Ephesians 5 infected with the mindset of the world

January 8, 2012 — 33 Comments

Worldly infection on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

In my last post I presented one of the best sermons that I have ever heard on Ephesians 5, regarding the evidence of Spirit-filled lives for both men and women.  This post is on the opposite of the Spirit-filled life which is an influx of worldly infection through male-centered pride. The outgrowth of this infection is the teaching that encourages men to focus their efforts on taking the “lead” over women, putting them under their authority and control. They are taught that women were made to be led and when men don’t take leadership over women’s lives, women will not be able to fulfill their “role” in Christ.  Recently I heard a teaching where young Christian men were rebuked for taking the authority over their girlfriend’s by deciding for them what university courses they would register for. The speaker chastised the young men and told them that they were “not yet” responsible for making their girlfriend’s decisions. They needed to wait until they actually became their husbands and then they had this authority. It is no wonder that many women are surprised with an entirely different man on their wedding day than who they thought they were marrying. The teaching that men are responsible for the entire home including their wife and her spirituality has caused many young men to subjugate their women in order to fulfill their calling and for the wife’s “own good”. The spiritual harm that has resulted from the teaching that the man has the mandate to rule his wife for God, has caused untold pain and suffering and a stifling of the woman’s ability to seek after God for her own life. She is no longer in control of the exercise of her own gifts and calling – he is. 

This alternate “Christian” worldview results in man-centered pride and arrogance which breeds dominance and spiritual abuse rather than Christ-centered living through the filling of the Holy Spirit. Wade Burleson has written an excellent article where he identifies several organizations that are guilty of promoting unethical, unbiblical, and godless treatment of women. I have listed three movements below and made my own comments on their historical push for male rule.

CBMW on Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

1. The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.

No organization has worked harder to spread the message of male only leadership in the home and church than CBMW has.  Be Strong and Show Yourself a Man was the theme for their 2005 Conference at Denton Bible Church.  To CBMW, manhood is connected to the Kingdom of God and the Bible gives us a mandate to raise “masculine” sons and “feminine” daughters.


T4G on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

2.  Together for the Gospel.

T4G has spearheaded a view of complementarianism that has gone so far as to include their view of male leadership in the gospel so that not having a clear view of complementarianism is said to damage a Christian’s witness to the gospel.  Their Article XVI reads:

We affirm that the Scripture reveals a pattern of complementary order between men and women, and that this order is itself a testimony to the Gospel, even as it is the gift of our Creator and Redeemer. We also affirm that all Christians are called to service within the body of Christ, and that God has given to both men and women important and strategic roles within the home, the Church, and the society. We further affirm that the teaching office of the Church is assigned only to those men who are called of God in fulfillment of the biblical teachings and that men are to lead in their homes as husbands and fathers who fear and love God.

We deny that the distinction of roles between men and women revealed in the Bible is evidence of mere cultural conditioning or a manifestation of male oppression or prejudice against women. We also deny that this biblical distinction of roles excludes women from meaningful ministry in Christ’s kingdom. We further deny that any Church can confuse these issues without damaging its witness to the Gospel.

Mark Driscoll's resurgence on Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

3. The resurgence movement and Mark Driscoll.

Mark Driscoll has influenced a lot of younger Christians to accept limitations on the “roles” of women.  Mark has adopted Bruce Ware’s view that a person’s view of gender roles will reveal their view of God, the Bible as God’s Word, and how the Bible is to be interpreted. Mark’s view is that complementarianism, or male rule in the home and church, is vital for the well-being of God’s people, and his job, as well as other New Calvinist’s job, is to present fresh ways of saying this “old truth”.

Wade Burleson concludes that complementarianism leads to power-hungry men seeking positions of authority and control, and an almost cultish like god complex. “I am in the image of God. My word is Law. You submit to what I say, and don’t dare try to tell me what I should do.” He gives three examples of where complementarianism has hurt women.

1. A Pastor moved his family to a more expensive home against his wife’s will.  Wade writes:

Before the move the pastor’s wife insisted that the family should not move. She had several very good and valid reasons. However, the pastor informed his wife, that as the man in the home–“the one with authority”–he would make the decision to move and overrule any objections he heard. He said moving was “the right thing” to do, and submission to his authority was “the right thing” for her to do.  So the pastor’s family moved. I have withheld names, but I do hope the pastor reads this blog and realizes the dysfunctional nature of the argument he had with his wife. Multiply this by hundreds of times in conservative, evangelical homes and you get a picture of the problems created when Christian men have a warped view of their authority.

2. A long-time member of a baptist church was not allowed to have her funeral in the church since her son wanted two women to read Scriptures at his mother’s funeral.

3.  There is a commentary on the Bible just for women. Wade’s blog gives his whole rant about how culture is bringing in “bizarre and unbiblical views of women that are being taught by our seminary Presidents, their wives, and other ‘leaders’ in the SBC.”

The complementarian movement has been one of the causes of division in the Church today that has caused godly, gifted women to leave many evangelical churches in order to be faithful to use their gifts in ministry. Please pray with us that God will bring wide spread repentance to those who have used their authority and control to hold back God’s female “sons”. May there come a time that we will all be in unity with no more men seeking after position, power, authority and control.  Jesus said it is to be “not so among you”.

Luke 22:25–27 (NKJV)
25 And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’
26 But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves.
27 For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.



33 responses to Ephesians 5 infected with the mindset of the world

  1. So often Christ’s example of speaking to women directly is not recognized for the groundbreaking behavior that it was. Ending this post with Christ’s words about the greatest being those who are seen as the least is a powerful reminder that He didn’t see any of us the way the world (including too many of our churches) sees us.

  2. Very good Cheryl. I’ve linked this post in my blog.

    And may God open the eyes of understanding of these men so they can repent from their sins.

  3. Margaret, welcome to my blog and thanks for your comments!

    Mara, thanks for the link!

  4. The key word in your post is “worldly”. That is exactly what comp doctrine is all about. In fact, in the SBC I grew up in, before the backlash to the cultural upheaval of the 60’s in the church, women were much freer to exercise their spiritual gifts. My mom warned me of what she was seeing in the 80’s but I was too young to get it. And it has grown progressively more legalistic to the point the women need a Talmud to figure it all out!

    It is nothing but a fleshly desire to have control, position and power. They lie to themselves and say it is about serving and protecting but it is not.

  5. “Before the move the pastor’s wife insisted that the family should not move. She had several very good and valid reasons. However, the pastor informed his wife, that as the man in the home–”the one with authority”–he would make the decision to move and overrule any objections he heard.”

    I did such a thing once. It cost me my whole retirement fund (35k at the time but I was still young with lots of compounding interest in the future). It was the last time I disregarded my wife when it comes to major decisions. We now have an agreement that either has an automatic veto if they don’t feel right about something that affects the family. Except, for some reason, when it comes to cats. *sigh*

  6. When our kids were little, my husband wanted to sell our house and give everything to the church. We would have ended up in an apartment with three kids and with no savings. I did not have a witness that this is what God wanted and I would not sell. Praise God my husband did not force me. At the time he believed it was his responsibility to make the decisions on all matters, so I am so thankful that he did not take authority over me at the time. He is also thankful now too.

  7. Hey everyone,

    Was hoping anyone who can would pray for me for some direction. I’ve reached the end of my rope on something. I don’t know what to do and I need to know one way or the other. So any prayers would be very appreciated.
    Specificaly, I’m looking for direction, to go forward with something or leave it alone. And as I said, end of my rope, so please help and pray for me that God provides the direction on what I should do because this is it.
    Thanks for letting me post this prayer request here, Cheryl.
    Anti-spam word “pain” How fitting.

  8. pinklight,
    I will pray for you. May the Lord direct and guide you as you trust Him for answered prayer.

  9. Thank you much Cheryl :)

  10. I’ve never actually heard of a woman who supported complimentarian views who didn’t have a husband who also supported it. So in essence you know its actually the other way around. And sometimes I wonder… what if a man of this dogma happened to have a daughter who believed her calling was to pastor a church? How would he react? Would he support her calling to lead people to Christ and teach and nurture a flock? Or would he say that she is deceived? Or worse try and stop her? I’ve always wanted to ask this question to an actual complimentarian.

  11. Henri Blocher, author of In the Beginning, an excellent commentary based in the framework theory on the first three chapters of Genesis, had a similar dilemma. He really, really, wants to be complementarian, but when his father passed away, his mother took over much of the leadership, including teaching, of their church in France. This greatly conflicted him and he writes about that conflict in his contribution to Women, Ministry, and the Gospel. He really does not resolve his inner debate.

  12. Dejablue, that is actually the conflict with characters in the book that I am writing. That is if I ever have the time to finish it. Unfortunately it has taken a back burner to the DVD project I am working on, but eventually…God willing, it will get done.

  13. Cheryl, there’s a couple of complimentarians I know of who are, to put it mildly, very strange; they claim Catholicism, but since their engagement they blog mostly about sex, sexual desire and how heavy male dominance turns them on. They made this humorous post: and actually asked where your sexuality is, because apparently you forgot to plaster it all over the screen in your DVD about women. Clearly many prayers for them are needed.

    [edit: blog author removed link]

  14. Wow that place is vicious. And the poster is really childish. I notice how he took the pastor’s wife scenario and artificially inflated it with their own assumptions. Rather petty and shallow ones too. Sounds like he’s had rotten experiences with women. When it says plain as day in the story, the exact reason why she didn’t want a larger house. The price of the pastor’s old home ($375,000) and the price of the pastor’s new home ($500,000) were appropriately not revealed to the congregation. However, they are relevant to this story because the pastor previously told his congregation that they were not to buy more expensive homes, but rather God desired them to set aside that extra money and give it to kingdom causes (i.e. the church)

    So the wife didn’t want a larger house for purely unselfish reasons. But her “king of my domain” husband didn’t listen to her. And he broke his promise to his congregation. What a champ!

    Also the guy who wrote this didn’t go to Wade’s blog because he obviously did not read the whole story.

  15. The author is a woman, actually, but it’s generally co-authored by a man and woman.

  16. That makes this blog all the more horrid to read. Its like she’s shooting herself in the foot. Women who really really believe in female subordination must not think too highly of themselves.

  17. She’d say it’s just the opposite, that her man treasures her and listens to her and shows he cares with his headship. The guy in question amusingly said I’m not happy, like so many “leaderless women”. I should have told him God’s my leader; I aim more highly than that. I did tell him I’m only unhappy when my fearful tendency to think insanity online might be real flares up.

  18. There are untold depths of arrogance in the idea that any woman who doesn’t have a man “leading” her is unhappy. He probably thinks no woman is happy unless she’s married.

  19. Was just banned “for promoting Nestorianism.”


    They think the term “Christ” refers to Jesus’ divinity, and attempting to point out that such is not the case, I then get acccussed of promoting Nestorianism.

  20. Hi folks,
    I have been gone for some time now, totally overwhelmed with ministry work, and converting over to an iMac and needing to relearn everything! I am still working on my next DVD project with filming to begin in September. Unfortunately the blog was set aside as I had no time to keep up. I am going to try to catch up a bit tonight as before I get back to my cycle of learning.

    I removed the link to the blog that Jennifer provided as it appears to me that some of the material there is meant for shock value with sexuality used to draw people in. There are challenges that are worth the effort and then there are others that are not. The overt sexual talk makes that blog one to pass by.

  21. And I was just spammed, lol. It’s an honor, pinklight. The two of them will uphold BDSM clubs sooner than they’ll uphold any kind of equality. The woman there speaks of how freeing it is to have someone else make all the decisions and take responsibility; I don’t recall seeing that as men’s jobs. Cheryl’s right, they judge the success of relationships by sex and shock value, not Biblical doctrine. One woman, “Suz”, amusingly accused me of telling men to hand over their manhood; I’ve found it’s definitely a site to shake the dust from.

    “The husband is the LORD of the family as Christ is LORD of the church”

    This claim comes from a person called “Deti”, who seems to go off and on Christianity in general; he doesn’t often refer to it unless he’s looking for support for a woman’s submission. He also claims that it’s deliberate in the Bible for a woman’s submission to be mentioned first, because it’s more important than a husband’s job to love. He says we don’t submit because our husbands deserve it, which is true, but then lists all the ways a husband pours himself out for his wife, with a humiliating job and soul-breaking work if need be, which sounds a lot like he wants to justify the position of one-sided power he describes. Sadly, he feels he cannot properly love his own wife, because he says she responds better to dominating behavior and teasing comments. He needs prayers, because his wife has basically warped his entire view of men and women.

  22. And I was just spammed, lol. It’s an honor, pinklight.

    That’s the way to look at it lol

    The two of them will uphold BDSM clubs sooner than they’ll uphold any kind of equality.

    Honestly, based on all I’ve read over there and the comments, the place is not clean. It is very shameful, and I don’t think the blog can be considered “Christian” in any real sense of the term. I think it’s pagan and not a good place for those trying to grow in Christlikeness.
    I wanted to post there for the benefit of any.

    The woman there speaks of how freeing it is to have someone else make all the decisions and take responsibility;

    I’m sure life is made easier for alot of women who decide to hand over responsibility to a man, and give a man the power to make final decisions. But the philosophy of “I’ll take the easier road” never jived with me.

    I don’t recall seeing that as men’s jobs.

    Right, it’s definately not a Biblical teaching that the man is to carry most the responsibility and make the final desicions.

    Cheryl’s right, they judge the success of relationships by sex and shock value, not Biblical doctrine.

    I think the teachings there are on the verge of something very dark. As I said, it is not a clean place. I went there not caring what was going to be thrown at me. There just is no value in most of the behavior displayed over there.

    One woman, “Suz”, amusingly accused me of telling men to hand over their manhood; I’ve found it’s definitely a site to shake the dust from.

    There were lots of silly accussations. Most the time, the responses didn’t even make much sense. Definitely a different planet over there lol

  23. He also claims that it’s deliberate in the Bible for a woman’s submission to be mentioned first, because it’s more important than a husband’s job to love.

    Yeah, I saw the person you name and the woman there mention the fact that the wife is told to submit before the husband is told to love. This is an example of something said which didn’t make much sense. Why make something out of the order in which Paul wrote the instructions to the wife and husband? There is no reason for that other than to place emphasis on the wife’s submission.

  24. That’s right. One man says this constantly, because he doesn’t trust his own wife, and only hangs around sites where male-first thinking is promoted. He only quotes the Bible when wishing to put women second.

  25. Jennifer,

    Paul didn’t make anything out of the order, in the way comps do, so the thought that the wife’s submission is more important than the husband’s love is unjustifiable, period and the idea is also senseless and heartless. Kids just go around attempting to add to the Word like it’s nothing.
    Funny how, while Paul teaches that the husband is to be the wife’s servant (not leader) and that he is to love her, people manage to oppose the text by trying to make the wife the husband’s subordinate (through her submission).
    It really amazes me how people are so drawn to the idea of the wife submitting to the husband. It has got to be the most attractive thing in compland. Without the verse on the wife’s submission, *gasp*, the world would come to an end! If the wife is not subordinated to the husband, the sky will fall down! What a spectacle lol

  26. Oh yes, I just came across a man who was left by his wife a while ago and has since spent his time foolishly trying to make women sound like the selfish sex. He even said a son must separate from his mother in order to leave the world of “self-centeredness and selfishness”, and this is why men are told to man up, not “chick up”, because maleness is apparently superior. He’s of the hilariously ignorant mindset that since Adam sinned deliberately and Eve didn’t, Eve is worse! LOL He says woman (from Eve and on) decides that she will decide what’s right and wrong as it suits her, that this was Eve’s specific sin and now it’s all women’s, and this is why leadership was given to men, not women, because men must fight the feminine desire to make things center around the self. Women don’t see leadership the same, the little wolf said. Women see it as power, while men see it as great responsibility and sacrifice.

  27. Oh yeah, and one of the men on that foolish man’s comment section said that most men will never experience a truly submissive wife. Maybe they’ll find groups to help their grieving process?..

  28. I guess lots of people do that. They have a bad experience or two, three etc with people and then perceive a whole group based on those experiences.
    Like me for example, at one point, because of my bad experiences with some comps, I viewed all comps to have the same kind of attitude towards women. But I know that some are just innocently caught up in church culture and take it hook line a sinker.
    This guy though sounds like he’s taken it to another level, a little extreme – a son must separate from his mother in order to leave the world of “self-centeredness and selfishness”. Uh, this is a perfect example why men shouldn’t be leaders, have final say, teach etc just because of their sex – they can be as idiotic as any other person on the planet.
    For one to say that Eve’s action was worse just shows traditional hatred towards women – it was Eve’s fault for the fall of man.
    “Women see it as power, while men see it as great responsibility and sacrifice.” Good to know that he can think for and understand half the race on the entire planet. He must be a wise man.
    “that most men will never experience a truly submissive wife.” Yep. Most men will never experience a subordinated wife. Ain’t it cool?! :)

  29. I spent 15 years in a powerfully authoritarian and abusive church run by a group of men who were infinitely happy to proclaim that only if you obeyed them were you obeying God. My husband and three children and I have been out of that place for eight years now but during that time I have found that the place we went to and the ‘theology’ it practiced was not unique it was and is the thin end of the wedge.

    In the last eight years I have undertaken a great deal of study and research into church practice and theology in America and Australia (my home) and have discovered that even in many so called liberal churches this idea of male dominance is really just a cover for the normal human bias. Whether in the world (just about every primitive culture and every civilized one has subjugated women) or in religion (every major religion in the world also subjugates women) this idea of women being ‘lesser than’ is fully realised. Why are christian men not recognising that they are not any different to their unsaved brothers in this pursuit of male dominance? There seems to be a spiritual blindness afoot.

    Jesus introduced the idea of “no more division btw Jew/Gentile, Slave/Free, Male/Female” and humans just can’t get their heads around it. Of COURSE we have to keep those divisions. Religious, economic and social/sexual laws dictate that we must have these compartments otherwise how will the rich, Protestant/Catholic white male continue to have the upper hand – or the rich Roman/Jewish male as in Jesus time.

    Unfortunately women, and christian women in particular, bear equal responsibility for female oppression. Yes, we were cursed at the fall to be in continual conflict with men, and men being bigger and stronger and more aggressive have simply bullied us into submission for millenia. We, being physically and socially given to pregnancy, breastfeeding and rearing small children, over millenia have accepted our positions as keepers of the home and servants to the men. We didn’t have the resources or inclination to start wars, and when you go through that much pain and effort to produce children, you are not going to make it easy to destroy them. Our propensity has been to nurture not destroy, so conflict, whether it is in the home or out, is something we go out of our way to avoid. If the big strong man wants to run the place, we will let him do it, mainly because it is that much easier. We have however been lazy, both spiritually and mentally.

    But we also allowed our natural fleshly ways to assert themselves. We used subversion and manipulation. It is a shameful matter but it is something our sisters throughout history have had to engage in for survival. If you are physically weaker, use your intellect. Christian women are still invested in continuing the wordly status quo. I am continually disappointed to see how many women prefer holding to the ‘domestic goddess’ persona (transfered to the Proverbs 31 woman in christian parlance) and think its preferable to being – in their eyes – feminist. As an aside, the term ‘domestic goddess’ has a strong pagan element to it, and witches are condemned in scripture. Something to think on.

    Their christian brothers, husbands and fathers also abhor the feminist, the ultimate female terrorist. Yet feminism began as Women’s Sufferance (by christian women no less) in order to be accepted as intelligent contributors to the democratic process. It took thousands of years for us to stand up to men – overtly – and realise that not only are we psychologically equal to them but spiritually so, and I thank God that women are showing their capacity to debate this topic intelligently on blogs like this one. Not only that, but many educated christian men are now joining the ranks of those ‘coming to their senses’ as the prodigal son did.

    I know I was lazy. I believed the ‘big strong man/knight in shining armour’ myth even before I became a christian, and both Hollywood and the church have a lot invested in perpetuating that idea.
    God has shown me that if I had pursued my concerns about joining an abusive church we wouldn’t have had to spend 15 years in it. If, instead of capitulating to the cosy idea that I was a perpetual child who simply had to do as I was told by either my father or my husband I had stood up for what I had truly believed, my family would not have suffered for all that time at the hands of abusive authoritarian religious dictators.

    If we all recognised that the spiritually minded person is going to think differently to the fleshly-minded person then it will make perfect ‘sense’ to see that both Jesus and the apostles upheld the fact that women were no longer under the curse and free to live and move in the Spirit as much as their brothers in Christ. When we finally stop beating each other about the head with scripture and beating our chests in order to put down those pesky females who are so ‘easily deceived’ (yet how many women run cults?) it will be a much calmer, happier , and dare I say more powerful body of Christ.

  30. PS. I am not a feminist, as in the post-modern definition of the term, but I do believe in the liberation of women in Christ, and in humble submission to Him first and foremost, and to each other in Him.

    Just saying.

  31. Amen, Anita! Beautifully said.

  32. I am a member of an SBC church, and the term, “complimentary” is an intentional misnomer. The term with the much more appropriate definition is “patriarchy”. Most baptist churches are male centered. Females are called “members”, but we do not have the status or the rights that the male members have.

  33. Nancy, I agree with you that the term complementary is a misnomer. Patriarchy should be the term as it most aptly displays the real intent.

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