The DWC Files #1: Oscar’s Terrifying Questions

Websites get remodeled all the time. Content is often lost in the transition, and that can include comments by the users. For the sake of preserving proof that there are Christians out there fighting against feminism and complimentarianism within the church, I’ve decided to collect some of the comments from Doug Wilson’s blog articles. Douglas Wilson’s comment sections used to be more accessible and less moderated only a couple of years back, and it used to be much easier for critics to scrutinize his material.

Oscar is one user who had the persistence to ask Wilson and his fans for a clear delineation between a husband’s authority and responsibility in marriage, and which of the two does he have? Does he have the power to enforce his authority upon his wife, and if so, how? He asked these questions repeatedly, quoted Wilson thoroughly, and never got a response back from him or his fans. You will see just how insufferable they could be, but Oscar didn’t let up at all. He kept up asking the scary, uncomfortable questions that no one, including the bold, brash, bite-back Wilson himself, has the guts to answer. No doubt his persistence disturbed the minds of the people there, so God-willing, they started to see their incoherent views for what they were. If you want to find these comments, they’re still on Wilson’s website here. (Archive Here.) I included more comments besides his when I found them relevant to the discussion. This is a VERY long post, but I hope you enjoy it.



Oscar #216964

Authority and responsibility are two different things that are supposed to go together.

au·thor·i·ty əˈTHôrədē/Submit
noun
1. the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience.

2. a person or organization having power or control in a particular, typically political or administrative, sphere.

Note that authority INCLUDES enforcement. A person who cannot enforce obedience has zero authority.

re·spon·si·bil·i·ty rəˌspänsəˈbilədē/Submit
noun
1. the state or fact of having a duty to deal with something or of having control over someone.

2. the state or fact of being accountable or to blame for something.

3. the opportunity or ability to act independently and make decisions without authorization.

If you give a leader (a married father) responsibility for (a duty do deal with) a group of people (wife and children), but deny him the authority to enforce obedience to his orders and decisions, you set him up for failure.

That’s the situation in which Christian husbands find themselves today: all the responsibility, zero authority. Set up for failure.

bethyada #216975

Oscar, while I strongly agree that authority and responsibility (accountability) are intimately connected, and that authority implies the ability to to enforce; the question still remains what methods is one allowed to use to enforce. The point is that the Christian husband has techniques he is allowed to use and techniques he is not allowed to use. No authority is absolute.

Oscar #216994

Only God’s authority is absolute. As for the power to enforce, I’ve asked that exact question here multiple times, and never received an answer.

So, do husbands have the power to enforce the rules when their wives refuse to follow, or don’t they? If they don’t, they have no authority. If they do, then, how?

Farinata #216981

Not so: a man may have moral authority that’s far more ambiguous – say, in the case of grown children. Or there is a kind of social authority that regulates norms in a general way without necessarily enforcing them in any particular case. It all depends what you mean. Of course enforcement at some level is necessary, but it doesn’t always look like direct compulsion.

Oscar #216995

Neither adult children, nor “social authority” are the subject here. The subject here is a husband’s authority over his wife. Does it exist? Does a husband have the power to enforce the rules when his wife refuses to follow, or doesn’t he? Because if he doesn’t, then he doesn’t have authority. If he does, then how?

Farinata #217020

My point is that you’re being too binary in your thinking – as if “authority” were an all-or-nothing proposition. Husbands have real authority, but not ultimate authority. That’s not a contradiction.

I don’t have an exhaustive list of acceptable practices, but my general view is that a husband may enforce his will on his wife, but with the caveat that direct compulsion is only appropriate in some sort of crisis situation. As the ancients would say, a man should rule his wife politically, not despotically.

Oscar #217021

“My point is that you’re being too binary in your thinking…”

Or, maybe those who give only lip service to a husband’s authority prefer that it remains nebulous, vague, undefined and undefinable, that way it’s impossible to know when a wife has violated her husband’s authority. Enforcement is – by definition – part of authority. “Authority” that is either unenforced or unenforceable, is not authority at all. It’s something else entirely.

“… my general view is that a husband may enforce his will on his wife… ”

How?

Farinata #217031

The how is situational and contextually driven. I am fortunate in having a very submissive wife, to whom I need only make my wishes known in order to have her at least try to accomplish them. It is hard to know what I would do in a completely different situation with a completely different life history than I have in fact enjoyed. But if she did not listen to me, I think I would have no trouble being pushy about it. I would raise my voice if it were necessary. I would also be willing to take unilateral action – say, by cancelling an internet service because she spent too much time on Facebook. If such measures didn’t work I would engage the help of the elders and the church community, even up to the point of excommunication.

But I would also regard the necessity for such direct action on my part as evidence of a prior failure of leadership. Good husbandry, in my view, means leading gently, drawing not on crude threats but on the reserve of credibility and respect that I hold in her eyes.
If my wife is openly hostile to me and refuses to respond to reasonable requests, then as the head of my home I have clearly not been managing things well. Of course it would be possible that I am blameless and she is just a crazy psycho, but in most human affairs that is not the way to bet.

Jill Smith #216969

I think it’s possible to read far too much into the “he’s a guest” idea. I see it as a caution to behave considerately, especially in those areas for which the wife bears major responsibility. Don’t increase her workload unnecessarily. Put water in the oatmeal bowl before you dump it in the sink. Don’t eat the cookies that are marked “PTA Bake Sale”. Don’t track muddy boots over a white carpet. Don’t frustrate her efforts at maintaining an attractive home and then blame her because things don’t always look nice.

Oscar #216996

Being a considerate head of household and being a guest are two completely different things. They are not related. The head of household has BOTH responsibility for AND authority over the household, otherwise he’s not the head. The guest has neither. Otherwise, he’s not a guest.

Oscar #216965

Pastor Doug,

You wrote:

“Those under authority owe certain things to their liege-lord, and the one in authority has the right to require it of them. But all the persons involved in this are equally bound in an organic, constitutional way. No one person is absolute” (How to Exasperate your Wife, p. 16)

and…

“The most important word in the marriage vows is ‘obey’” (How to Exasperate your Wife, p. 95)

If both those statements are true, then the husband has the right to require obedience from his wife. But you also wrote in your 21 Thesis on Submission in Marriage:

“The Bible does not teach husbands to enforce the requirement that was given to their wives. Since true submission is a matter of the heart, rendered by grace through faith, a husband does not have the capacity to make this happen.”

If that’s true, then a husband has the right to require obedience from his wife, but zero authority with which to enforce that requirement.

But you also wrote in Chapter 2 of Reforming Marriage that a husband is like a ship’s captain, and is therefore responsible for everything that happens or fails to happen in his home, just as a ship’s captain is responsible for everything that happens or fails to happen on his ship.

But a ship’s captain has BOTH the responsibility to lead his subordinates, AND the authority to enforce the rules when his subordinates refuse to follow the rules. But you wrote that a husband has no such authority over his wife.

But you also wrote in How to Exasperate Your Wife that:

“In a certain sense, a husband (as the head of his wife) is an honored and permanent guest, but he should learn to see himself as a guest. He wipes his feet at the door, he eats what is served to him, and he seeks to conform to the pattern established by her—as she in her turn seeks to honor him.”

A guest – honored or not – has zero responsibility OR authority over the home in which he’s a guest. Have you ever tried telling a ship’s captain – or any other military commander – that he’s a guest in the unit he commands?

Can you see why this is confusing when you put it all together?

So, which is it? Is a husband…

A) A ship’s captain, with BOTH the responsibility to lead his wife, AND the authority to enforce the rules when she refuses to follow? Or is a husband….

B) A figurehead, with the responsibility to lead his wife by example, but zero authority to enforce the rules when she refuses to follow? Or is a husband….

C) A guest in his own home, with zero responsibility AND zero authority over anything that happens in the home?

These are mutually exclusive categories. So, which is it?

lndighost #216970

A husband is not exactly like any of those things, which is why multiple analogies can be helpful.

In the same way we’re told that God is like a shepherd, but we understand that not in the sense that He is just looking after us until we can be killed and eaten. We’re told He is like a father and like a husband to His people, but we understand that this is not incestuous or creepy. We’re told He is like a potter, but we understand that in the context of all the other things we are told about Him. All these illustrations give us glimpses of God’s nature and relationship to us. None of them, of course, can do this perfectly, but combined they give us a good picture if we don’t stretch the analogy too far.

Oscar #216971

God can be all of those things, because none of those things are mutually exclusive. A captain, a figurehead and guest are mutually exclusive because their respective levels of responsibility and/or authority are mutually exclusive.

So, does a husband possess the corresponding authority to enforce the rules when his wife refuses to follow, or doesn’t he?

lndighost #216972

You don’t think being a husband and father in the same relationship is “mutually exclusive”? It is in my neighbourhood. But it works in scripture because the two analogies are considered separately and tell us different (and perfectly compatible) things about God. I put it to you that this is what Doug has been doing with his various comparisons of husbands to captains and guests. Hence the “In a certain sense” at the beginning of the quote about guests.

To your question, I’d say authority and responsibility are barely distinguishable in a marriage. If your wife won’t listen to you and disobeys everything you say, your authority has been violated and you cannot be held responsible for her actions.

adad0 #216987

“Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
12 The man said,
“The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

God made the rule.
The woman broke the rule.
The man broke the rule.

The man and the woman were to blame.

God took responsibility Himself, for their fault.

Oscar #217001

adad0,

You – unsurprisingly – left out a step. God cursed the man, the woman and the serpent, and expelled the man and the woman from the garden.

In other words, God used his authority to enforce the rules. Now, does a husband have authority to enforce the rules with a wife who refuses to follow, or doesn’t he? And if so, how?

adad0 #217015

O’, “blame” comes from the curse, so nothing is left out of my “short” version.
People are not God, so the authority of any person is limited, because people do not have the same authority.
Husbands have some authority, God has all authority, yet even the authority of God is not respected by some. How does God deal with those who don’t respect His authority?
It varies.

Oscar #217023

“… ‘blame’ comes from the curse, so nothing is left out of my ‘short’ version.”

False. The man blamed the woman, and the woman blamed the serpent before God issued the curse.

“Husbands have some authority… ”

What authority does a husband have? Does he have the power to enforce the rules with a wife who refuses to follow?

“How does God deal with those who don’t respect His authority?
It varies.”

What doesn’t vary is that God always has the power to enforce the rules. And so does every human authority – government, employers, parents, the Church – except husbands, curiously.

adad0 #217037

O’, this issue is resolved very simply:

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

We are all under authority. Most of us have some authority.

We should exercise what authority we have, in a way that we ourselves would know was ultimately good for ourselves.

JohnM #217016

Oscar, I get your point, but I think you are confusing authority with power. Nothing can take away either from God’s authority or His power. A man, on the other hand, can rightfully be said to have authority even if he doesn’t have the power to enforce it, just as a man can wield power without rightful authority. A mugger may have the power to force people to hand over their money, though he has no authority over them. The police can call on the mugger to halt in the name of the law, with the rightful, though perhaps not realistic, expectation that he will, even if they cannot catch him.

Oscar #217024

JohnM,

No, I’m not “confusing authority with power”. Here’s the definition of authority.

au·thor·i·ty əˈTHôrədē noun
1. the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience.
2. a person or organization having power or control in a particular, typically political or administrative, sphere.

Authority – by definition – includes the power to “enforce obedience”. A person who can’t enforce obedience – by definition – has no authority. Maybe you don’t like the definition of the word, but I didn’t make it up.

So, does a husband have the power to enforce obedience over his wife? If not, then he has no authority. If so, then how?

JohnM #217059

The power or right… The “or” being not an addition by me, but part of the definition you provided. Whenever you see A or B is the answer then A is not required for the definition, given B.

Does the Bible tell us a husband IS the head of his wife? Yes.
Can human disobedience nullify the word of God? No.

Oscar #216999

“You don’t think being a husband and father in the same relationship is ‘mutually exclusive’?”

I don’t know if you’re deliberately evading my point, or missing it accidentally, but for now I’ll assume you’re missing it accidentally. So here goes again.

1. A captain has BOTH responsibility for, AND authority over
2. A figurehead has responsibility for but, NOT authority over
3. A guest has NEITHER responsibility for, NOR authority over

Therefore, in matters of responsibility and authority, the three exclude each other.

1. A father has BOTH responsibility for, AND authority over
2 A husband has BOTH responsibility for, AND authority over (at least Biblically)

Therefore, in matters of responsibility and authority, the two do NOT exclude each other. See the difference now?

By the way, a shepherd also has BOTH responsibility for, AND authority over. See how that works?

“To your question… ”

You didn’t answer my question. Does a husband possess the corresponding authority to enforce the rules when his wife refuses to follow, or doesn’t he? Yes, or no?

lndighost #217002

I can’t answer that until you answer the question that has been put to you: what do you mean by ‘enforce’?

Oscar #217007

By “enforce” I mean the definition of the word.

en·force inˈfôrs,enˈfôrs/Submit
verb
compel observance of or compliance with (a law, rule, or obligation).

Why do I need to search word definitions for you? Can’t you do it on your own?

lndighost #217010

I’ve now read your replies to Jill and understand your angle. I don’t think I can answer to your satisfaction. Because the obligation of a wife is submission, and submission is an attitude of the heart, it is not possible for anyone else to enforce it. A contentious and horrible wife will face judgement unless she repents. Her husband cannot bring her to repentance either. What he can do is pray for her salvation and for himself, that he would be strong and not be tempted to sin against her either by weakness or with malice.

Oscar #217030

Indighost,

“… submission is an attitude of the heart… ”

No, it isn’t. That’s a lie the Church needs to drop. Let’s look at the definition of “submission”.

sub·mis·sion səbˈmiSHən/ noun
1. the action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person.

Note the words: “action”, “accepting (verb)”, “yielding (verb)”. Submission is an action, NOT an attitude. That’s why you can word it as a verb.

sub·mit səbˈmit/ verb
1. accept or yield to a superior force or to the authority or will of another person.

The false doctrine that submission is an attitude, instead of an action, leads to the false doctrine that wives need only submit to their husbands when they FEEL like it, which leads to the marriage mess we have now.

What you’re telling me is that husbands have no authority over their wives, because they have no power to “enforce obedience”, as the definition of authority states.

au·thor·i·ty əˈTHôrədē/noun
1. the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience.
2. a person or organization having power or control in a particular, typically political or administrative, sphere.

You may not like the definitions of those words, but I didn’t make them up.

lndighost #217069

There’s nothing uncomfortable to me about those definitions. The definition of submit does describe an attitude. Accepting is first of all a mental action. It will, as you say, be manifested in outward action.

When a woman gets married, she swears an oath before God and other witnesses that she will honour and obey her husband. She publicly places herself under his authority. That vow, and the teaching of Scripture, is what binds her and should ‘enforce’ her obedience. If she is so willful and callous as to break an oath she made before Almighty God, and to disregard the plain teaching of Scripture, she is far gone indeed. As Katecho has said, there is no easy fix.

I think prevention is better than cure. Let’s train up young people in what to look for in a godly spouse. You mentioned that you are a military man and that many of your acquaintance are in marriages made miserable by their wives. I can’t help but wonder if these friends of yours are also in the armed forces. It seems to me that a military marriage has more difficulties than most, what with long and frequent absences, high incidences of PTSD and the uncertainty, stress and loneliness that come with the lifestyle. Do you think young men thinking of joining up should be encouraged to remain single while they serve their country in this way? How can a man lead his wife if he spends most of his time on deployment while she’s at home with the kids in Wyoming?

Micael Gustavsson #217012

I think you totally miss the feudal backdrop of the symbolism pastor Wilson uses. A king visiting a vassal like a duke or earl is both a guest and a lord in the medieval system. Whether this is a good or bad symbol for husband and wife is another question.

Oscar #217029

Michael Gustavsson,

I’m not a guest in my house. And I wasn’t a guest in my TOC when I was a company commander. And when I was the Battalion Battle Captain in charge of the Battalion TOC, I never would’ve dreamed of telling my Battalion Commander that he was a guest in his TOC. And if I had been that galactically stupid, I wouldn’t have lasted long.

Katecho #217079

Oscar wrote:

And when I was the Battalion Battle Captain in charge of the Battalion TOC, I never would’ve dreamed of telling my Battalion Commander that he was a guest in his TOC.

If Oscar invited the President to be a guest at his house, would he insist that the President must resign his office first? If not, why not? If the President has any type of civil authority over Oscar’s U.S. residence, does that automatically preclude the President from ever being invited as a guest there? I don’t see how that follows.

Similarly, no one here disputes that a husband has authority over his wife’s body, sexually, but does that mean that his wife can never invite him to enter her body as a guest there? Must he always force himself on her in order to maintain Oscar’s view of authority? I’m just not seeing how authority is mutually exclusive from being a guest.

By the way, no one here, least of all Wilson, is saying that a husband is a temporary guest, or that a husband should only see himself as a guest in the home. Wilson was very careful to qualify his use of that analogy by saying, “in a certain sense”. Wilson also explicitly referred to the husband as a “permanent guest”, in spite of the reading comprehension issues on the Dalrock blog.

Katecho #217056

Oscar wrote:

You didn’t answer my question. Does a husband possess the corresponding authority to enforce the rules when his wife refuses to follow, or doesn’t he? Yes, or no?

All de facto authority comes from God. Since God has placed the husband as head in the marriage, the husband has primary responsibility (not dismissing the wife’s responsibilities in the marriage), and is given authority in accordance with that responsibility. This is the case even if the practical exercise of that authority is made extremely difficult by the surrounding culture. Scripture maintains its full authority over kings even when they ignore it, for example.

It seems that Oscar is complaining that a man can’t simply bark commands at his wife like the captain of a ship, and so he must not have any real authority. Perhaps this is his only understanding of what authority looks like. However, I would point out that a rightful king still possesses his rightful authority even if he has been usurped by another. His authority still exists, even if he can’t practice it freely. Now some kings may look at this situation and wash their hands of any responsibility for the kingdom as a result, but other kings continue to try to find ways to subvert the usurper, and ways to insert their authority in order to regain their recognition. Scripture doesn’t give a paint-by-number on how to do this (and neither does Wilson), but it does lay out principles and boundaries, and it does distinguish faithfulness from abdication, while the kingdom remains.

So how can husbands practice their authority in the present usurped and sinful culture? If they have any doubts about their wife’s commitment to Scripture, they may have to walk on egg shells every day. Short of moving to a different culture, this is a present reality. Wishing it away and whining about it, won’t change it, and it won’t change what has happened to husbands who didn’t understand the times and were careless in their practice of authority.

Wilson is trying to help husbands and wives navigate the times, when one or the other spouse is struggling in sin. There is no magic program for winning back a wayward spouse, but Wilson seems to be getting a lot of arrows in the back for not simply advising husbands to start barking orders like a sea captain, cuz “Authoritay!”

Jill Smith #216976

Oscar, they’re not always mutually exclusive. I am fond of reading nautical novels and watching war movies in which the British navy sinks the Bismarck, so let’s use that analogy. The captain is indeed the commander, and his authority, lawfully exercised, is absolute. To many of the ship’s company, he is a remote figurehead whose will is made known through channels of authority. In actual practice, most of his authority is delegated. In domestic terms, when mom instructs the children to do their homework and clean their rooms, she is using the authority of her position, knowing that his underlies hers. Going back to the ship. when the exec officer says “Sir, not that way or we’re going to run aground,” he is using delegated authority to properly challenge the captain’s decision. Just as the most dutiful wife might tell her husband privately, “I noticed a calculation error in our tax return.”

When the captain enters the junior wardroom, I’ve noticed he comes in like a guest, knowing that he is interrupting their recreation. Similarly, the considerate husband, seeing his wife’s book club in the living room, doesn’t come in, light a cigarette, and put on the hockey game. Even though, as lord of the household, he could.

Oscar #217000

Jill,

I’m a 23+ year military man, both enlisted and officer, who’s commanded men in combat in both Iraq and Afghanistan. You watched movies. You don’t know what you’re talking about. You have addressed exactly zero of the points I made, and added straw man arguments to boot.

Jill Smith #217003

Oh dear, Oscar, and I thought I had learned so much from The Caine Mutiny! I defer to your superior knowledge!

adad0 #217066

Quick Jilly!

Binge watch all the episodes of “Gomer Pyle”! ????

Extra credit for “Mchale’s Navy”!????

Jill Smith #216998

He does not have the authority to use physical force to compel her obedience. He may not starve her, hit her, lock her up, or put her in fear of her safety. Even if a church advocated such measures, they are all illegal. I am not sure what kind of enforcement you have in mind that would neither violate the law nor cause her to grab the children and run. Nor am I clear what you are envisioning as a wife’s refusal to follow: are we talking a dirty house or staying out drinking all night with the girls? In any event, I think you are correct that there is no effective. legal means by which a husband can force obedience from a wife who is determined not to give it.

But I think you are perhaps overlooking the most important source of authority that he possesses: her love for him, her desire to please him. her concern for his good opinion, her pleasure in his company, her respect for his good sense and judgment, and her willingness to honor the commitment she made in her wedding vows. If those are all gone, there may yet be her desire to stay married. If she is indifferent to his wishes, cares nothing for his opinion, takes pleasure in his unhappiness, and would rather face single parenthood rather than stay with him, the marriage is basically over. But I would not underestimate the power of appealing to her love, her sense of fair play, and her honor. In my working career, I was always dimly aware that I could be fired if I resisted the boss’s authority. But that is not what kept me working late, and going above and beyond. It was valuing my boss’s good opinion of me, and wanting to live up to it. It was honoring my personal commitment to do my best for him.

Oscar #217005

JIll,

With all due respect – and I should have added before that I do respect you as an older sister in Christ (and I apologize for not doing so earlier) – you’re still not addressing the actual problem, or the point I’m making. Frankly my point is clear, but you insist on making ridiculous straw man arguments about physical violence.

You wrote: “Nor am I clear what you are envisioning as a wife’s refusal to follow”.

We’ve been over this before. I wrote you a whole list of appalling behaviors I’ve witnessed by “Christian” wives, including one pastor’s wife. You had no answers for me then, and you have no answers for me now. No one ever does. That’s exactly the problem. No one (including Pastor Doug) ever has any answers for men who every evening dread going home to their contentious, rebellious, disrespectful, disobedient wives. I assure you, there are a lot of them. I’ve personally known dozens of them.

Why do you think the Proverbs contain so many warnings about contentious women?

“If she is indifferent to his wishes, cares nothing for his opinion, takes pleasure in his unhappiness… ”

If you really have no idea how many “Christian” women this describes, then you’re walking around with rose colored glasses. As for “appealing to her love, her sense of fair play, and her honor”…. you gotta be freakin’ kidding me. A woman like that has no love, sense or fair play or honor.

You’re one of the “aged women” of the Church who’s supposed to “teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

If you refuse to see the magnitude of the problem, how can you be part of the solution?

Finally….

“I am not sure what kind of enforcement you have in mind… ”

I don’t have any enforcement in mind, that’s why I’m here asking. If I knew the answer to the question, I wouldn’t need to ask it. But as far as I can tell, no enforcement exists. That’s exactly the problem. Husbands today have all the responsibility of a head of household with exactly zero of the authority. The church (including Pastor Doug) sets husbands up for failure, then blames them for the failure, even though women file 70% of divorces.

Jill Smith #217011

Hi Oscar, no offense taken, and I’m sorry to seem to be trivializing a very real problem. I think I have been extremely lucky to have lived around very pleasant people. I believe you that there are women like that out there. I have been fortunate not to have had many dealings with them. Most of my friends’ marriages have muddled along with neither spouse being anywhere close to perfect but nonetheless determined to love and care for each other even through unhappy times. I think this can only happen when there is real care taken to get to know someone’s character before anyone suggests marriage. Because it is tragic to learn only after the wedding that your wife does not care about doing her duty or keeping her commitments unless she happens to feel like it. Just as it is tragic for a woman to discover, after the wedding, that her husband showed his good side only while he was courting her.

I mentioned physical violence, not because I thought you were endorsing it, but because it crops up from time to time on websites I read. There is one that explicitly advises the use of corporal punishment to subdue an unsubmissive wife. Failing that, cut up her credit cards, take away her hobbies, and refuse to let her see her friends. Clearly this type of advice could lead to nothing but trouble.

I think my point was that, when love and respect are irretrievably gone, there is no enforcement possible. A husband can warn that he is no longer willing to tolerate the status quo, but if she is indifferent to that warning, he either remains in misery in order not to lose his children or else he leaves. All the factors that kept a discontented wife in the marriage in the past–social disapproval, loss of a standard of living, consequences from her church, potential loss of the children–are no longer there.

But where a silly, sinful, and undutiful wife still loves her husband, I think it is possible for him to use that love to inspire better behavior. If my husband showed disappointment in me, I felt miserable. If I felt I had behaved badly, I felt awful. If I knew I had wounded his pride or hurt his feelings or shaken his faith in me, I couldn’t rest until I had repaired the damage. I think that a quiet show of displeasure, a visible withdrawal of companionship and affection, can be effective enforcement measures–as long as she knows why, and as long as she still cares enough to want to make things better.

Caspar Reyes #217027

That stuff about four key variables is a bunch of jazz intended to confuse the issue.

A misbehaving wife unhappy with her husband has the authority to
– lock him up (via a 911 call to the police);
– use physical discipline (hit him and make him fear for his safety because he lacks not only authority to enforce good behavior but permission to defend himself against bad (if he does she’ll call 911 and get him locked up);
– deprive him of his children, property, job, and life (restraining order);
– drag him before the elders who will censure him and subject him to church discipline;
– she can call the pastor to will get a crew of men to help her move all the stuff and the children from his house;
– Etc.

It’s easily demonstrated that 50% of domestic violence is initiated by a female, and that 70% of divorces are initiated by a female, and there’s no reason to think it’s outside the church only, because we’ve all seen it within. Don’t tell me that it’s because husbands are not being godly enough. It’s because wives have enforcement authority and are encouraged to use it. The things I’ve listed above are true, real, authority where the rubber meets the road, the exercise of which will get her 100% support from the law, the church, and society (i.e., facebook). This is so even if her authority is exercised in the favorite mode of the daughter of Eve: calling other men whom she respects to break the head of one she despises.

Women and pastors and elders, who hem and haw with mutual submission and doormats and woman-wheres-my-dinner caricatures, suddenly become all about hierarchies and real submission to real authority when it comes a husband’s time to submit to the elders based on a wife’s complaint, true or not.

Answer Oscar whether a husband has true authority in his house. No pie-in-the-sky. If not, say no. If so, answer what it is.

Farinata said above, “a man may have moral authority that’s far more ambiguous”. You mean where he exercises “authority” by the sheer weight of his personality or words or charisma? Good luck with that. Do you know what the exercise of that sort of authority is called these days (when it’s exercised by a man)? It’s called abuse, spiritual abuse, psychological abuse, or manipulative and controlling behavior. The church is gone the way of the world in this.

Farinata #217052

I was talking about authority that is real without being attached to an explicit enforcement mechanism, like that of a man and his grown children. I respect and love my father and don’t want him to be disappointed in me, so his advice weighs heavily. I don’t think that my feelings toward him mean that he is enforcing his authority. The thing is not a simple either/or.

I perceive this answer will be disappointing to you, but reality is complicated (and often messy due to sin) and sometimes doesn’t fit neatly into binary categories. There is authority given to husbands, but it is a limited authority. Likewise, there is an authority conceded to parents, but it is limited. No-one says of his wife or of his daughter “Let her hate, so long as she fears.” Like it or not, marriage is different than a court of law, a military base, a corporate hierarchy. Hostile, angry submission may be to some degree preferable to outright rebellion, but both are really bad scenarios.

Oscar #217035

Jill,

Thank you for the thoughtful response. I wanted to make it clear that, although you and I sometimes disagree, I respect you. Though I don’t know you, you strike me as an honorable Christian lady, and I in no way place you in the category of the women I’ve observed. Nor do I place all women in that category.

I’ve observed chronic wifely disobedience, disrespect and contentiousness far too often to ignore it. But the Church sure ignores it. On the rare occasion that the Church addresses the problem, they ALWAYS blame the husband.

The reason she’s a contentious harpy CAN’T be because she’s a sinner affected by Eve’s curse. Oh no. It HAS to be because her husband’s a Nabal, and she’s a poor, long-suffering Abigail finally “bringing things to a head” (never mind that Abigail actually did the opposite of that).

The fact is that husbands today have zero authority over disobedient, disrespectful, contentious wives. Zero. None. Worse, they get no help from anyone. Worse, the Church actually cuts husbands off at the knees, portraying every contentious wife as Abigail, and her husband as Nabal, thereby encouraging wives to rebel against their husbands.

The Church sets husbands up for failure, then blames them for the failure.

So, let’s just start being honest about that. Let’s tell every young man before he marries; “You’re being set up for failure. The Church will encourage your wife to rebel against you, deny you the authority to curb her rebellion, then blame you when she rebels. And if she divorces you and takes your children from you, that’ll be your fault too.”

How do you think that’ll turn out?

4 thoughts on “The DWC Files #1: Oscar’s Terrifying Questions

  1. Lexet Blog

    Good job preserving the comments.

    I don’t think Wilson’s crowd has any way of arguing in a logical manner (Wilson formally denies logic anyways- that’s the van til in him)

    His crowd has one definition for submission and authority when it comes to marriage. The husband’s role is to be a silent beggar, condemned to the fate others choose for him.

    That definition doesn’t exist if we are talking about a judge or king of Israel (or any OT king). (Who can exert actual force to effect their will)

    Wilson and co cant bring themselves to come out and admit that men ought to have authority in the home and over their marriage in the modern world. That’s to politically risky for them. It would require that they actually take a stand against the culture they live in.

    So they pretend one can have responsibility without authority.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  2. Sharkly

    Great Post!
    Oscar did a great job of trying to nail down these evasive liars.(Doug Wilson and his followers) Caspar Reyes also wrote the truth.
    In the end those cowardly false teachers have got nothing but LIES & EXCUSES™ and evasion, and strawmen. They hide behind the defenses of the bitches who do their fighting for them on their website.
    In fact they are both foolish and ignorant. Because men like Wilson may have redeemed wives who make their job workable, they are able to remain willfully ignorant of the unworkable situation of those of us whose wives refuse to obey both God and their husband, and use the lies and false teachings of goddess worshippers like Doug Wilson to excuse their evil behavior as being “Christian”. Doug Wilson and the other hirelings have created a culture completely inverted from God’s holy patriarchy, where husbands are figureheads who must serve their wives in everything as unto their lord, or else be thoroughly subjected to all the satanic destruction those cunt-worshippers can apply. Nobody should confuse those Satan-serving deceivers with the remnant of God’s redeemed.
    You do God’s work by separating out those goats and exposing their duplicity. Thank you for doing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. princeasbel Post author

      The response from Farinata to you was just as weak as everyone else’s to Oscar. How odd that devotees of a marriage expert like Doug Wilson could be caught so off balance by basic questions!

      Like

      Reply

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