The following is an exchange I had with several women, most of whom are Christians, who say they believe in the husband’s authority over the wife. This is not the case. As you will see, you will hear them repeating the same nonsense they’ve gleaned from Doug Wilson, Mary Kassian, Nancy Wolgemuth, and the list goes on. Read and take note- this is what Christian women in the Christian church really believe about submission. They will never debate it or argue like this in person, but behind a keyboard, this is where you get to see what they truly think.
All of their names were censored to preserve their anonymity.*
Woman #1: Shares an image wherein a pastor promotes replacing an occasional Sunday service with a symposium addressing domestic abuse.*
FullMetal Patriarch: If all this is is a men bad, women victims symposium, then that’s not the kind of thing the church needs. It’s just going to be another event demonizing husbands and fathers for the human scum they are. Another warning to men not to impose their authority over their wives. Because that’s abusive, supposedly.
Woman #2: Any assumption that only women can be victims is sexist. We absolutely need all resources and education to be inclusive.
FMP: But who is going to vet these advocates or specialists to ensure they’re not going to tear down the authority of husbands and fathers when teaching on this subject? Nobody will, because Christians believe that that authority is inherently evil and must be torn down. Even though it’s biblical.
Woman #1: I know plenty of Christians who believe in biblical authority. I think the main difference is application. Is the authority being applied in love and a desire to build others up and keep them on the right path or is it being abused by someone on a power trip? A lot of people, men and women who are in an abusive situation are at their wits end by the time they seek this kind of resource. Any wise counselor or organization will of course vet their counselors.
FMP: Except that this vetting isn’t so easily done. Anyone can pay lip service to authority, but that’s not the same thing as holding to that and filtering out what counsel you will offer to a suffering marriage. For one, let’s say the husband is in the habit of quoting the Bible and demanding his wife submit to him when she tries to do things her own way. Many Christians will say that’s abusive, and they’re all wrong to do so. Most Christians will say a wife should only respect and obey her husband when he’s being nice, but not when he is sinning. They’re wrong about that too. Those sorts of Christians ought not to be brought in to adjudicate over difficult marriage situations. The first thing they’ll do is tell the wife they’re going to take their husband down in some intervention, because the last thing they want to be accused of is telling an “abused” wife to say in an abusive situation.
Woman #1: The godly men I know who lead their homes don’t have to “demand” anything. That sounds awful, neither spouse should be demanding things in order to get their way. That will never end in a solid happy home. The husband leads his home in love not law. The same way Christ leads us as believers and loves us through our faults and failings.
FMP: Which is why Christians just casually throw out the abuse label. A person in authority is in a perfect position to make demands, and Christians hate that. That means the husband is in charge, not the wife. We can’t have that, so let’s just call it “abusive”. Even though the Bible never teaches that.
*FullMetal Patriarch Gospel*
Jesus: you’re a good dude except you love money to much, go, sell what you have and give to the poor.
Rich young Ruler: Nah fam… I think I’ll keep my money.
*Morgan Freeman voice*
“So Jesus demanded him to submit and had 4 disciples grab different limbs until he said he would do what Jesus asked. Then Jesus spoke the people and said”
Jesus: this is how the Gospel of my Kingdom is spread, go and do likewise.
FMP: Jesus said in John 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. ” That’s a demand. If you don’t do what Christ says, you don’t love him, and you are not a Christian. This idea that it’s evil for husbands or God to make demands is not biblical.
Woman #4: demanding your wife’s obedience isn’t Biblical anyway.
Woman #4: early the use of the ‘if’ makes it a choice of the listener and to equate a husband to the authority of Christ would be highly sacrilegious
FMP: Except that if you don’t choose to love Christ, you get sent to hell. It’s not optional. And it’s the Bible that tells wives to obey their husbands just like Christians obey God. Ephesians 5:22-24: “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.”
Woman #4: It is optional, it just is clear that to live a sinful life means hell. Not the same thing at all. It is still a choice whether to obey God. Jesus explaining the path or salvation is not a demand, but a love explanation of the wages of sin and the way to life eternal. To equate the message of Christ as the exact same as whatever demand a man may require of his wife is nowhere in the bible and is your interpretation. A wife is to obey her husband, but he is not to demand her obedience, but to earn it by living a Christ like life and loving her as Christ loves the church and gave himself for it. That does not speak of demanding
FMP: Nothing you just said is biblical. There is no verse that says husbands are prohibited from demanding their wife’s obedience. If you’re going to say husbands can’t do that, you better have some Scripture to back it up.
FMP: Not to mention that what you wrote ignores the ultimatum God has given to man. You obey him, and if you don’t, you suffer in hell for eternity. That’s a demand, no matter how you slice it.
Woman #4: you have no verse that says a man may demand either. And since there is no verse to say either way, then it is open to the case by case situations that occur in marrige
Woman #4: it is not a demand, it is explanation. You live or you die, but he cannot force you to love or obey him.
FMP: That’s not true. If you’re in authority over someone, you’re entitled to tell them what to do. Parents, for example, don’t need a simplistic word-for-word sentence that says they can make demands of their children. That just comes with being in authority over them. Same with husbands. They have the right to make demands by default, not case by case, and certainly not before their wife has decided he has earned it. God has given that right to him.
Woman #4: Untrue, a parent relationship is not the same as a marriage relationship. They are helps to each other with the husband as leader, not dictator.
FMP: The point is that neither category of authority figures needs an explicit verse that authorizes them to make demands. Besides, Scripture doesn’t compare husbands to dictators. It compares husbands to God himself, who has far MORE authority than a dictator.
Woman #4: No, it says to obey your husband as to the Lord, not your husband like perfect and without question like God
FMP: Except it says submit to him because the husband is like God. Ephesians 5:23.
Woman #5: Submission is a choice to follow ones authority. If a man is living a life against the scriptures a women is not called by God to submit herself to ungodly acts. The fruit of the spirit and the virtues listed by Peter are clear how we as Christian’s are to live and women are not called to submit or be silent in the face of unbiblical behavior. If a man is rude, nasty, foolish with time money etc, demanding his wife commit sins, and not loving his wife as Christ loved the church he doesn’t get to demand his wife accept his behavior and acts. A truly Godly man who lives biblically will have no problem with a Godly women in the issue of submission.
Woman #4: Lol, that is only pointing out that the husband is an authority figure over a home as God is over the church, not saying that husbands are God-like. They do not and cannot have the same position as sinful men. It is establishing an institution, a structure or authority not attributing God-like expectations to a human man
FMP: Not the point. It’s talking about why the wife should submit to him, and the reason why is because he is the head like Christ is our head.
FMP: False. 1 Peter 3:1-2 “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.” You say wives aren’t called to submit to a sinful husband, but the Scripture says the exact opposite. Wives must submit, even to evil husbands.
Woman #4: but it is not saying that you must obey your husband as you obey Christ because a man is not Christ and may ask for a sinful thing. Unquestioning obedience belongs to God alone and not to men. Hence, God instructions to render to Caeser what is Caesar’s (earthly obedience) and the things of God unto God (Godly obedience)
Woman #5: That does not mean a wife has to submit to sinful behavior. God does not say “be kind, but if you husband says to be unkind to others better obey!”
FMP: But it does mean wives must submit even to an evil husband. This idea that a wife doesn’t have to submit because he hasn’t earned it, or he isn’t being loving, or that there’s no simplistic word-for-word verse telling him he can make demands is all extra-biblical nonsense.
Woman #5: It’s not a “if he hasn’t earned it” a unsaved husband is capable of asking perfect biblical things in a marriage. But if he asked his wife to behave in an unbiblical sinful way she is not obligated to follow that in Gods eyes.
FMP: Ephesians 5:22-24 literally says to submit to your husbands as to the Lord. You just said the opposite, and that’s been the problem all along. The Bible says one thing, but you say the opposite. And besides, it’s not sinful for a husband to demand his wife’s obedience, so that’s irrelevant.
Woman #5: If an unsaved husband tells his wife to steal, lie, not go to church, not instruct her children, not care for the sick etc that would be wrong in the sight of God and she doesn’t have to submit
FMP: It is absolutely biblical to demand your wife’s obedience, so that point is irrelevant.
Woman #5: As to the Lord! I obey God first and my husband second. If my husband asked me to sin against God I would say no to my husband. Because the Bible doesn’t require me to submit to the point of sinful unbiblical behavior
Woman #5: God doesn’t call us to sin against him to make sinful men happy.
Woman #5: Do you really believe that a women if told by her husband, can break all commands in the Bible and sin against God so to obey her husband? No, that isn’t biblical and you’re putting a husband’s authority over God
FMP: This whole debate erupted over the prospect of husbands simply demanding their wives submit to them. That’s evil, supposedly, but now you’re all backing up and saying, well, a husband can’t command his wife to commit an evil act! No one said he could. But he can demand she do as he says. Ephesians 5:24 – wives must submit to their husbands in “everything”.
At this point the conversation was censored by Woman #1.