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Category: Marriage

Taking the place of sole Master of the home – by law

Taking the place of sole Master of the home – by law

Taking the place of master by law on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

The Bible records a law that requires men to take the place of sole master in the home. We find this law in the book of Esther chapter 1 verse 22.

Let me first give a little background.  King Ahasuerus was a very wealthy and powerful king who reigned from India to Ethiopia over 127 provinces.  In the third year of his reign he made a huge banquet for his nobles and officials as well as military leaders.  Then for 180 days he displayed his great riches and all that went with the majesty of his position.  At the end of all this show of the king’s splendor, he threw a seven day banquet for all the people who were present in his capital city, both the greatest of them to the least of them.  It was at that time, after seven days of partying, that the king became joyful from the wine that was served at the banquet, and in a hasty decision to show-case all that he owned that was magnificent beauty, he ordered that queen Vashti be called to appear before the king wearing her crown in order to parade her beauty before the crowd. Vashti refused to have her person put on display and this caused the king to feel great wrath and he called his wise men to find out what could be done by law to punish queen Vashti for refusing to obey his command.  In verses 16 to 19 Memucan one of the wise men said, 

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The humble God and the issue of authority

The humble God and the issue of authority

The humility of God on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

In our past discussions on Ephesians 5:21-22, we have been discussing the issues of mutual submission and whether there is authority in marriage.  In this post, we will discuss the foundation of humility.

One very important part of the nature of God that is rarely talked about is God’s nature of humility.   In fact God as the humble One is revealed in the Old Testament and also through the revelation of Jesus Christ. 

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Submission & Ephesians 5:22 comments post #3

Submission & Ephesians 5:22 comments post #3

Ephesians 5:22 on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

Our discussions on Ephesians 5:22 has sparked a flurry of comments with literally hundreds of comments later and seemingly no end to the “iron sharpening iron” discussion between egalitarians as well as complementarians.  This is the place where the discussion will continue as my blog has a habit of blanking out all of the comments if I let too many accumulate under one post.  So continue discussion with this post and thanks all for your lively and irenic comments on a very hotly debated topic of authority and submission in marriage.

For those who haven’t been following all along, here are links to the previous parts of the discussion on Ephesians 5:22.

Part #2 http://mmoutreach.org/wim/2010/06/01/authority-vs-submission-ephesians-522-continuing-comments

Part #1 http://mmoutreach.org/wim/2010/05/23/authority-vs-submission-biblical-view/ Part 1 has problems because of the great amount of comments, but at least the original post can be read if the link doesn’t work.  Just scroll down to the bottom until you read the post of May 23, 2010 called Authority vs Submission a Biblical View.

Authority vs submission – a biblical view of Ephesians 5:22

Authority vs submission – a biblical view of Ephesians 5:22

Mutual submission on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

Yesterday I received two polar opposite views of Ephesians 5:22 by email.  One was from “NN” who has responded here in the past.  He  is a complementarian who has commented on authority in marriage, one of a handful of complementarians who have been willing to give their views on women on this blog in a respectful manner.  

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Common objections to women in ministry – authority of the husband

Common objections to women in ministry – authority of the husband

husband-authority on Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

In our continuing topic of common objections to women in ministry, the objection is raised that women cannot have authority in the church since wives are under their husband’s authority. The concern is that if women had leadership roles in the church, then their leadership role would be in submission to their own husbands. So instead of women making individual decisions, their husbands would be the ones making the decisions for them and the wives would be obligated to obey.

The objection comes from the theory that the husband is the ruler of the wife so that any decision she would make in a leadership role outside the home would come under his control. In essence it is believed that women’s leadership in the church would result in their own husbands leading through their wives and how would that look if he was an unbeliever? 

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John Piper takes leave of ministry to work on his marriage

John Piper takes leave of ministry to work on his marriage

 

john-piper on Women in Ministry blog

On March 28, 2010 complementarian John Piper announced that he is leaving ministry for a time because of several issues of pride that were affecting his soul and had taken a toll on his relationship with his wife Noël .  Below is what Piper has written about his issues and his next steps.  It would be a good time to pray for John Piper.  It appears that being a rock solid complementarian is not a guarantee that a happy and fulfilling marriage will ensue. 

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Putting women in their place

Putting women in their place

The woman's place, from Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

The November 17, 2009 CBMW blog post by John Starke that we started to evaluate last post, is an amazing “piece of work” that exalts the 17th century writings of a Puritan named Richard Baxter who attempts to put women in their place.  Starke continues to summarize Baxter’s writings:

2. Discontentment. There is something about the sinful heart that is always wanting something other than the place in which God has placed him or her. When something other than God is the desire of the heart, it begins to desire more than the portion granted. The sinful cravings of the heart are deceitful and can justify sin or can explain away divine instruction. Baxter’s appeal to wives is to find your contentment and treasure in Christ and you will recognize the joy in resting in his purposes. (emphasis is mine).

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How a passion for ministry almost cost C. Michael Patton his marriage

How a passion for ministry almost cost C. Michael Patton his marriage

Today I read a blog post that really touched my heart because it showed the importance of mutual decision-making instead of unilateral decisions by the husband (the male trump card).  I have asked and received permission from Michael Patton to post this on my blog.  I think that this story puts a human face to the issues of a one-flesh union that we have talked much about on this blog.  This testimony by Michael Patton and his willingness to listen to the wisdom of a godly woman really raised my respect for Michael.  I think that you will be touched by his story as well.  This is a fine example of how real complementary marriage works rather than a hierarchy model.

 

Can a wife's authority be overruled?

Can a wife's authority be overruled?

Couple on Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

Wade Burleson has an interesting post about marital authority and the only time that the Bible uses the word authority in the context of marriage.  Burleson writes:

The often quoted book complementarian book Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanwood (1991), devotes entire chapters to passages like Ephesians 5:21-33, 1 Corinthians 11:3-16. Colossians 3:18-18, and 1 Peter 3:1-7. But the ONLY text in the Bible that actually uses the word “authority” in the context of marriage, 1 Corinthians 7:1-5, is given no consideration. Likewise, in John Piper’s book What’s the Difference? Manhood and Womanhood Defined by the Bible (2001) there are two lists of verses dealing with marriage provided, but 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 is not even included (see pages 21,66).

It is certainly interesting that the only place were the Bible gives the husband and wife authority over the other is missing in the sections dealing with authority and submission in  Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.

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Did Adam rule the animals and the woman at Creation?

Did Adam rule the animals and the woman at Creation?

kittens on Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

Those who argue for the permanent subordination of women will frequently use the argument that  Adam named the animals and that this showed his unique “role” given to him by God.

In a CBMW article written by Bruce Ware, Dr. Ware makes it clear that Adam was given an authority in the beginning of creation that the woman was not given.

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1 Peter 3:6 how does Sarah’s obedience affect women in ministry?

1 Peter 3:6 how does Sarah’s obedience affect women in ministry?

Cheryl Schatz blog - obedience is it required in 1 Peter 3?

Sarah’s Obedience and the submission of women

How does 1 Peter 3:5, 6 with the Bible’s use of the word “obey” affect wives and in particular women in ministry?

Some say that wives are to “obey” their husbands in everything and that this makes the husband the “lord” or “master” of the wife.  Many hierarchists will reason that it follows then that if a wife is to obey everything her “master” tells her, if she were to be in a leadership position, then the husband would be in the position to control her decisions and her position as he is the wife’s “lord”.  But is unquestioning obedience and a role of the husband’s “lordship” what Peter is speaking of in 1 Peter 3:5, 6?

To determine the meaning of these two verses, we must first look at the complete context of the book of 1 Peter.  The book starts with a statement by Peter that Christians are chosen to obey Jesus Christ.  Obedience is a big part of Peter’s instruction, and it is always ultimately an obedience to Christ.

1 Peter 1:1, 2  Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens,…who are chosen…to obey Jesus Christ…

Another important theme from 1 Peter is service toward others.  In 1 Peter 1:10-12 Peter reveals that the Prophets were not serving themselves, but they were serving us.

1 Peter 1:12  It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you…

In this service, Peter tells us that we are called to holiness in our behavior.
1 Peter 1:15  but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;
1 Peter 1:16  because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”
We need to note here that all of us are called to obedience to Christ.  All of us are called to serve others, and all of us are called to holy living.  We are also called to a sincere love for the body of Christ.

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Who is in charge? Or who cares?

Who is in charge? Or who cares?

I got a special hug today from Dr. Cynthia Kunsman a very brave lady who has been fighting a battle against authoritarian spiritual abuse.   Cynthia sent me a link to a wonderful post about marriage and the head/body metaphor.  I would like to share this link with you because I believe the article is very well written and balanced.  Here is the link  Who is in charge?  Or who cares?

Mart De Haan writes:

I’m convinced that if we really listen to the text, the right question is not, “who’s in charge?”, but “who cares?” (i.e. who cares for one another as a head and body care for and cooperate with one another?)

I recommend that you browse through the article.  It isn’t too long, but it is powerful.

Feel free to comment here and/or on Mart’s blog.  Enjoy and thank you to Cynthia for sending this hug to me today!  You can visit Cynthia’s blog here or her web site here.  Cynthia’s material on hierarchy, spiritual abuse, the Family Integrated Church movement and more is extensive and thought-provoking.

The unfaithful Watchman

The unfaithful Watchman

In the last article we saw that God gave additional information to Adam and his wife regarding what they were allowed to eat and God gave freedom for them to be fruit inspectors as he gave them a test to know what was good food.  In another post we will talk more about Eve’s words to the serpent and what happened that caused her to change her method of testing fruit.

In this article we will be discussing God’s requirements for Adam as watchman and the reason why God held Adam accountable for bringing sin and decay into the world. In Genesis 2:15 God sets up Adam as the very first watchman of the garden of Eve. God said:

Genesis 2:15 Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.

The Hebrew word translated as “keep” is “shamar” which means guard or protect as a watchman or doorkeeper.

Darby’s translation renders Genesis 2:15 this way:

(Darby) Genesis 2:15  And Jehovah Elohim took Man, and put him into the garden of Eden, to till it and to guard it.

The exact same word is used in Genesis 3:24 as God sets up the second watchman in the garden of Eden after the sin of the first watchman.

Genesis 3:24 So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.

The word translated “guard” is once again the Hebrew word “shamar”. Whenever God appoints someone as a guard, that one is held responsible for guarding and sounding the warning.

Ezekiel 3:17 “Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman to the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from My mouth, warn them from Me.
Ezekiel 3:18 “When I say to the wicked, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.

God required Adam to be loyal to him and to be a faithful watchman. In Hosea 6:6, 7 God speaks about a level of unfaithfulness that God calls treacherous.

Hosea 6:6 For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, And in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
Hosea 6:7 But like Adam they have transgressed the covenant; There they have dealt treacherously against Me.

God specifically identifies Adam was the one who dealt treacherously against God. Adam was the one who was found unfaithful. Here God likens the treacherous actions of those who knew the truth but who did not act on the truth to the action of Adam in the garden. Adam knew the truth about God but he did nothing with the knowledge that he had.

Instead of guarding the garden against the enemy, Adam was silent. Remember Paul identifies Adam as the one who was not deceived in 1 Timothy 2:14. Adam knew the truth but he kept silent. Is a watchman supposed to keep silent?

Read again from Ezekiel 3:17 and 18 to see that a watchman is required to warn of danger. Adam was required by God to warn of danger and guard the garden against danger. Adam failed God and his failure was a spiritual abandoning of his wife. Adam failed to defend God and he failed to defend his wife.

Adam’s covenant relationship with his wife started when God created a special mate for him from his very own body and personally brought her to the man. Adam accepted her as his mate and as one who was flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone. God then sets the parameters of this one flesh union.

Genesis 2:24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

God says “For this reason” the man is to be joined to, cleave to or “be glued to” his wife. The reason is found in the previous verse, that the man accepted her as his wife and this acceptance brought a marriage covenant relationship. This means that he is to treat her with love and respect as his very own body. Adam failed to love and respect his wife as he allowed her to be led astray.  In essence Adam not only sinned against God by eating the fruit but he sinned against his wife by spiritually abandoning her with no intervention at all, into the “hands” of the serpent.

God especially holds Adam accountable for his failure as watchman.

Genesis 3:17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life.

God identifies the sins that results in a curse on the earth.  God said that because Adam listened to the voice of his wife, and because Adam deliberately ate the fruit, God curses the ground that Adam was taken from.  Adam was an unfaithful watchman. God held Adam accountable for the blood of his wife and God identifies his listening (but without actions as a faithful watchman) as treacherous.

Next post we will continue with the words of Eve to the serpent and God’s words to her after the fall.

Special authority to Adam – was it given by God?

Special authority to Adam – was it given by God?

This is part two of the response to an article by Matt Slick of CARM called “Genesis 2, Adam and Eve, and Authority” found here.


Since Matt Slick has claimed that he has refuted my arguments on women in ministry, it is only fair for me to provide information that will show how his arguments are invalid and his “refutation” needs a whole lot more work. 😆

In Matt’s article he states that Adam expressed dominance over Eve. Matt writes:

But, since we see Adam expressing his dominance over the animals by naming them and we see that Adam names Eve, we can then conclude that Adam’s expressed dominance over Eve by his calling her ‘woman’ before the Fall and ‘Eve’ after it. Remember, as God brought the animals to Adam, he also brought Eve to Adam.

There are several questions that must be asked here and the answers to these questions will be very eye opening. The first question is, who gave Adam authority over Eve? The second question is, for what reason did God bring Eve to Adam? If I could take liberties to answer these questions for Matt, I think his answer would be that Adam’s authority over Eve was not explicitly given by God but implicitly given because of Adam’s actions. I also believe his answer to the second question would be that God brought Eve to Adam just as he brought the animals to Adam, for Adam to name her.

Let’s examine each of these questions and look at the text itself for the answers. Let’s also ask a question that goes back even further. Who gave Adam authority over the animals and did Eve also have equal authority over the animals? The answer will be found in Genesis chapter 1.

Genesis 1:27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Genesis 1:28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

God explicitly said to them (plural) that they were to subdue the earth and rule over the fish, the birds and over every living thing that moves on the earth. The command is not for the earth to be in subjection to Adam and Eve, but for Adam and Eve to subject the earth to their rule. The Hebrew word for “rule” used here according to The Complete WordStudy Dictionary by Zhodiates means to exercise domain over those who are powerless or otherwise under one’s control.

While God gave both Adam and Eve control over the animals, did God give Adam special authority and control over Eve? Did God give Adam the authority to exercise domain over Eve just as he had given them the command to exercise domain over the animals? Wouldn’t it appear odd that God would give explicit authority to exercise domain over the animals but only implicit authority for the man to exercise domain over the woman? Wouldn’t this be a failure of God’s to explicitly delegate authority so that we have to guess this is what he intended? It is my contention that God said what he meant and meant what he said. He explicitly delegated authority to both Adam and Eve and there is no explicit delegation of authority to only one of them. The naming of the animals was not a special act of authority to Adam. It was merely the acting out of the command to exercise domain over the animals. Eve, of course could not act out her domain over the animals at the time since she had not yet been created.

So now, let’s have a look at the creation of Eve. There is no doubt that Adam was aware that there would be a mate created for him since God said:

Genesis 2:18 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”

So while God said “I will make…” he then went on to make or form the animals from the ground and bring them to Adam. Adam was able to verify the nature of each animal by naming it and he was also able to verify that each animal created was unsuitable for him. God had said that Adam’s “helper” (one who gives aid or assistance) would be one “in front of him” or “facing him”. None of the animals qualified as one who would give Adam aid “facing him”.

Genesis 2:19 Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.

We can see from Genesis 2:18 that God had said that he would “make” a “helper” for Adam. In verse 19 he “formed” the animals and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. It is explicitly said that God brought the animals to see what Adam would name them and it is implied from verse 18 that God was allowing Adam to check out God’s creation to see if any of the animals was worthy of being “in front of” Adam as one who “aids” Adam.

Now we come to verse 21 where God brings the solution:

Genesis 2:21 So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place.
Genesis 2:22 The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.

It is interesting here to note that God fashioned into an “issah” (woman) the rib (inner chamber, board, side) which he had taken from the man. God called her an “issah” or woman before he even brought her to the man. Why? It is because she was taken from the inner chamber or side of the man.

Genesis 2:23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.”

The Hebrew literally reads “And saying is the human, This was once bone of my bones and flesh from my flesh. This shall be called woman, for from her man is this taken.”

The question we need to ask is this – does Adam’s identifying her as “woman” mean that he is taking dominion over her? Or does identifying her as “woman” mean that he is identifying her nature as equal to his – flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone? There is nothing in the text that says that God gave Adam authority over her. There is nothing in the text that says that Adam was taking his domain over her. The very next verse explains the significance of Adam’s identification of her nature. Genesis 2:24 says:

Genesis 2:24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

It says “For this reason…” For what reason? Eve’s identification by Adam as “woman” because she is flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone is for the reason of joining together the two to become one flesh.

So why did God bring Eve to Adam? God did not bring Eve to Adam for him to take dominion over her. God brought Eve to Adam so that Adam could join himself with her as a one-flesh union. God brought the woman, but the man is the one who is to leave and join himself to her. “Join” means sticking to or clinging to. Adam shows that he is joining with her by identifying her as the one whom he was looking for. She is “the one” whom God said he would “make” that is the one who will provide him with the help that he needs and the one who will be “facing him” as an equal being. God brought Adam his own DNA mate and Adam joined himself to her. Adam did not take authority over her but joined himself to her.

While people like Matt Slick would like to see this beautiful event as merely a hierarchical reign of the man taking his authority over the woman, in reality it is a man identifying what God has already identified as his equal and joining himself together with her accepting her as one with him.

Do you see what has happened here? Those who are hierarchists like Matt Slick are wanting to see rule and authority and reign and subordination in the text. Yet none of these things is either explicit or implicit in the inspired test. What is explicit is the reason given in verse 24. “For this reason….” God says, man will join himself with the woman to become one flesh. Did God bring the woman to the man for him to take authority over her? Or did God bring the woman to the man for him to join himself with her? The real question should be – what does the text say? The text is silent about the man’s authority over the woman. The text is explicit about the man’s joining himself together with the one whom he has agreed with God that she is identified as his corresponding equal – the only one who measures up to being worthy of a one-flesh union with him.

While Matt Slick may think that he has refuted me and proven that the man was given rule over the woman before the fall happened, he is dead wrong and his work is faulty and incomplete. It is time that we get back to the text actually says instead of placing our own presuppositions into the scriptures. Let’s let God be true though every man be found a liar:

Romans 3:4 May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written, “THAT YOU MAY BE JUSTIFIED IN YOUR WORDS, AND PREVAIL WHEN YOU ARE JUDGED.”

We have only just started the refutation of Matt Slick’s article so much more to come later.

Thoughts?

Patriarchal authority and free will

Patriarchal authority and free will

One of the key differences between an egalitarian and a patriarchal marriage is in the area of authority and will. In a patriarchal marriage, the man is set up as the final decision maker of the home and he is given the right to make a decision for his wife even if it overrules her will. The question we need to ask ourselves, is this biblical? Is a husband given a scriptural right to take authority over his wife against her will?

There is only one place in scripture where we find husbandly authority. This authority is found in 1 Corinthians 7:4. The Amplified version says:

1 Cor. 7:4 For the wife does not have [exclusive] authority and control over her own body, but the husband [has his rights]; likewise also the husband does not have [exclusive] authority and control over his body, but the wife [has her rights].

In this case both the husband and the wife have rights and authority over their spouses’ body. While the bible shows that each has an authority over their spouse’s body, this does not give one person the right to exercise authority over their spouse’s body against their will. In verse 5 Paul addresses the one who has made a decision to hold back from their spouse the sexual rights due to them.

1Co 7:5 Do not refuse and deprive and defraud each other [of your due marital rights], except perhaps by mutual consent for a time, so that you may devote yourselves unhindered to prayer. But afterwards resume marital relations, lest Satan tempt you [to sin] through your lack of restraint of sexual desire.

Paul’s encouragement is not aimed at the one who has been deprived of their rights telling them to take what belongs to them by taking authority over their spouse. This kind of forcing of one’s will on the other is never permitted. Rather, Paul’s instruction is to the one who is holding back and he instructs them to consider their spouse and the marital rights that are due their spouse because of their one-flesh marriage union. Paul writes that abstaining from marital relations is fine as long as it is for a time and is by mutual consent. The focus then is on mutual consent not on one person taking authority over another. If there ever was a place where Paul could have allowed men to take authority over their wives, this would have been one such place. But Paul does not tell men that it is their right to take authority over their wives even when he states that it is a man’s right to have marital relations with his wife. Why doesn’t Paul tell men in this instance that the husband has the right to take authority over his wife when their view on sex is different? Why doesn’t Paul tell men that they are allowed to make a decision for their wife when the husband and wife do not come to a mutual decision? It is because when a husband takes authority over his wife and physically overrules her will it is called rape.

If a husband is not allowed by scripture to take authority over his wife physically to force her against her will into a sexual relationship with him, then what makes patriarchs think that the husband is allowed by scripture to take authority over his wife’s will when they have a difference of opinion in other areas of their marriage? Scripture never once tells a man to take authority over his wife. This would be an overriding of her will and God considers our will as a very precious thing that not even he overrides. When people reject God by a decision of their own will, God does not force them into a relationship with him. God has given mankind a will that God respects. God will encourage us and persuade us and plead with us but God will not override our will. If we reject God, God will give us our will in the end and he will punish us for our sins instead of forcing us to be saved against our will.

One of the challenges that patriarchs will offer, is what does a married couple do if they disagree over a decision? If the husband doesn’t take authority to make the decision then how can they survive in a dead-locked position? The book “Does God Really Prefer Men?” available as a free download from doesgodreallyprefermen.com gives some very good biblical suggestions regarding what to do in this situation. When a couple is dead-locked, this is an opportunity to take the decision to the Lord in prayer. It is also an opportunity to work at unity. Last, it is an opportunity for the husband to sacrifice for his wife and/or for the wife to submit to her husband.

There is another good reason why God has not given the husband the right to take authority over his wife. The reason is that God’s desire is for each one of us to grow up and be mature. If the husband takes the position of decision maker in the home, the wife’s ability to mature is withheld from her.

Let me give you a couple of real life examples from a former complementarian couple who were taught that the husband was to be the decision maker of the home and he was to be responsible for his wife.  I will refer to them as “Bruce” and “Connie”. On their wedding day Bruce started this “role” as he took seriously his responsibility as “head” of the home. On their honeymoon in the mountains, when he realized for the first time that his new wife was afraid of heights, he took on the responsibility of dealing with her fears. He took authority over Connie by forcing her to go close to the edge of a cliff. For him it was an act of love because he was taking authority over her fear and that should have been a good thing. However his young wife was not released from fear. Instead she experienced a great amount of fear and panic and for the very first time in her new marriage, she experienced resentment because he had exerted his authority over her and against her will.

Within a few months they came to their first major roadblock in decision making. Bruce had a bag of mending for Connie to do and he wanted her to work on mending the holes in his pants. She loved sewing but she hated mending and she did not want to mend the ragged holes in his pants, at least not now. Maybe later, she told him, but not now. So he took his authority over her and told her that she had to do the work – now. Bruce pushed Connie down into the chair in front of the sewing machine and took authority over her will. This certainly should help her to be responsible and do things in a timely manner. He did everything that he was taught to do. He became responsible for her and he took authority over his wife and made the final decision when they disagreed. But by his taking authority over her will, she started a process of dying inside. Because Connie’s husband took authority over her will, she started to lose who she was as a person and instead of growing and maturing as a person and as a Christian she was kept in an immature state and she stopped growing. Through the years he loved her by protecting her from making mistakes. For example if she bought a frying pan at the store and he didn’t think that she needed a new one, he took authority over her will and made her take it back to the store.

As Connie’s will was overridden time and time again she started to hate her oppressor. After years of having her husband take authority over her, she started to dream about doing the unthinkable. She could never actually divorce him, but she could dream about divorce and what it would be like to be free from the one who controlled her life. What neither one of them realized at the time was that taking authority over your spouse against their will is emotional rape. It wasn’t until many years later when Connie came to the end of her rope and she finally drew the line in the sand because of all the control, he stopped taking his authority over her and he stopped making all the final decisions and she finally started to grow and mature emotionally. She actually started to blossom as a person. Instead of protecting her from every bad decision, he started to allow her to make wrong choices and she started to learn from her mistakes and this helped her to mature. She responded by loving him intensely for the freedom that he gave her to be her own person. She now was able to submit to him in love instead of having her submission forced on her. Bruce started to understand that loving his wife meant that he needed to sacrifice his need to keep her from making what he considered to be mistakes. True mature love, he learned, is not about taking authority over another person, but in serving them. A true godly husband serves his wife by providing her with all the tools that she needs to grow and mature.

When Jesus was on earth he did not take authority over his bride. Instead of taking authority over her and making her decisions, he spoke gently to his bride and he used persuasion instead of authority. One of the best examples of this is when Jesus submitted himself to wash the feet of the disciples. Peter, part of the bride of Christ, refused to have Jesus wash his feet. If the patriarchal way of taking authority over the wife was the right way, then Jesus surely should have taken authority over Peter and made the decision for Peter to wash his feet even if it was against Peter’s will. However Jesus did not do that. Instead of taking authority over Peter’s will, Jesus told Peter why he needed to wash his feet. When Peter understood Jesus’ actions as serving Peter in his need, Peter was very willing to submit to the service of Jesus.

The actions of Jesus are representative of a godly husband. A godly husband does not take authority over his wife’s will. Instead of making decisions for her, a godly husband will gently persuade and lovingly sacrifice for his wife. When a husband does these things, a wife will find joy in submitting to his sacrifice and it will be an act of her own free will that will accept what he offers her.

Laugh your way to a better marriage

Laugh your way to a better marriage

Recently someone sent me a Youtube clip of Mark Gungor’s “Laugh your way to a better marriage”. Since we have been talking about marriage and women in ministry, I thought I would share this with you.

[gv width=”450″ height=”350″ data=”http://www.youtube.com/v/xxtUH_bHBxs”][/gv]

I purchased Mark’s 4 DVD set of his marriage weekend seminar after watching the clip. I think the DVDs are very helpful with some very helpful insights into marriage and why men and women struggle with seeing things differently. It is also very funny and I like insightful things that make me laugh. I haven’t had time to watch the last of the 4 DVD set yet, but if it is as good as the other DVDs in his marriage seminar set, I think he has a real winner. If any of you are looking for marriage help and wondering how mutuality in marriage can be worked out, I recommend Mark’s 4 DVD marriage seminar set. It cost quite a bit more than my 4 DVD set does, but I think there is good value in it.

The husband as king over the wife

The husband as king over the wife

In part two of this discussion we asked whether God has ordained that a woman must have a priest in the home to represent her to God and God to her. Today we continue our discussion about whether a husband is to have the position of king over his wife in their marriage. The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) supports the claim that the husband is to be king over his wife and this view is taught in an on-line book on their web site. The book is called “Building Strong Families” by Dennis Rainey (Dennis is on CBMW’s board of reference) and we are focusing on chapter 4 of this book called “The Husband as Prophet, Priest and King” this chapter authored by Bob Lepine.

Mr. Lepine admits that the teaching about the husband as King has been abused by many well-meaning Bible teachers. Because of this he says that we need to “proceed with caution”. Although a king is thought to be someone who wields power and enjoys privilege and position, Lepine says that the husband needs to go beyond that to be the kind of kingly husband his wife ultimately wants and needs him to be. Lepine then focuses on the king as a warrior and a representative of “his wife and his family in the culture”.

I personally found this part of the chapter to be the most alarming. This patriarchal teaching about the husband as “representative” of his wife and family is lived out by a group called Vision Forum and their leader Doug Phillips. Taking the husband as “representative” teaching to a position of “law”, Doug Phillips teaches that “God does not allow women to vote”. Quoting from Mr. Phillips:

“In regards to a woman’s right to vote; if husband and wife are truly “one flesh” and the husband is doing his duty to represent the family to the wider community, then what PRACTICAL benefit does allowing women to vote provide? If husband and wife agree on an issue, then one has simply doubled the number of votes; but the result is the same. Women’s voting only makes a difference when the husband and wife disagree; a wife, who does not trust the judgment of her husband, can nullify his vote. Thus, the immediate consequence is to enshrine the will of the individual OVER the good of the family thus creating divisions WITHIN the family.”

So if the husband is “federal head” then he makes all the decisions and she is forbidden by God to vote. Do you see the problem here? This type of “federal head” concept of the husband as King and representative of the family taken to its logical conclusion makes the husband’s rule in his family virtually unchallenged by anyone. Who then can decide if the husband is being unkind to his wife?

Going back to chapter 4 of “Building Strong Families” Lepine suggests that there will be attacks on the husband’s way of leadership from all kinds of directions. He says that “(attacks) will come from friends and coworkers who, thinking themselves to be wise, have become as fools (Rom. 1:22)” Under the heading Know your enemy Lepine also identifies the wife as someone who will attack the man’s leadership. He says:

There will also be attacks from your closest ally, your wife. While her spirit will welcome the leadership, protection, and provision of a wise king, her flesh will war against her spirit and will seek to thwart your authority. Over time, there will be showdowns as you wrestle with whether to compromise and gain her approval or to stand fast and face her wrath. There will be times when you’ll have to decide whether to serve her or to serve God.”

The advice then is for the husband to stand against his wife. When a wife doesn’t want her husband to vote for her as her “representative” and she doesn’t want his leadership, the husband is to take control of his kingdom and stand up to her anger. He is to lead whether she wants him to take control or not.

Is this really what scripture says? Does the Bible ever tell a husband to take control of his wife or to have a showdown with her wrestling her to force her to a place of submission?

The Bible never once instructs the husband to “lead” his wife. The Bible also never once tells him that he is to be her king or her priest or her prophet. The position of her King is already taken. Jesus is her King and her High Priest and her Prophet. The husband is never granted a place to usurp Jesus’ role. The husband’s role in the marriage is to take the initiative to bond with his wife so that they can have a one-flesh union. In Genesis we find Adam identifying his wife as flesh of his flesh.

Gen 2:23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.”

In Genesis 2:24, the Bible says “for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and they shall become one flesh.” For what reason? The reason is because she was taken out of him and he is to initiate a joining of himself with her to be that one flesh union again.

When a husband loves his wife and treats her tenderly and with affection and he sacrifices himself for her, a woman will respond willingly to that kind of love. That is why a husband is not to take authority over her but he is instead to love her and this will bring her willingness to submit to his love.

Right now I am hard at work on our new DVD on the Trinity but when I get a chance to do another post, I would like to respond to some of the questions that were posted on my original 2006 blog article about the husband as priest of the home. There were questions about the wife obeying the husband that I didn’t get to at the time so it should be interesting.

God's woman: is she needy of a representative priest? Part 2

God's woman: is she needy of a representative priest? Part 2

In part one, (click here to read) we discussed whether God created the woman as needed or needy. In this continuing discussion we ask whether God has ordained that a woman must have a priest in the home to represent her to God and God to her? The complementarian view is a strong “Yes” when asked this question, but is this a biblical view or a view passed on by tradition?

The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) makes their view available through an on-line book called “Building Strong Families” by Dennis Rainey. (Dennis is on CBMW’s board of reference.) Chapter 4 of this book is called “The Husband as Prophet, Priest and King” and this chapter is authored by Bob Lepine.

Mr. Lepine states that it is God’s design that the husband is the priest of the home. To prove his point, he produces the patriarchal rule of the Old Testament as proof that God wants men to act as priests in home today. He says, “The patriarchs, who were the family and tribal leaders in ancient Israel, knew they had a duty to lead their wives and children into God’s presence for worship, to remind them of God’s grace and mercy in forgiving their sins, and to intercede on their behalf. Husbands today have the same priestly assignment.” While Mr. Lepine states this as a fact, he gives no New Testament scriptures that say that the Christian husband is the priest of the home.

While there are no New Testament scriptures on the husband being “the priest of the home”, there are also no Old Testament scriptures that show that God ordained the husband to be the priest of the home either. In fact the only reference there is in scripture to a “priest of the home” is in Judges chapters 17 & 18. Micah, an idol worshipper had stolen eleven hundred pieces of silver from his mother and after he returned the silver to her, she made a graven and a molten image with part of the silver and gave them to her son for his use as an idol. Micah made a shrine where he placed his household idols and he consecrated his son as his own household priest.

In Judges 17:8 the story goes on to say that Micah found a young Levite and he also requested that this young Levite be his household priest.

Judges 17:10 Micah then said to him, “Dwell with me and be a father and a priest to me, and I will give you ten pieces of silver a year, a suit of clothes, and your maintenance.” So the Levite went in.
Judges 17:11 The Levite agreed to live with the man, and the young man became to him like one of his sons.
Judges 17:12 So Micah consecrated the Levite, and the young man became his priest and lived in the house of Micah.
Judges 17:13 Then Micah said, “Now I know that the LORD will prosper me, seeing I have a Levite as a priest.”

The book of Judges does not say that this was God’s way of ordaining that every home should have a “priest of the home”, but rather noting that there was wickedness and idolatry in the land, Judges 17:6 says “In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.”

So contrary to the tradition promoted by CBMW, there is no instance of a “priest in the home” arrangement set up by God and only one example in the entire bible of such an arrangement and it was set up by an idolator named Micah.

According to Lepine, the husband’s priestly duties in the home start when the spiritual responsibility for a young woman is passed from her father to her husband and these priestly duties are a “necessary function” of being called a husband.

Where are the scriptures for this spiritual role passed from father to husband? Where does it say that a husband must take on a priestly duty for his wife? I would respectfully say that this is a tradition that may sound Christian, but it isn’t biblical. I would also respectfully say that this tradition can be harmful in several ways. Let me explain as I go through Bob Lepine’s explanation of what the husband as priest in the home is responsible for.

Lepine says that the man is to “assume responsibility to oversee the spiritual condition of his wife.” The husband is responsible as a priest and prophet of God to hear from God and then as a “bearer of the word of God” pass these words on to his wife. He must be the resident theologian because it is his responsibility to teach the Bible to his wife. The husband, Lepine says, should tremble at this assignment because they should recall that false prophets in the Old Testament were stoned. With all of these responsibilities, a husband must “determine for his wife and his family what is right and true.”

The first harm that comes as a result of the view that makes the husband fully responsible to hear from God on behalf of his wife, is that this is a heavy burden forced on the man which is not found in scripture. Where does scripture say that the man is responsible for hearing what God has to say to the woman? What a heavy burden to think that one may be severely punished by God (think about the picture that Lepine gives of stoning) if they fail to be a correct “bearer of the word of God” to his wife! This burden is not one that God has laid on the shoulders of the husband.

This tradition has also been responsible for many men concluding that God does not speak to women directly but only through the man. No wonder so many men feel a spiritual superiority to women. There may also be a temptation to a spirit of pride with the man thinking that he has been set up as a type of intermediary between God and his wife. While Mr. Lepine states that “there is no intermediary between man and God except for the man Christ Jesus” his continual emphases that the man’s responsibility as “one who speaks for God” to his wife in essence makes the wife a needy spiritual person who must have a prophet/priest speak to her on God’s behalf. How many women have been harmed thinking that they are not capable of hearing from God on their own? The greatest harm that I see from this is that women will not grow up in Christ as fully mature Christians, but will stay under the limits placed on them by the highest level of spirituality that their husband attains to.

A fully mature Christian will not be dependent on another person’s hearing from God, but will hear God’s voice for herself. When we keep a woman dependent on the spirituality of her husband, we are treating her as a dependent child all her life. Her sons may grow up and be spiritually mature, but somehow she is treated as one who cannot be depended on to hear from God on her own. One of the most harmful “fruits” of this faulty tradition follows with Bob Lepine’s advice to the husband regarding his wife’s sins.

Mr. Lepine says the husband has been given God’s call to be the one who confronts his wife’s sin and the one who calls her to repentance even if it rocks “the domestic boat” and even if it incurs his wife’s wrath. Pointing out his wife’s sin may seem harsh and judgmental, but Lepine assures husbands it is not unloving and is a necessary part of the priest/prophet function of the husband. Lepine says that the husband must not “fail to confront his wife’s sin because he has a soft view of what it means to love her.” As a priest/prophet the husband “will not think it loving to ignore or overlook our wives’ ongoing patterns of sinful behavior.” Instead he suggests that one of the keys to a happy marriage is confronting sin in your mate and he quotes Proverbs 27:6 “the wounds of a friend are faithful”. Ultimately he suggests that even if this does not produce happiness in marriage, that happiness in marriage should take a back seat to the “higher calling” of a husband and that is making sure that the wife is conformed to Christ’s likeness. Lepine does concede that many men struggle with their priestly duty of representing God to their wives because they are afraid “we’ll be exposed for what we don’t know, or for the shallowness of our own spirituality, or that we’ll be convicted of hypocrisy by a wife who knows too well that we don’t always practice what we’re preaching.”

Is this what scripture teaches? What Mr. Lepine is suggesting here the husband taking the place of the Holy Spirit and the confrontation that he says is a “higher calling” is nothing less than emotional abuse. Scripture does not tell husbands to “confront his wife’s sin” but to be gentle, loving and patient. Paul tells us in Colossians:

Colossians 3:19 (ISV) Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.

Peter tells us that love “covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8) and neither Peter nor Paul tell husbands that it is their duty to be confronting their wives over their sin. Instead Paul tells men to love and cherish their wives as they do their own body.

Ephians 5:28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;
Ephians 5:29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,

And James tell us that mercy and gentleness are wisdom from above:

James 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.

Instead of confrontation, Peter tells husbands to live with their wives in an understanding way and nowhere does he say that husbands are to be responsible for confronting their wife’s sin. Instead Peter says that if a husband does not treat his wife in an understanding way that his own spiritual life may be jeopardized.

1 Peter 3:7 You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

Peter goes on to encourage husbands as well as all others to be harmonious, kindhearted and sympathetic:

1 Peter 3:8 To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit;
1 Peter 3:9 not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.
1 Peter 3:10 For, “THE ONE WHO DESIRES LIFE, TO LOVE AND SEE GOOD DAYS, MUST KEEP HIS TONGUE FROM EVIL AND HIS LIPS FROM SPEAKING DECEIT.
1 Peter 3:11 “HE MUST TURN AWAY FROM EVIL AND DO GOOD; HE MUST SEEK PEACE AND PURSUE IT.

Is a husband to be a spiritual overseer for his wife, keeping watch to continually expose her sin? Scripture gives no such instruction and those who follow CBMW’s advice through Bob Lepine may find unnecessary conflict and stress in their home. Instead of the man called to be “the priest of the home”, the scripture is clear that he is called to something far different. The husband is called to give of himself for his wife and be the one who joins himself to her.

Ephesians 5:31 FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.

It is the husband’s responsibility to give himself up for her and to come to her to join himself with her. The result of a biblical view of scripture will be harmony, gentleness and oneness. The result of the doctrine of the “husband as priest in the home” is a heavy burden on the husband that the scripture never lays on him. It also results in a childlike reliance of the woman on the man for her own spirituality.

For further reading, click here to read an earlier post on the husband as the priest in the home.  Or click here to go to part three of this series.

Jesus our example of a godly husband

Jesus our example of a godly husband

What is the godly way for a husband to treat his wife? Should he take authority over her and make decisions for her by going against her will? Many complementarians think that this is what the Bible tells the man to do and so we ask, what would Jesus do?

We know that Jesus is called the bridegroom of the church so we can learn from the way that Jesus acted towards his bride while he was here on earth. Let’s have a close look at the topic of decision making. Just before Jesus was to die, Jesus was with his disciples and he knew that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He was going back to God.

John 13:4 (NET) he got up from the meal, removed his outer clothes, took a towel and tied it around himself.

John 13:5 He poured water into the washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel he had wrapped around himself.

John 13:6 Then he came to Simon Peter. Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

John 13:7 Jesus replied, “You do not understand what I am doing now, but you will understand after these things.”

John 13:8 Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet!” Jesus replied, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.”

John 13:9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head!”

John 13:10 Jesus replied, “The one who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean…”

Notice in this passage that not only did Jesus take the position of a servant, but he did not force himself on the disciples to make their decision for them. Peter balked at having his feet washed and Jesus did not take authority over Peter. Instead, Jesus explained to him that it was necessary to allow Jesus to do this act of service in order to have a share with him. It was then that Peter made the decision to allow Jesus to do his work and to serve him.

So how does this illustrate how the bridegroom should treat his bride? It shows that although Jesus could have taken authority over the disciples, he did not do that. He allowed them to submit to his service. For the disciples submission was allowing the bridegroom to serve the bride and to give himself for his own body. There was no forced submission and the servant-hood of Jesus was not for the benefit of the groom, but for the benefit of the bride.

Why is this an example of God’s way? It is because if the bridegroom takes authority over his bride he violates her personhood. The submission that Jesus gave to the Father while he was here on the earth was an act of power not of weakness. It was an act of his own will not an act of one who had taken authority over him. Submission can be a godly example of power under control and it is the means to allow another person to serve you. Jesus does not violate our will but he woos us so that we will submit to his tender service. Taking authority over a person is forced submission and it is never advocated in the scriptures.

Any thoughts about why the husband is never granted the right to take authority over his wife?

Catching up

Catching up

Well part one of the relocation of our ministry and the move of our household has occurred and we have a two week break before we go into phase two of the move.

Our move

This week I am going to try to catch up on the comments and questions that I need to respond to on this blog and I will try to write a few new posts as time allows.

While I was away, I gave a great deal of thought to the importance of how we view the husband as head and wife as body (one flesh union) because I can see that our understanding of the husband and wife relationship greatly influences how we view the issue of women in ministry. I have been seriously considering doing a second DVD series on men and women in marriage and how it relates to women’s ministry in the church. I would like to incorporate both biblical teaching as well as interview clips of those who have struggled through this issue in their own marriage and in their church ministry and have made it work.

If anyone has questions that they would like to see a series like this answer or suggestions for the series, I welcome any feedback that you have.

What women really want

What women really want

In Genesis chapter 3 God speaks to Eve about her future. Unfortunately God’s words have been interpreted by male expositors in a way that makes God out to be a false prophet. In Genesis 3:16 in the NASB, God said “In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband

After the fall, God speaks about the future. In the quote above, God says “you will”. This is a prophetic utterance about the future and about the desire that Eve will have for her husband. What is this desire? In the Hebrew the word desire means a stretching out for – a longing for. The Complete WordStudy Dictionary describes this as the strong feelings of desire one had for another, but it wasnt always a healthy one. So is the “desire” of Genesis 3:16 a healthy desire or not? The word translated as “desire” is only found three times in the Old Testament.

In Song of Solomon 7:10 it says “I am my beloved’s, And his desire is for me.” This desire is a very healthy desire of a husband toward his wife. This desire is between a man and a woman.

In Genesis 4:7 it says “And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” This desire is a figurative desire of sin wanting to control a person.

So which kind of desire is God prophesying about in Genesis 3:16? Is it like the figurative desire of sin to control and to destroy? Or is it like the longing of one person for another? Almost every commentary you read, the male commentator says that God gave a judgment on the woman so that she will desire to rule over the man. But is this true? Can scripture be properly interpreted that way? First of all the fact that the woman will desire her husband is not God’s judgment against her. It is a prophecy that would be shortly fulfilled and the desire for the man is the natural longing of the woman in spite of the pain that she experiences from having his children and in spite of the domination that the man has over her. She will long for him in spite of all the reasons for her to want to stay away from him.

In a recent bible study class the instructor brought up these verses and said that it was God’s judgment that women would desire to rule their husbands. When we broke up into groups for discussion, the first thing that the women said was “I have no desire to rule or control the man.” Every one of the women in our group said the same thing.

If we take the interpretation that the male interpreters have put onto this passage, then it puts God into dire straits because he has predicted something that on the whole simply is not true. Perhaps the male expositors should have taken the time to ask women what their desires are and then they would have known for sure the proper way to interpret this verse. So what do women really want?

Women want men to love them emotionally. Women long for their men to hold them and speak tenderly to them and to be treated as if they were the only woman on this planet. Yes women want sex too, but sex is an outworking of the emotional bond between man and woman. Women are not like men. Women do not use emotions to get sex. Women throughout the centuries have naturally used sex to get emotional love. So what is it that women want? Women want and desire emotional love. Women’s innate desire is not to rule men.

I have spoken to many women about this verse and most think the concept about them desiring to rule men is abhorrent. They can’t even conceive of it. Think about the women in all the third world countries. Do they desire to rule men? No. They dream about and long for freedom from being dominated and controlled. Women just want to be free to be themselves, they aren’t looking to rule the men, and above all they want to be loved.

So why have men chosen to believe that God said that the woman would desire to rule her husband? It is only because they are men who don’t know the internal nature of women.

Now think about it this way- if God’s intention was to punish women by making them want to rule their husbands, then why is it world-wide that women are not trying to rule their husbands? Why is it that the womanâ’s natural state is one of being easily controlled? It is because the woman’s natural tendency is to please the man and to want to do whatever will get emotional love from him. God’s words about her desire are not a curse on the woman, they are a prophetic statement concerning the innate longing that the woman will have.

And within a very short time, God’s prophetic words will come to life. Think about this – God kicks Adam out of the garden of Eden. He does not kick Eve out. Why is that? Because God knows that Adam in his rebellious state will desire to eat from the tree of life. Eve was deceived into eating the forbidden fruit – she did not eat because she was acting in a rebellious way. So God kicks out the rebellious one.

Genesis 3:23 and 24: therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.

God kicks out the rebellious Adam and he is forced out of the garden. So if God doesn’t kick Eve out, then why did she leave? It is so simple. God has already told us. He prophesied what was going to happen. Eve left because she desired her husband.

Husband as the Priest of the home?

Husband as the Priest of the home?

With the push towards defining biblical manhood and womanhood, often men are pressured into a leadership role where they feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities. Probably none more stressful than the title given to them as “Priest of the home”. But is this position biblical?

Nowhere in scripture is there to be a designated “priest of the hom”. In Judges chapters 17 & 18 Micah, an idol worshipper, consecrated his son as a priest in his home (Judges 17:5) and he also persuaded a Levite to be his personal priest (Judges 17:7-13). This “priest of the home” was involved with idol worship (Judges 18:4, 14-20) and he was not set up as a “priest in the home” by God.

A priest is one who represents the people to God and offers sacrifices to God. Our High Priest is Jesus himself and he is both a mediator between mankind and God and the one who offered the ultimate blood sacrifice for our sins. Since we have Jesus as our High Priest, is there any need for a single priest in the home representing the family to God? Let’s see what scripture says. 1 Peter 2:5, 9 says that we are all to be priests to God in order to offer up spiritual sacrifices.

1 Peter 2:5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 2:9 But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

By removing the wife from a joint priesthood with her husband and making only the husband responsible for seeking God’s will in all family decisions, those who espouse the unbiblical position of the man as the sole priest in the home, relegate the wife’s participation to a secondary and subordinate position in the home. This dismantles the woman’s equality as joint-heir with her husband and threatens to limit her spiritual growth.

The ultimate goal of every believer is to be conformed to the image of Christ and to grow into a mature “son” of God. All believers are called “sons” of God because all believers are fellow heirs with Christ. Because we are fellow heirs with Christ, all believers are expected to grow to maturity by learning how to make spiritual decisions that conform to biblical principles. Paul said that in the next life we (men and women in the body of Christ) will judge angels (1 Corinthians 6:3) so it is so important that we all learn how to make mature spiritual decisions in this life.

By believing in the faulty doctrine that men are the sole priest in the home, many women have been taught that their husband is spiritually responsible for them. They think that if they love God and follow their husband’s spiritual lead that they will have no responsibility in the decisions made by their husbands. However in two of the best known examples of a husband not making wise spiritual decisions, Adam and Ananias (Acts 5:1), the wife was judged for her actions equally with the husband. There is no example of a husband called to account for his wife’s actions or a wife freed from spiritual responsibility because her husband made the original decision as in the case of Ananias. God did not ask Adam what Eve had done even though Adam was there with Eve during her temptation (Genesis 3:6) and Sapphira was held equally responsible for her acceptance of her husband’s plan to deceive the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:9).

As joint-heirs of Christ and partners in the holy, royal priesthood, husband and wife have equal responsibility to seek God’s will for the family and equal responsibility to work together to preform God’s will in the home.

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