a “kephale” accordingly because of his kinship according to the flesh.”

    The church fathers do not have one single interpretation for kephale. In this passage, kehpale seems to mean “source.” It is possible that Paul meant “source.” But really, I don’t know the answer, I just know that if gender is put before Biblical morality, we are in deep trouble.

  367. ”Now tell me, why the same paradigm doesn’t work for a husband? WHy do you assume it has to be his authority that he takes? Have you perhaps given false labels to comp theology?”

    Mark, 385

    It cannot be the same model because
    1. a husband is not the Lord’s servant to minister to the Lord’s Body.
    2. A husband is to be one with his own wife, his own body.
    3. A leader is not in a ‘one body’ relationship with the body of Christ, but is part of the Body of Christ just like all believers.

  368. Mark, you cited this with regards to church authority:
    “Tit 2:15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.”
    If male authority is so clear and obvious, why is there nothing equivalent or even similar in the New Testament with regards to husbands? Why are husbands never told “lead your wives with all authority” or anything like this?
    In 1 Peter 5:1, Peter says to the elders of the church, “Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by constraint but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly, not as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. . .”
    If husbandly authority is so obvious and clear, why are there no clear words like this to husbands? How easy would it be for Peter to say, “You husbands, lead your wives as their authority, not by constraint but willingly, not to your own advantage but for their benefit, not lording it over them, but being examples.” In a world where male privilege was a given, such words were certainly expected. And yet he never says them. Neither does Paul. Neither does any writer of Scripture. Instead it’s all “nourish and cherish as your own body,” “love as Christ did when He gave Himself,’ “treat her with respect as a fellow-heir of the grace of life,” etc.
    Notice in 1 Tim 3:4, when qualifications for church leadership are given, an overseer is to have his children in submission. Not a word there about having his spouse in submission. Why? Again, wifely subjection by the husband was the expected norm. And yet it is omitted from the passage. To us, this is hardly noticeable. To the original readers, it would have screamed.
    This isn’t the only indication that Paul and Peter were saying Christian marriages weren’t supposed to look like the patriarchal marriages of the world at that time– but it’s a big indication. Paul and Peter were teaching a new dynamic existing within Christian marriage, in which male and female as joint heirs with Christ, adopted sons, a royal priesthood, would stop relating to each other under the old “he’s in charge, I’m subordinate” paradigm. Misunderstanding the historical background and the shared cultural assumptions of the time, leads people to mistake the assumptions, for the commands of God.

  369. Mark,

    If we take this up again, you will need to cite something as the basis of your discussion. You can’t just say, out of the blue, that you disagree with me. You have to be willing to engage with the evidence. Does this make sense?

  370. Kristen,

    Your whole argument is an argument from silence. The reality is, egalitarianism has just stripped authority away- that is all.

    Look for example at what you said compared to others regarding the Titus reference. You don’t seem to have a problem that Church leaders are in authority, yet Kay and Cheryl say something different- the authority was in the word not in them.

    So for some even Titus isn’t refering to authority of Church leaders, but for some it is. Likewise Eph 5 some say yes, some say no. So it’s not a matter of what someone did or didn’t say, it’s a matter of biblical interpretation.

  371. Sue,

    You’ve lost me again. Let me begin by saying that BDAG in my opinion is a useful resource on this topic. Under point 2 for kephale, BDAG seperates between ‘people’ and things. Under people they give ‘superior rank’, under ‘things’ they give ‘uppermost part, extremity, end point.

    As regards engaging with you…here you go. You cite Cyril, but fail to mention that arche also means authority aswell as source. So when kephale/arche are in view, authority is not an excluded possibility. Likewise, source is a possible option, however the unambiguous nature still looms over this text.
    It is interesting that you are following in the footsteps of Kroeger who used this same text, and had the same points told to her. What you and her need to do is give a non-ambiguous citation.

    In favour of the comp position is this point…numerous texts that are unambigous. For example Chrysostom
    Homily 26 on 1 Corinthians
    ” Husband as head and ruler. Consider nevertheless that she is a woman, the weaker vessel, whereas thou art a man. For therefore wert thou ordained to be ruler; and wert assigned to her in place of a head (kephale) that thou mightest bear with the weakness of her that is set under thee.”

    Again…
    Homily 3 on Ephesians
    ” Christ as head of the body, ruling over it, and head (kephale) of all things. “Which is His Body.” In order then that when you hear of the Head (Kephale) you may not conceive the notion of supremacy only, but also of consolidation, and that you may behold Him not as supreme Ruler only, but as Head of a body. “The fulness
    of Him that filleth all in all” he says… . Let us reverence our Head, let us reflect of what a Head we are the body,—a Head, to whom all things are put in subjection”

    There are several other citations for unambiguous use of kephale linked in with subjection, ruler, authority with Chrysostom alone, let alone other texts.

    Please continue to show me unambiguous citations to support your position.

  372. It is also good to point out that the Cyril text cited must not be divorced from it’s literary and historical context. Even if we took on ‘source’ as the meaning, authority is still not excluded in the passage nor the historical context in which it was written- the trinitarian controversies.

  373. “Under people they give ’superior rank’,”

    Yes, that is what I have been discussing. This is supported by the example from Shepherd of Hermas, 2nd century AD. But this is a very isolated example, and following the NT. It also could be influenced by Latin. There is no example in typical native Greek of kephale as “superior rank.”

    “You cite Cyril, but fail to mention that arche also means authority aswell as source.” Do you have some evidence that arche means authority. The passage stresses kinship rather than authority.

    “What you and her need to do is give a non-ambiguous citation.”

    I am not trying to prove that source is the meaning. I am simply indicating that the church fathers are not monolithic. I disagree with Chrysostom.

    It is simple. He thought that women were naturally weaker, and that it was self evident that women were under the husband as ruler. But he also taught many other things about marriage, that obedience on the part of the wife, was balanced by desire on the part of the husband, that this created a balance between the two, a mutuality. I am not sure that he is right on that.

    I don’t think either of us can prove our position. I do know that the notion of male authority is in contradiction to the law of Christ, and needs to be examined rather seriously. I also think that compassion alone should motivate men to treat women as fellow human beings. This is not something that I have met very often in the church, but more often from non-Christians.

  374. Sue,

    I’m not advocating Chrysostom’s theology…i used him to support non biblical uses of head to mean authority. That is what i wanted you to deal with.

    I’ll wait for your other examples

  375. I just got started in reading the comments and received wise advice from Craig to shift the comments over to a new post so that we don’t lose the comments once again. I have started a discussion post #3 here http://strivetoenter.com/wim/2010/06/15/eph-5-22-post-3/ I will shortly disable comments on this post so please move over to the new post with your comments. I will keep doing this every four hundred or so comments so that I keep the blog software happy. Thanks folks!

Comments are closed.

Comments are closed.
%d bloggers like this: