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.
Semigalitarianism, Undercover Enemy and “feminist air”
When does explaining God’s Word make one an enemy of the church? According to Mike Seaver, a woman who is allowed to teach the Word of God to men, even if she is under the authority of her husband and even if she has received authority from her pastor to teach the Bible (and assuming her pastor is monitoring her teaching), is like a drunken adulterer ministering to God’s people. [Mike Seaver has written a blog post at CBMW identifying the issue of women teaching the bible to men as the undercover enemy of the church. Mike is a pastor at CrossWay Community Church in Charlotte, North Carolina and regularly posts at Role Callingsee his original article here.]
According to Seaver the church has been breathing “feminist air” and this has caused many churches to become “semigalitarian”. [According to Seaver, semigalitarianism is defined as those people (both men and women) who say that a woman should not be allowed to preach in a church on her own authority, but if she claims to be under the authority of her senior pastor (who is a man) and under the authority of her husband (who is obviously a man) then it is okay for her to teach men in the church.] But while Seaver is complaining of “feminist air”, he has unwittingly become infected with a “disease” that allows Christians to see passages of scripture as “clear” (1 Timothy 2:12-13) instead of as a complex passage in its complete context (1 Timothy 2:11-15).
The attitude of identifying godly women as enemies of the church is clearly an aggressive stand equating a woman explaining the meaning of the scriptures with a drunken adulterer. It reminds me of the prejudiced view of the Orthodox Jews who believe that only men are allowed to touch the Torah.
Apparently touching the Bible by giving an explanation of the meaning of a passage now makes one an “undercover enemy.” How far has the church fallen that some feel free to attack our sisters in Christ identifying them as enemies? Notice that Seaver says nothing about whether the woman’s teaching is correct or not. He is lumping true Bible teaching in with error because it is the vessel which is the enemy, not the words that she speaks. It is the mere fact that she would touch the Word of God in public that makes her an enemy. This is the same tradition of the Pharisees who added a restriction on the teaching of God’s Word. …
Recently, I received an email from a woman who purchased my 4 DVD set “Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free?” and then wrote me about the impact that the DVDs had on her. I was so touched by her testimony that I asked permission to share her story with the world. I have removed her name as she requested anonymity because of her situation. I hope that you will be encouraged and touched as I was when I read her story.
I’m not sure if you are the one I should write to, but I wanted to let someone know that I watched the DVDs “Women in the Ministry” twice and my reactions to it.
For three days I was an emotional wreck. I got angry, I cried, I’d stopped watching it and walked around the house talking to myself. I fell to my knees and told God I didn’t understand. I even was asked by others if I was feeling ok or if I was sick. It tore me up inside. Please, let me explain. …
For those of you who are experiencing church abuse or know of someone who has experienced abuse from a church leader, Dr. Barb Orlowski has her book online at churchexiters.com for only a little while longer. Barb is now working on the final stages of publishing her dissertation and so anyone interested in her research and work on ministering restoration to those who have been hurt by churches, or abusive and authoritarian leaders may want to view her material now before her book is removed from the internet.