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.   In NN’s email he sent me a link to his view on submission in marriage which he says is not to be mutual.  In the other email my son Ryan gave me his conclusions after a time of researching on his own the issue of authority and submission in marriage in order to present a biblical answer to his pastor.  I am going to refer to both views in this article for us to consider.

NN suggested that my blog readers might be interested in his views that he has recently posted on his blog. NN wrote to me about the time period since he last corresponded on my blog back in December 2009:

Since then I have meant to write up a brief logical clearly addressing the question of hierarchy in the instructions of the apostles on the marital relationship.  Unfortunately it took until now for me to actually find the time.  Nonetheless – I thought you might be interested (and possibly even your readership given the torrent of comments in that last discussion).

NN’s premise is that submission in marriage is not mutual but my son’s conclusion is the polar opposite.  First of all here is Ryan’s finding.  His article starts with the thought that the understanding of “source” for the Greek word for head (kephale) in 1 Corinthians 11 can also fit in with Ephesians 5:22-25 when you consider the context.  Ryan’s main concern in his research is whether submission is mutual or relegated to wives alone.

Ryan’s research:

I think source fits well with the description in Eph 5:22-25 also.  As I was studying this, I noticed that the NASB showed “submit” as in “Wives, submit…” in italics, which means it wasn’t in the original.  I looked at the NET (New English Translation) notes and they highlighted that 3 MSS (manuscripts) don’t have “submit” after wives in v22.  These MSS are earlier than the others and are significant manuscripts, so this is likely the original reading.  Knowing that Paul tends to write run-on sentences (not to mention there were no ‘periods’ in the Greek), I wondered if the sentence might have been intended as an extension to v21.  Check this out:

“…(v21) and be subject to one another in awe of Christ, (v22) wives to your own husbands as to the Lord, (v23) for the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself the Saviour of the body.”

Doesn’t that make more sense?  Look how Paul is describing mutual submission to one another and then continuing to elaborate on how that should look in the marital relationship as a corrective to the cultural norms of the day.  We need to remember that the Epistles are often correcting specific things that are happening which sometimes we can only understand from the historical context — and this can make interpreting passages like this that much more involved.

We know that the culture was already quite pre-disposed to subduing the wife in marital relationships.  Women were meant to propagate the husbands name and were treated more like property than equals.  What is the likely outcome of such subjection of the wife is a slave-master-like obedience.  Paul seems to actually be saying here that instead of obeying like a slave, the wife should submit to her husband in a more biblical manner, thus calling her out of her ‘pit’ so to speak.  The most revolutionary part of Paul’s words would be the fact that he says all are to submit to one another, and that most definitely includes husbands submitting to their wives!

And again, as we saw in 1 Cor 11, Paul elaborates the basis for the marital relationship, this time for the Ephesians as well: “for the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself the saviour of the body.”  In other words, because the husband is the source of the wife (just like Christ is the source of the church) and therefore she his equal, they should be mutually submitting to one another in love.  (The church is also treated as the equal of Christ in the sense that the new person will have a new body and will no longer sin).  This description is a refutation of the idea that the wife is a lower-class partner to the husband, or that there are more important people in the body than others (ie. jewish believers vs. gentile believers).  It is a proclamation of the equality of all! The source relationship is a powerful foundation for equality, not hierarchy!

Continuing… “[For] as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives [ought to be] to their husbands in everything” (v24).  The NASB has “But”, though this reads as a continuation of substantiation for Paul’s earlier statements.  Interestingly, the NASB adds “ought to be” (italics) which actually makes it sound like Paul is commanding the wives to submit and is not in line with how what he says is actually freeing them from cultural slave-master relationship.  In other words, in everything the wives should be willingly submissive out of love and not as a slave to a master!  Why would Paul be supporting what was already culturally in vogue?

And finally, v25: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her…”  Does this mean that women don’t need to be sacrificial in their love for their husbands?  Of course not!  In fact, they are the ones sacrificing everything in first century culture.  Even in our culture, the women usually have to manage the home as well as work and make meals, etc.  This is a corrective for the men who don’t participate in loving submission to their wives and families!

The conclusion is most certainly an equality in loving submission one to another in the whole body, and especially in marital relationships.  It is a corrective to the master-slave marital relationships which were typical in the first century.  The ‘new man’ should be one who treats his wife as his own flesh, as his equal, not as his inferior.

~End of article submitted by Ryan Schatz

NN’s views are opposite of Ryan’s in that NN believes that the submission of wives is the same as the master-slave relationship.  NN writes on his blog:

The Egalitarian argument runs along the lines of: “Eph 5:21 tells christians to ‘and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.’ But this is the same word used when it tells wives to “be subject” to their husbands. Since “be subject to one another” means that the husband is also “subject” to the wife, Paul’s later instruction specifically to the wives cannot indicate any sort of hierarchy in the marital relationship.” However, as discussed previously, the instruction here given is the same as that given to servants toward their masters and citizens toward the ruling authorities – it is quite clear that this instruction does imply submission to authority.

There are several problems with NN’s view.  The first is that he fails to document that the earliest manuscripts do not have the verb “submit” in verse 22. Instead the submission for wives must refer back to verse 21 which lists Christian submission as mutual.  In fact that grammar in verse 21 (one another) is reciprocal.

reciprocal — A pronoun that denotes reciprocity; that is, it indicates an interchange between two or more groups. (Glossary of Morpho-Syntactic Database Terminology)

The next thing that NN misses is that Paul’s reference to submission is at the end of a list of things that are the practical outworking of being filled with the Spirit which is the topic from Ephesians 5:18 and on.  Submission then is a work of the Spirit in our lives and the application is to one another.  NN continues:

But now we move on to the instruction which Paul gives to wives and husbands and note that the apostle makes a distinction in the command given. Specifically Paul tells the wife to “be subject to the husband” but does not tell the husband to “be subject to the wife.”

Paul doesn’t need to list the second half of mutual submission because verse 21 specifically and with reciprocity lists submission as a one anotherpractice that follows the outworking of the Holy Spirit’s filling.  Husbands are expected to see that as Spirit-filled Christians they are to live a life of submission to one another just as surely as any other member of the body of Christ must live out their faith. Husbands are never listed as exempted from the Spirit-filled life that is to be lived out through submission.

So why is it important for Paul to list women who are part of the culturally disadvantaged class included as a special note for submission?  NN sees this as a clear sign that wives are under their husband’s authority.  In his second recent article NN writes:

Paul gives instruction that wives are to “hupotassoe” their husbands in Eph 5:22, Col 3:18 & Titus 2:5. Just after this last passage, in Titus 3:1, Paul again instructs his audience to “hupatassoe” the governing authorities. Similarly, just before his instruction to wives, Peter uses this same term to describe the relationship of believers to “ordinances of men” and of servants toward their masters.

There is a huge problem with NN’s reasoning. While it can be documented that the cultural system of that day mandated autocratic and all-inclusive authority to the husband over every area of his wife’s life, there is no mandate ever given by God for the husband to exercise such an authority over his wife.  Remember that in the beginning God made both the man and the woman as rulers of this world. He did not give either of them the right to take authority over and subdue each other. So while the worldly system has gone off on a tangent of lordship-authority as a male right, there is no God-given authority for the husband to subdue his wife nor is there a God-given extension of authority that has listed in the Scripture the husband’s extent of power, rights or lordship over the personhood of his wife.  If such an authority is culturally mandated and not God-given then she too is a free man as a son of God, free indeed from the worldly system that dominates and subdues humans.

So what NN fails to list is that there is a turn-about regarding the worldly system when believers are transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light.  While the early Christians used to be bound under a system of authority that took away their freedom of choice as the earthly rulers subdued them, took dominion over them and subjected them underneath their authority, in Christ they had become true free men who were no longer bound by forced subjugation.  This freedom extended to slaves and women who were by virtue of their position in Christ now equal as God’s sons and thus fully free.  Paul refers to this when he writes to his fellow Christian Philemon who is a slave owner of a runaway slave named Onesimus.  Paul pleads with Philemon to embrace Onesimus no longer as a slave, but as a brother in Christ.

Philemon 15–16 (NASB)

15 For perhaps he was for this reason separated from you for a while, that you would have him back forever,

16 no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a beloved brother, especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

How were these former worldly slaves to act as Spirit-filled and empowered sons of God while their masters were not as yet brothers in Christ?  While their position as sons of God gave them freedom, they were encouraged to be slaves of Christ and for His sake to willingly submit themselves to their masters.  What was forced upon them before was removed in Christ, but living as a free men in Christ empowered and enabled them to freely submit to what lawfully was no longer an authority over them. By this act they would give a witness for Christ that would enable their unsaved masters to see Christ living in them.

NN writes:

The relevant definition of this English word “submit: to yield oneself to the power or authority of another.” This word appears throughout the New Testament and is common in other writings of the time. While several arguments are advanced in egalitarian thought as to how we should understand this word, we are discussing its specific use in the Epistles of Paul & Peter, and we can quite directly observe their use of this word in other circumstances which make immediately apparent what they mean in the use of this word.

This cannot be the meaning of submission in the Epistles since Paul specifically defined submission as reciprocal. If submission in Ephesians 5:21 were to mean to yield oneself to the power or authority of another then each one would have a power or authority over everyone else. The thought of you submitting to my authority and me submitting to your authority becomes nonsense in the passage.

Let’s look at Ephesians 5 one more time in context:

Ephesians 5:1–2 (NASB)

1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;

2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

Here we see that there is an injunction for all of us to be imitators of God.  How are we to imitate Him?  We are to walk in love for each other and sacrifice ourselves for the good of others.  This applies to both men and women as Spirit-filled believers.  The next part is especially important because of worldly “greed”.
Ephesians 5:3–8 (NASB)
3 But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints;
4 and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.
5 For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
7 Therefore do not be partakers with them;
8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light
In verse 3 the term “greed” means:
as bad behavior, a disposition to have more than one’s share greed, covetousness, avarice … as a matter of being compelled to, as what is grudgingly given
Vol. 4: Analytical lexicon of the Greek New Testament. Baker’s Greek New Testament library
The Louw Nida lexicon further expands on compulsion as a form of greed:
to take advantage of someone, usually as the result of a motivation of greed—‘to take advantage of, to exploit, exploitation.’
…in this matter, then, no one should do wrong to his brother or take advantage of him
Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Vol. 1: Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament : Based on semantic domains
Is a disposition to have more than one’s share of authority so that one creates for oneself a “role” of authority to take advantage of another’s disadvantaged position in order to exercise authority over a brother considered greed?  Absolutely!  The Bible lists the possibility that authority can be created by one’s own self instead of given by God.

Habakkuk 1:7 (NASB)…Their justice and authority originate with themselves.

Those who are greedy for authority will not let that authority go. By taking authority that does not belong to them, they are tempted to practice lording over others and this is forbidden for believers.
Matthew 20:25 (NASB)  But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.
What is  listed by Paul in Ephesians 5 that should identify those belonging to God’s family?  Let’s take a look:
Ephesians 5:9–11 (NASB)
9 (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth),
10 trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.
11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;
Those in the family of God who are living by the Light should do what is pleasing to the Lord.  So what is pleasing to the Lord?  Here is where we find Paul’s list:
Ephesians 5:15–21 (NASB)
15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise,
16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil.
17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,
19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;
20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;
21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.

Our walk that is pleasing to the Lord is one of subjection to one another.  This is the will of the Lord and it has no bounds of social standing, race or gender.

Paul then brings  us to an area where women may not see the benefit of God’s will to submit.  What might cause a godly Christian woman to not want to be submissive to her husband?  In that culture before she was “in Christ” she was without freedom and was compelled by her husband’s power that the culture vested in him, to be subject to force and his demands that she obey him.  Now that she is free in Christ, she may not want to go back to what she may see as a bondage. Submission to her may bee seen as a forced subjection.  But Paul is telling wives that their submission is not to be forced.  She is now free and her submission is not to be forced by having to obey this cultural authority over her.  She is to submit in love in the fear of the Lord.  Ephesians 5:1-2 is written for her:

Ephesians 5:1–2 (NASB)
1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;
2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
She is no longer compelled to obey, but rather out of love and for Christ’s sake she is to honor her husband as an offering to Christ Himself.

And what about husbands who have been used to the benefits of unconditional power and control that they wielded over their wives?  They are no longer to lord it over their wives but are to be imitators of God and to walk in love toward their wives.  How do these men who yearned for power and authority, learn to give up this power over their wives?  They are to become like Christ Himself who gave up his own power to come to earth as a sacrifice for us.

Ephesians 5:1–2 (NASB)
1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;
2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
What did Christ give up?  He gave up His rights to all authority and all power so that He could live as a mortal man.  Husbands are to be imitators of Christ who Himself existed as God with all power and authority but He gave it all up to live in humility.

The last of Paul’s instructions directly to husbands show a giving up of their cultural authority in order to love their wives as themselves.

Ephesians 5:28–31 (NASB)
28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;
29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,
30 because we are members of His body.
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.

Notice in verse 31 that the cultural male right is given up by the man for his wife.  The culture said that the man had the right to have the woman leave everything to join his house.  She came to him and she brought the dowry.  The dowry is money or property brought by a woman to her husband at marriage.  This worldly system of a woman bringing a dowry to the man and leaving all to join him is the exact opposite to what God’s will is for the marriage union.  Ephesians 5:31 is a quote from Genesis 2:24 and it is the evidence of perfect submission of the man to the woman that God established in the beginning.  The husband is the one who is to give up all to be joined to his wife.  He leaves and cleaves and sacrifices for her.  This is exactly what Jesus did for the church.  Jesus submitted Himself to the church and gave up all for her and Paul calls this a great mystery.

Ephesians 5:32 (NASB)  This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.

What should be the wife’s response be to such a great sacrifice of her husband’s?  She is in awe of him and gives him respect for his act of initiating a life of sacrifice for her.

Let’s sum up Ephesians 5:21, 22 on submission in marriage.  As Christians our aim is to please the Lord and one of the ways we please the Lord is through respectful submission in marriage. There is no lordship of one over the other because this is not pleasing to Christ and male lordship authority is a manifestation of the worldly system with its deeds of darkness (verse 7) that subjugates and controls and is a pattern of greed that ultimately takes advantage of the other in a covetousness lust for lordship. The husband as the “head” or source or starting point is to be the one who initiate a sacrificial giving up of himself so that by his act of submission to come to her and in giving up of  his cultural male-rights he will model the initiating and sacrificial love of Christ for the church.

I predict that those who cannot give up their rights of male authority will never fully understand the will of God in marriage.

651 thoughts on “Authority vs submission – a biblical view of Ephesians 5:22

  1. Let me start by thanking Cheryl for her willingness to interact with an opposing idea.

    A few points are necessary to clarify the content of what I said and to point out that the logical demonstration which I described regarding a biblical understanding of gender roles in marriage was not even addressed by the above discussion.

    The logical argument is straightforward (and not based primarily on Eph 5):
    ~Both Peter & Paul explicitly instruct wives to “hupotassoe” their husbands in several places in the epistles.
    ~This word (“hupotassoe”) is the same word which the same apostles used when describing the proper conduct of slaves toward their masters and citizens to the governing authorities. It is clear from its apostolic usage that it refers to a command to submission on the part of the doer.
    ~ This command [to submit] as given explicitly to the wife in the marital relationship, while the husband is not instructed in the same way [but rather to love the wife]. This gives clear indication of hierarchy within the marital relationship is given.

    The commentary on Ephesians 5:21 is a secondary issue to the logical proof given above. It is simply meant to clarify the question of “if ‘hupotassoe’ means ‘submit’ then how can it be mutual and how can there be hierarchy within marriage when all christians are instructed to ‘submit’ to each other. The simple answer of course is that within a christian marriage there are at least two distinct aspects to the relationship involved: the people are both christians and they are husband/wife. As christians the relationship is governed by love [agapaoe] and this leads to mutual ‘submission’ however in the marital relationship a second type of love also exists [eros] which is not intrinsic to all christian relationships, and this type of love is naturally hierarchical as established by God.

    Two loose ends that I particularly want to address:
    – I did not say that the submission of the wife was the same as a master-slave relationship.
    – Cheryl notes that the cultural system of the day was patriarchically autocratic (true) and that God never tells the man “exercise authority over your wife” (also true). This raises a question of why God didn’t say that if the marital relationship contains hierarchy. The answer is the same reason that God did not tell the wife “make sure your husband shows sacrificial love for you.” We are each told our own responsibilities, when we worry about this then the rest is for God to handle. But even in our daily lives it is plain just how much trouble arises when people are more concerned about how other people aren’t living up to their end of the bargain than in living up to their own responsibilities. (http://nuallan.livejournal.com/28921.html)
    -(To limit the number of tangents arising and stay on the central point I will not address other flaws either in Ryan’s argument or other argument made in response to what I said.)

  2. Cheryl, do you have a good online source for lexicons of Greek and Hebrew words. I used to two easy to use and excellent ones and lost the links. I would like a more thorough description of the word hEgeomai.

    BTW I do get a chuckle out of anyone saying that Scripture does not specifically say that husbands are to submit to their wives as if “one another” does not include us when we get married. Also, Scripture doesn’t specifically say that wives are to love their husbands. Some of the answers I get to that are that love comes naturally to a wife. So, maybe submission does also to the husband. 🙂 But then we have Ephe. 5:1-2 as well as Ephe. 5:21. Seems no one gets off the hook!

  3. TL – You can get access to the Strong’s greek & hebrew lexicons including Thayer’s lexicon through Blueletterbible.org
    here is ‘haegeomai’ http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G2233&t=KJV

    (Other resources are also available at other sites – I find them best used in conjunction with each other.)

    Moreover, I did not say that husbands are exempt from christian submission or wives from love – but that in context of the marital relationship – out of the broad scope of all christian relationships; wives are instructed specifically to submission and husbands to love their wives.

  4. Thank you for the link to the blueletter Bible lexicon. It will do for now. However, I’m really trying to find some links to Liddel & Scott and a few more detailed resources, not just for that word but for all.

    “however in the marital relationship a second type of love also exists [eros] which is not intrinsic to all christian relationships, and this type of love is naturally hierarchical as established by God.”

    That is a rather strange view to think that erotic love is a hierarchical relationship between man and wife. This seems to imply that a woman’s sexuality is for the use of the husband according to his desires. Is that what you are saying?

  5. NN,
    Thanks for joining in the discussion so that we can work on clarification on this issue and a sense of unity in our love for the Lord Jesus and each other.

    A few points are necessary to clarify the content of what I said and to point out that the logical demonstration which I described regarding a biblical understanding of gender roles in marriage was not even addressed by the above discussion.

    My article was on the issues and context of Ephesians 5. I may write another article going into the other epistles but for this article my comments were long enough and the still emphasis on mutual submission must not be missed by moving on to another passage. We have to remember that the Scripture does not contradict itself and when Paul emphasized mutual submission, the other epistles will not contradict this to announce female and slave submission only.

    The logical argument is straightforward (and not based primarily on Eph 5):
    ~Both Peter & Paul explicitly instruct wives to “hupotassoe” their husbands in several places in the epistles.

    Your “logical” argument would hold water if you could prove that submission is limited within the marriage unit to wives alone and disallowed for men to practice. The problem that you would have in Ephesians 5 (which is what my article is specifically focusing on) is that submission in marriage and submission in our Christian faith is linked to one verb found only in the verse describing our mutual submission.

    So the question begs to be answered – does God forbid men to submit to their wives in marriage? Emphasizing one half of the relationship does not qualify as a prohibition on husbands submitting to their wives.

    The next question that begs to be answered – does God model humble submission as an example for all godly Christian husbands and does He desire that husbands go even beyond submission to the point of giving up their male “rights”?

    If we see Jesus as the perfect example of husbandly love, the very first thing that we see Him doing in coming to earth is giving up His rights and His authority so that He can live for and die for His bride.

    I think I will create a second article to deal with the other instances of submission in the epistles. Watch for it shortly as I get time to put together a new article.

    ~ This command [to submit] as given explicitly to the wife in the marital relationship, while the husband is not instructed in the same way [but rather to love the wife]. This gives clear indication of hierarchy within the marital relationship is given.

    There is no clear “indication” of hierarchy. Is the command to love one’s spouse something given only to men? Obviously not. And the clear indication of mutual submission for all Christians cannot be exempting husbands unless that is explicitly stated. Where is there anyplace in the Scriptures that the apostles stated that husbands are disallowed from submitting to their wives as that would be against their “office” or “rights” as men or husbands? I find it amazing at how much we “read into” the text our own bias. Let’s work hard to unload our own bias so that we can see what the text actually says.

    The commentary on Ephesians 5:21 is a secondary issue to the logical proof given above. It is simply meant to clarify the question of “if ‘hupotassoe’ means ‘submit’ then how can it be mutual and how can there be hierarchy within marriage when all christians are instructed to ‘submit’ to each other. The simple answer of course is that within a christian marriage there are at least two distinct aspects to the relationship involved: the people are both christians and they are husband/wife. As christians the relationship is governed by love [agapaoe] and this leads to mutual ‘submission’ however in the marital relationship a second type of love also exists [eros] which is not intrinsic to all christian relationships, and this type of love is naturally hierarchical as established by God.

    First of all the establishment of marriage was set up in Genesis. Where is there a hierarchy set up there? I don’t see it at all. The statement that married eros love is “naturally hierarchical” is not supported by God’s Word in the Genesis account. It may be your desire to have hierarchy in your marriage, but it is another thing to claim that Scripture supports that hierarchy.

    Secondly agape love transcends any other kind of love and so if there were a competing kind of love in a relationship it must be under agape love not forcing agape love under submission to a lesser love. Agape is God’s kind of love and it is the highest of all.

    1 Corinthians 13:13 (NASB) But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love (agape).

    Where is the proof that another kind of love will force agape love to be underneath and subordinate to a secondary kind of love? This is an interesting concept that you have come up with, but your proof is sorely lacking. Agape love is the highest love and is not under subjection to eros love.

    Two loose ends that I particularly want to address:
    – I did not say that the submission of the wife was the same as a master-slave relationship.

    You did say that the instructions are the same for both wives and slaves and the same word used. If you are not saying that the submission of women is the same as submission of slaves then why did you link the two? What is the sameness that you are claiming?

    This raises a question of why God didn’t say that if the marital relationship contains hierarchy. The answer is the same reason that God did not tell the wife “make sure your husband shows sacrificial love for you.” We are each told our own responsibilities, when we worry about this then the rest is for God to handle.

    But the point that I was making is that God gave no “responsibility” for the man to take authority over his wife. We cannot claim a hierarchical right of authority to the man without God giving Him that authority. In fact no authority is legitimate unless God gives it out as a right so that no one can claim an authority for themself. My point still stands that God gave no right of authority of a husband over his wife. It matters not that God didn’t talk to her about His plan for authority of the man. It does matter whether He assigned that authority over the wife to the man. God did not do that so for anyone to claim an authority that has not been God-given is usurping what belongs to God alone.

    But even in our daily lives it is plain just how much trouble arises when people are more concerned about how other people aren’t living up to their end of the bargain than in living up to their own responsibilities.

    Sure, I can agree with that. But that doesn’t take away the fact that men have claimed something as belonging to them that does not. No man has been given a male-right of authority over a woman. God’s plan is that all should grow up to maturity and learn how to make decisions on their own. To place women under the authority of men would mean that God made women inferior in that they need an eternal supervisor to keep them from failing. This takes away from the place of the Holy Spirit who alone is needed to keep us on track and growing in the knowledge of the Truth.

  6. TL,
    E-sword has some good Greek tools. You can down load it here http://www.e-sword.net/downloads.html

    As far as hegeomai here are some lexical meanings. Unfortunately my blog won’t all foreign character so the Greek words and phrases will be missing:

    to go before, lead the way, Hom., etc.:—c. dat. pers. to lead the way for him, guide, conduct, Id.:—also, to go before on the way, Lat. praeire viam, Od.
    2. c. dat. pers. et gen. rei, to be ones leader in a thing, to lead the song, Id., etc.
    3. c. acc. rei, to lead, conduct,
    II. to lead an army or fleet, c. dat., Hom., etc.:—c. gen. to be the leader or commander of, Id.
    2. absol., the rulers, Soph.; leading men, N.T.
    III. to suppose, believe, hold,
    2. with an attributive word added, to hold or regard as king,
    3. to believe in gods,
    4. to think it fit, deem it necessary to do,
    IV. the pf. is used in pass. sense,
    Liddell, H. (1996). A lexicon : Abridged from Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English lexicon (347).

    3. hegeomai (2233) primarily signifies “to lead”; then, “to consider”; it is translated “accounting” in Heb. 11:26, RV (KJV, “esteeming”); 2 Pet. 3:15, “account.” See CHIEF, COUNT, ESTEEM, GOVERNOR, JUDGE, RULE, SUPPOSE, THINK.
    Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., & White, W. (1996). Vol. 2: Vine’s complete expository dictionary of Old and New Testament words (9).

    1. to be in a supervisory capacity, lead, guide; in our lit. only pres. ptc. of men in any leading position (Soph., Phil. 386; freq. Polyb.; Diod S 1, 4, 7; 1, 72, 1; Lucian, Alex. 44; 57; ins, pap, LXX, EpArist; TestZeb 10:2; ViEzk 2 [p. 74, 7 Sch.]; Just., A II, 1, 1; Tat.; Mel., HE 4, 26, 10; Ath. 1, 2) ruler, leader (opp. the servant) Lk 22:26. Of princely authority (Ezk 43:7; Sir 17:17; 41:17) Mt 2:6; 1 Cl 32:2; 60:4.—Of high officials Ac 7:10; MPol 9:3; 1 Cl 5:7; 51:5; 55:1. Of military commanders (Appian, Iber. 78 §333, Bell. Civ. 3, 26 97; 1 Macc 9:30; 2 Macc 14:16) 37:2f. Also of leaders of religious bodies PVindBosw 1, 31 [87 A.D.] Cp. also Sir 33:19 Sb 7835 [I B.C.], 10; 14 the [monarchic] of the cultic brotherhood of Zeus Hypsistos) of heads of a Christian congregation Hb 13:7, 17, 24; 1 Cl 1:3.leading men among the brothers/members Ac 15:22. FBüchsel, TW II 909f.—Of Paul taken to be Hermes the chief speaker 14:12
    2. to engage in an intellectual process, think, consider, regard (Trag., Hdt.+) 2 Cor 9:5; Phil 2:25. Phil 3:8a …
    Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed.) (434).

    hegeomai.
    1. This word means a. “to lead,” b. “to think,” “believe,” “regard as.” In the NT it occurs in sense a. only in the present participle (see 2.), but is widespread in sense b. (though not found in the Johannine writings). “To esteem” is the point in 1 Th. 5:13 (as in Thucydides 2.89.9).
    2. a. hegoumenoi (mostly plural) is used for community leaders in Heb. 13:7, 17, 24. These are examples of faith (v. 7) and pastors responsible to God (v. 17); they are thus to be obeyed (v. 17), and are mentioned before the saints (v. 24). Yet according to Lk. 22:26 the hegoumenos is to be as one who serves—a necessary check on officialdom. Judas and Silas are called “leading men” among the brethren in Acts 15:22.
    b. hegoumenoi can also be leaders outside the community, e.g., military leaders in 1 Macc. 9:30, national leaders in Ezek. 43:7, princes in 1 Clem. 5.7, leading priests in the papyri. Quoting Mic. 5:1ff., Mt. 2:6 has the term for a national ruler, and Acts 7:10 has it for Joseph as the governor of Egypt.
    Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. (1995). Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (303).

    I hope that helps!

  7. To TL (comment #4):
    Liddell & Scott can be accessed through the Perseus project (http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/efts/PERSEUS/Reference/lsj.html) – but it is a bit more academic and less user friendly. The preferred method of searching it is directly with Greek characters.

    On your comment let me ask a question: Are our religious affections for God’s “use” according to His desires? Does this make them in some way less a benefit to and for us? This is the very nature of benevolent authority – God the Son’s benevolent authority towards us was so complete that He sacrificed Himself to redeem us.

  8. To Cheryl (Comment # 5);

    I start by highlighting one critical point in your argument:

    If we see Jesus as the perfect example of husbandly love, the very first thing that we see Him doing in coming to earth is giving up His rights and His authority so that He can live for and die for His bride. (emphasis mine)

    No, He didn’t. He gave up His rights certainly (e.g. Phil 2:7) – but nowhere are we told that He gave up His authority. In fact we are told quite the opposite in a great many places (e.g. Matt 9:6, Matt 28:18, etc.) Being of the power and authority of God, He chose a life of service to those under His authority. I agree that Christ is the perfect example of husbandly love (just as Paul said) – but realize that Christ’s serving us does not lessen His authority over us. The words and instructions of Christ are authoritative because they come from authority; from the Christ – our celestial and ultimate Bridegroom to the Church; of whom our present marriages are but shadows.

    Since you repeatedly reference the matter: The word ‘hupotassoe’ appears directly in Eph 5:22 in the Textus Receptus, while it is referenced elliptically from the previous verse in the GNT Morph (Greek can do that in a way English cannot). But, in either case the idea is in the verse – Agreed? So the only question is how we are to correctly interpret it.

    You say:

    Secondly agape love transcends any other kind of love and so if there were a competing kind of love in a relationship it must be under agape love not forcing agape love under submission to a lesser love. Agape is God’s kind of love and it is the highest of all… Where is the proof that another kind of love will force agape love to be underneath and subordinate to a secondary kind of love?

    But I have already answered that in my post which you referenced:

    While this certainly refutes the standard objection posed by Egalitarian thought based on this passage, let us not lose sight of the positive understanding which we should take away from this. The operation of eros within the marital relationship leads to an natural and God-made asymmetry of the relationship; but, the love of Christ – agape – is of FIRST IMPORTANCE. When you are married you are FIRST a christian, then a spouse. Just as in any other aspect of life; Christ is to be central and our other actions a corollary of this most fundamental truth. It is an issue of first and second things. Submission is enjoined within marriage, true; but if this interferes with christian interaction then you have done it wrong. And you will lose not only the good of the christian interaction but will destroy the good of submission in the the marital interaction. And when this plays out is it any wonder that so many people question the apostle’s instructions.

    And finally, you state:

    You did say that the instructions are the same for both wives and slaves and the same word used. If you are not saying that the submission of women is the same as submission of slaves then why did you link the two? What is the sameness that you are claiming?

    I simply pointed out that Paul gave parallel instructions using the same verbage. Surely this must inform our understanding of how the apostle uses this word, no?

    Despite my desire to continue – this response is already too long. So I shall stop here in the interests of retaining what brevity I can.

  9. I don’t have time at the moment to comment on the arguments in this post, but I do want to point out one thing. It seems rather common in egalitarian/complementarian discussions/debates/books/etc to present the opposing argument in the most inflammatory way possible. (also rather common is presenting their argument as *you* have decided how their belief is defined, not how they define it, but I’ll save that for another day). You introduce NN’s argument in the most inflammatory way possible. Yes, in his post he points out that all of the relationships that are listed in Eph 5 and that Paul (not NN, but paul) uses the same word for all of them. That is far different than saying that the marriage relationship is like that of master-slave. You certainly got people immediately against NN and his ideas before actually presenting them, making sure that they read your connotations into his writing, but it is a very uncharitable way to present an opposing argument. I have seen many egalitarians and complementarians do this. It needs to stop on all sides.

  10. NN, thanks for the link. Used to have a link to a particular area that gave me the ability to punch in an English word and get back a list of relevant greek words from which I could choose in order to get a detailed lexicon entry. But it looks different. Hope I can find that area.

    As to your question, your statement has lots of negative connotations. God doesn’t really use us. He guides us to maturity, wholeness, healing, etc. from His Creative powers as God. God’s desires are always for our benefit, which is to His glory and honor. It is not a matter of authority, for even authority as we think of it was created by God. God is beyond ideas of authority over benevolent or otherwise. It is the fact that God created us for purposes that are pure and holy. And Jesus died to redeem us, not to exercise or demonstrate His benevolent power over us, but because God loves us.

    The marriage relationship doesn’t actually reflect God’s relationship with us, otherwise we have men reflecting God and women reflecting fallen humanity. Rather, God’s love for us reflects the proper desire for man and woman to so live as to be unified as if one. God wants us to be one with Him. He wants to so deeply meld with our souls that we are as one, in perfect harmonious unity. This does not mean that we lose our identity or give up our personality. The unity is perfect when we yield to God’s holiness, knowledge and perfect love which is always given to us for our benefit which shows His honor and glory.

    Husbands OTOH are not to exercise authority over their wives, benevolent or not. Rather, husbands are to love their wives sacrificially, as if she were his own body/life. Without her, his life is bereft. Thus, he gladly sacrificies whatever is necessary to help them stay in harmonious unity.

  11. Tiffany, are you noullan’s wife? I noticed you are linked to his page in livejournal.

    It is true that in debates among Christians of all doctrinal leanings misrepresentation does happen. Looking over how Cheryl introduced NN’s statements, I do not see what you are saying at all. We are able to view NN’s actual words to discern and ask questions for ourselves.

  12. Hi Tiffany,
    Thanks for adding your comments to this discussion.

    I understand that you are looking for charitable discussion and so am I. May I respectfully say that you may have misunderstood me and thus see my comments as inflammatory when they are never meant to be that way?

    You introduce NN’s argument in the most inflammatory way possible. Yes, in his post he points out that all of the relationships that are listed in Eph 5 and that Paul (not NN, but paul) uses the same word for all of them. That is far different than saying that the marriage relationship is like that of master-slave.

    Actually that is not what I said. I didn’t say that NN said the marriage relationship is said to be the same as master/slave. I said that he said the submission is said to be the same. NN draws a hierarchal ordering in marriage submission and a hierarchal ordering in the slave/master submission. Yet he doesn’t see a hierarchical ordering in “normal” Christian interaction when we submit to one another. But in addition to the “normal”

    But apparently he doesn’t see an equal submission for the husband and the master in these “parallel” sets so that only the slave submits and the master does not and only the wife submits and the husband does not.

    It is not inflammatory to repeat back what the person has said (i.e. that two kinds of submission are related) but it would certainly be inflammatory if I had stated that NN was saying that the wife was to grovel at her husband’s feet waiting for his next command. Do you see the difference? Questioning one’s position and repeating back the statements that have been made are good communication skills. They promote communication.

    I sense that you are very sensitive to this kind of discussion. Perhaps an egalitarian has been rude to you in the past and caused you to have pain. If that is the case, I am very sorry if you have been hurt by anyone calling themselves an egalitarian who is insensitive and/or condescending. But I assure you that this is not how I feel nor do I wish to express my passion in a way that would misrepresent another. This is one of the reasons that I welcome those who have opposing views to dialog here. I believe that talking through these issues is a very helpful thing so that even in the end if we were to agree to disagree, we would have a better view of what each of us believes and why we believe it. It allows us to give the other space on the non-essentials while we can have love and respect for each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.

    Is it possible to give me the benefit of the doubt and ask me what I mean rather than assume that I am being inflammatory? If by your questions I can see that I have stated things in a wrong manner, it gives me the ability to correct my misstatement and apologize for inadvertently hurting someone’s feelings. It is not my intention to see my complementarian brothers and sisters in Christ as the enemy. They are to be loved and respected even if I disagree with their views.

    I hope this helps. 🙂

  13. Hi NN,
    Thanks for the reply and for trying to be brief. I do need to work on that as well as brevity is not my best characteristic. 😉

    No, He didn’t. He gave up His rights certainly (e.g. Phil 2:7) – but nowhere are we told that He gave up His authority. In fact we are told quite the opposite in a great many places (e.g. Matt 9:6, Matt 28:18, etc.)

    Actually may I respectfully say that you are wrong? In my work with Jehovah’s Witnesses they use Scriptures like Matthew 28:18 to prove that Jesus did not have authority on His own but was given authority. This is where Philippians 2 comes in that Jesus gave up his rights to act independently as God so that He could live as a man. One of the rights that He gave up was His authority. That is why it was completely necessary for all authority to be given back to Jesus. He had it in the beginning as He existed as God but in His humility in coming as a man He gave up that right.

    Since you quoted Matthew 28:18 you could explain to me how it is that Jesus had to be given all authority if He never gave it up in the first place? How is it that He was given something that He already had?

    And on the other verse you referenced:

    Matthew 9:6 (NASB95)
    6 “But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your bed and go home.”

    This is a verse that I often use with Jehovah’s Witnesses to prove that Jesus had authority on earth to forgive sins. But this authority was given to Him just as eventually He received back all authority. This verse in no way disproves that Jesus was given this authority or that Jesus did not give up all of His rights when He came to the earth.

    I will continue commenting on another comment number so that my questions are separated and I stay on the brief side. 😉

  14. To TL (comment # 10);
    I think this is what you are looking for (http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/definitionlookup?redirect=true)

    Of course my question has lots of negative connotations – it has exactly the same negative connotations of the question you asked. I asked the question to highlight the mode of thinking that leads to these negative connotations. The mode of thinking so natural to this world that gives ‘used’ a soiled connotation. Does God “use” us? Certainly! (e.g. Rom 9:21) – Is this a bad thing? or detrimental to us that are His? – of course not.

    The rest of your argument (that God is “above authority”) has no logical meaning whatsoever. God Himself speaks of His authority and power over all things and particularly over His people (Matt 9:6, Matt 28:18, Rom 9:21, Jhn 19:11, Col 2:10, etc.). As He declares these things, we are in no position to decide that He used the wrong word.

    Lastly, Paul seemed to think that the marriage relationship does reflect the relationship of Christ and the Church (Eph 5:22-33). I think I’ll go with Paul on this one…
    Though this is not to say that we always reflect the Truth in our own earthly lives. Whatever our lives say “We cannot shut up about the gospel, we may be e telling the truth about Jesus or telling a lie about Jesus but he is always, always talking about Jesus.”

  15. NN,
    You said:

    Being of the power and authority of God, He chose a life of service to those under His authority. I agree that Christ is the perfect example of husbandly love (just as Paul said) – but realize that Christ’s serving us does not lessen His authority over us. The words and instructions of Christ are authoritative because they come from authority; from the Christ – our celestial and ultimate Bridegroom to the Church; of whom our present marriages are but shadows.

    While I agree that before He came here to the earth He was in the very essence of God with all power, all authority and all glory. But He limited Himself so that He could be like us. He did not keep these rights as God and hold onto them, but willingly gave them up so that He could operate as a human as we do waiting for authority delegated by His father and power approved by God and eventually His own full glory would be given back so that we will see Him as He is.

    John 17:1–2, 5 (NASB)
    1 Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You,
    2 even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life.
    5 “Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

    Notice that in Jesus’ high priestly prayer, he admitted that He had been given authority to give people eternal life. He also asked for the glory that He previously had and had not yet been given back. We can understand that it is only because Jesus became human that He had to be given authority. As God before He emptied Himself he already had that authority. I believe that Scripture is clear that Jesus the son of man was given authority because it was His rightful authority that He gave up in emptying Himself in order to come to the earth.

  16. Just a quick reply (I hope).
    TL-yes, I am NN wife.
    Cheryl- it is uncharitable and inflamatory to take a quote (even a direct, word for word quote) of someone else that is most likely to turn the audience against them. You could have just as easily said that “NN believe the submission to be the same as that of the master-slave, government-subject relatioship” or even just the government-subject relationship (if you were going to pick one over the other that was used) or more accurately said that “NN points to the word used to give instructions to the husband-wife/master-slave/government-subject as the same word and draws his conclusions from that”. Perhaps a bit more verbose, but at least far more accurate. Making the master-slave correlation seems to be the go to in egalitarian circles. (Very similar to complementarians makes the egalitarian=feminism correlation which is equally uncharitable.)

    Regardless if one is directly quoting an opposing side, quotes can be used in an accurate way(that most correctly conveys what the original author intended) or an inaccurate way (one the conveys something very different than what the original author intended, and thus biasis the audience against said author even though the full quote is right there.)

    I am more than willing to give you the bennefit of the doubt that you didn’t intend to be inflammatory. Never the less the introduction to the quote you gave conveys something very different than what is actually being said. My concern was not with hurt feelings (because like I said I know the author) but rather accurate representation of the discussion. (It occurs to me you might appreciate knowing that if it had been a complentarian doing something similar I would have said something to them as well)

    I think though you conveyed my tone to be upset, when really I was trying to be quick. Sorry about that. Not upset, just short on time.

  17. NN,
    You said:

    Since you repeatedly reference the matter: The word ‘hupotassoe’ appears directly in Eph 5:22 in the Textus Receptus, while it is referenced elliptically from the previous verse in the GNT Morph (Greek can do that in a way English cannot). But, in either case the idea is in the verse – Agreed? So the only question is how we are to correctly interpret it.

    While the word “submit” may be in the Textus Receptus, it is not in the Westcott and Hort, the UBS4 or the NA27 which are all based on the older manuscripts. While we can understand that “submission” is implied in verse 22, we know that because it is explicitly stated in verse 21.

    As far as how to correctly interpret the implied “submission” in verse 22, it cannot be interpreted in any way that is outside of the explicit word in verse 21. Thus we see that the inspired word is a reciprocal in verse 21 and therefore it must be a reciprocal that is implied in verse 22.

    Can we take a reciprocal and deconstruct it and recreate this verb to be a one-way submission by implication only for verse 22? I don’t see how that is possible.

  18. NN,
    You said:

    The operation of eros within the marital relationship leads to an natural and God-made asymmetry of the relationship; but, the love of Christ – agape – is of FIRST IMPORTANCE. When you are married you are FIRST a christian, then a spouse. Just as in any other aspect of life; Christ is to be central and our other actions a corollary of this most fundamental truth. …Submission is enjoined within marriage, true; but if this interferes with christian interaction then you have done it wrong. And you will lose not only the good of the christian interaction but will destroy the good of submission in the the marital interaction. And when this plays out is it any wonder that so many people question the apostle’s instructions.

    I understand that this is what you have said, but this must be understood also in the context of your claim that eros love has a one-way submission. So how is the above lived out when there is a conflict? Does the conflict fall under the one-way submission of eros love or the reciprocal submission from basic Christianity? If agape love overrides eros love, then how is marriage a one-way submission? Are you saying that husband and wife will have to decide in the beginning of a discussion whether their discussion relates to them as Christians or them as husband and wife so they know whether the husband is allowed to submit or must refrain from submitting to his wife? And are you giving a loophole so that anytime the wife is not happy with the husband’s decision she can claim that their eros love is interfering with their Christian interaction? Can you picture it? A husband doesn’t want to submit so he claims their dispute falls under eros love while she claims that the dispute falls under Christian charity? This doesn’t make sense to me. Perhaps you can reword it so that it is shown to be practical. When can a husband, in your opinion, claim that he is not allowed to submit to his wife and what are the rules that allow him to submit as her Christian brother? And from what Scripture would we find such a division of love where one is attached to submission and the other must not submit? Please explain.

  19. NN,
    You quoted me and said:

    And finally, you state:

    You did say that the instructions are the same for both wives and slaves and the same word used. If you are not saying that the submission of women is the same as submission of slaves then why did you link the two? What is the sameness that you are claiming?

    I simply pointed out that Paul gave parallel instructions using the same verbage. Surely this must inform our understanding of how the apostle uses this word, no?

    Since you are talking about hierarchy here, are you claiming that the parallel instructions shows that only the wife submits and the husband does not have to submit and only the slave submits and the master does not have to submit? In other words are you claiming that the husband and the master have a God-given exemption in submitting because each of them has a God-given authority over the wife and slave? Please explain so that there is no misunderstanding what you are actually claiming regarding hierarchy.

  20. Tiffany,

    You said:

    Cheryl- it is uncharitable and inflamatory to take a quote (even a direct, word for word quote) of someone else that is most likely to turn the audience against them.

    My friend, do you really consider it uncharitable and inflammatory to repeat back what someone has said? If the audience is going to turn against the person, don’t you think that they would have turned against them when the person first made the statement?

    Let’s take this one to its logical conclusion. Let’s say that we are publicly discussing race relations and our opponent says that he hates —- (you fill in the blank with whatever racial slur comes to mind). So it appears to me that you are telling me that it is not> inflammatory for the opponent to say that he hates —– but it is inflammatory for me to state that this is what he has said and to invite discussion on the statement? Sorry, but I am confused. I was never taught that repeating an opponents position in the process of the discussion is an inflammatory statement that will turn the audience against the opponent. I can think of ways that one could twist the opponent’s statement to make it appear that he is making a racial slur when he is not, but to quote a true copy of what is said should not be a problem at any time. I would not be offended if I am quoted in a correct way. In fact, I am happy when I am quoted correctly as that invites dialog and encourages understanding.

    You could have just as easily said that “NN believe the submission to be the same as that of the master-slave, government-subject relatioship” or even just the government-subject relationship (if you were going to pick one over the other that was used) or more accurately said that “NN points to the word used to give instructions to the husband-wife/master-slave/government-subject as the same word and draws his conclusions from that”. Perhaps a bit more verbose, but at least far more accurate. Making the master-slave correlation seems to be the go to in egalitarian circles. (Very similar to complementarians makes the egalitarian=feminism correlation which is equally uncharitable.)

    I can grant you your point if I had added in the woman/slave connection and NN had not mentioned it. This would certainly be similar to what complementarians do when they bring in an egalitarian-feminism connection. When one doesn’t bring in the bad connection and the other party inaccurately connects things that haven’t been related in the original statement, that could very well be an uncharitable addition. But I fail to see how my quote of NN’s position using his own comparison makes my statement inflammatory and/or uncharitable.

    Maybe there is someone reading this who could accurately point out how I was being uncharitable or inflammatory. I honestly do not see it and I work very hard on my blog to promote Christian charity.

    Anyone?

  21. NN:
    We are each told our own responsibilities, when we worry about this then the rest is for God to handle.

    Cheryl:
    It matters not that God didn’t talk to her about His plan for authority of the man. It does matter whether He assigned that authority over the wife to the man. God did not do that so for anyone to claim an authority that has not been God-given is usurping what belongs to God alone.

    NN, where is the husband told his responsibility is authority over his wife?

  22. To carry on, Tiffany you said:

    Regardless if one is directly quoting an opposing side, quotes can be used in an accurate way(that most correctly conveys what the original author intended) or an inaccurate way (one the conveys something very different than what the original author intended, and thus biasis the audience against said author even though the full quote is right there.)

    My understanding from NN is that he was bringing in the comparison of the word “submit” for wives and slaves because these are two areas where he finds hierarchy in addition to a possible Christian equality. My point is that hierarchy is not stated beside the submission nor is authority always the flip side of submission.

    I think that it is time to carry on and leave aside the issue of inflammatory dialog unless someone else can clearly identify my “sin”. Thanks!

  23. Cheryl,
    I think I can better answer your questions if you answer one of mine first and then I’ll stop side tracking the conversation. Why did you choose o highlight the future use of the master-slave commands rather than the government-subject commands? both were given the same time/treatment in the post.

  24. NN:
    I simply pointed out that Paul gave parallel instructions using the same verbage. Surely this must inform our understanding of how the apostle uses this word, no?

    From your perspective, what am I to be informed of then, NN?

  25. Tiffany,
    You said:

    I think I can better answer your questions if you answer one of mine first and then I’ll stop side tracking the conversation. Why did you choose o highlight the future use of the master-slave commands rather than the government-subject commands? both were given the same time/treatment in the post.

    I highlighted the master/slave component of submission because it is most like the husband/wife component. God has given no authority to masters or to husbands but he has invested authority in the “governing authorities” of our governments. Does this make sense?

  26. To Cheryl (comments #13 & 15) – on the authority of Christ.

    Whether you believe that during His earthly life Christ had intrinsic authority [due to His deity] or only extrinsic authority as granted Him by the Father, you would agree (as far as I can tell) that He had authority during His earthly ministry and now has all authority. (again whatever its origin; after all, all right human authority is also granted by God)

    Therefore, Christ – Bridegroom of the Church has ALL authority… Whether His authority was intrinsic or given Him by the Father (just as any authority which we rightly possess must be) is immaterial to the question of whether He had authority. I don’t see how you can possibly construe this to support your idea of ‘Christ – our Bridegroom – being without authority.’

  27. Paul gives instruction that wives are to “hupotassoe” their husbands in Eph 5:22, Col 3:18 & Titus 2:5. Just after this last passage, in Titus 3:1, Paul again instructs his audience to “hupatassoe” the governing authorities. Similarly, just before his instruction to wives, Peter uses this same term to describe the relationship of believers to “ordinances of men” and of servants toward their masters.

    Husbands
    governing authorities
    ordinances of men
    masters

    How does Paul’s use prove that the husband had spiritual authority over his wife? What is common and apparent to each in the list is legal authority. But where does the spiritual authority then come in at?

  28. To Cheryl (comment # 17);
    It is easier to form elliptical statements in Greek but even English can give the type of statement which you “don’t think possible.”

    “John and Katie are going to support each other, and Max is going to do the same for Steve.” – We’ve gone from a reciprocal to a non-reciprocal statement.
    It’s more awkward in English but possible nonetheless.

    Before you say it – of course this doesn’t prove that the second is not non-reciprocal; it is just compatible with it. So you have to look to other information to find out whether or not the second construction is also reciprocal (which is why looking at other parallel instructions in the epistles is necessary to be certain of correct interpretation).

  29. Hi NN,
    You said:

    I don’t see how you can possibly construe this to support your idea of ‘Christ – our Bridegroom – being without authority.’

    Thanks for giving me an opportunity to restate so that I can be clear on this. What I said was that as God, Jesus did not hold onto His rights but gave them all up for us. In a similar way if a man has any kind of male rights he is to give them up for his bride.

    Now as far as taking authority back, whatever God gives to Him is rightfully taken by Christ because Christ is true GOD.

    If the human husband is given authority from God he may take that authority but he is not compared to God with all rights and all authority.

    Here is the question – where is the husband given authority over his wife? If there is a worldly authority as there is a male-rights authority that is promoted by the world, a godly Christian man is willing to give up that worldly “right” that he owns in order to sacrifice for his bride so that they may become one. The only authority that I can see from the Scripture that God has given the man, He has also given to the woman – as co-rulers of the world. It is a mistake for a man to believe that God has given him authority over his wife when this authority has never been delegated to him.

    It is not a mistake for Jesus Christ who is our Lord and our God to take back His authority as God as He has specifically been given this authority by the Father. He not only is our “last Adam” husband of the Church, but He is our God.

    There is a limit on comparing Jesus to a human husband. We can rightfully look to Jesus as our example when the Bible says so, but to take His Godly authority over humans and make this authority our own without permission from God goes beyond the Scriptures and keeps our marriages in the realm of the worldly way where men have usurped God’s authority in the area of a human being and made this authority their own.

    All I ask is for those who believe that they have authority delegated from God to show that authority over their wives that was delegated by God. If they cannot do this perhaps they think that the worship that we do to Jesus Christ belongs to husbands too because Jesus is the husband of the church? It is risky business to take from Jesus and make everything of His as God to belong to males. Does this make sense?

  30. To Cheryl (comment # 18);

    I will answer all of your questions with a sim

    – If two christians are in genuine dispute over the correct course of action on a matter and are unable to come to an agreement, what course should they choose?

    Perhaps to be more pointed – let us say that two christian’s are both serving in the coast guard and are in disagreement over the best course of action to take. The higher rank gives an order than the lower rank does not think is the best idea. Should the lower ranking officer follow the order (as is required by their relationship as officers in the coast guard) or does their relationship as christians change this? Or when a father tells his son something that his son disagrees with – does this mean that the son is free to disobey his father? (that would certainly change my perspective on some rebellious actions of my teenage years…)

    No.
    Despite our overriding imperatives to act as christians at all times, this does not negate that we are also related by other relationships that apply additional constraints on the proper conduct in these interactions.

  31. Thanks for the questions NN.

    I think this is a wonderful time for others to weigh in before I answer. What do you think?

    I am going to attend to important matters and hopefully will be back later in the evening. Those who would like to give your point of view are very welcome to jump in. Just remember to keep the dialog as respectful as you can and with brotherly love.

  32. To Cheryl (comment # 29)

    To reiterate – we are agreed that Christ (in human form) had authority and that Christ now has authority – in fact All authority (irregardless of its origin).

    You argue that Christ gave up said authority to be the Bridegroom. But both during His time on earth and now, He has authority. Therefore, your argument that Christ gave up His authority to be the Church’s Bridegroom CANNOT logically be correct.

    Furthermore, in Ephesians 5:22-33, Paul explicitly relates the proper mutual interaction of husband and wife as a parallel of Christ and His bride the Church. As such, the idea of authority is implicit within the construction of this passage. Just as Christ’s sacrifice was not of His authority – but of His very life. So too are husbands called to love their wives and give themselves for them. Even so as we are told to obey the authority of Christ, wives are told to submit to their husbands – “even as to the Lord.” Not because it is exacted by Christ (or the husband) but because it is right and proper to God’s ordination of the relationship.

  33. Cheryl,
    It does make sense. (I don’t agree with you, but your explain is quite clear). Given your perspective on it, I withdraw my original objections with my apologies.
    Tiffany

  34. Hi everyone,
    I have just spent 3 months in the dense fog of sleep deprivation, and I don’t think Samuel is going to sleep for another 3, for he likes to eat every two hours around the clock.
    That said, let’s get back to business:
    If marital love (eros) is hierarchical, we have a problem with 1 Cor 7, which talks about eros love: husband does not have authority over the his wife’s body, and vica versa. I.e. there can be no hierarchy when both must yield preference to the other.

    As far as governing authorities are concerned: they were given by God BECAUSE OF SIN (Rom 13) to punish evild-doers and give praise to the one’s who do good. There can be no comparison between an authority which is given at creation and one which is instituted because of sin, unless we of course agree with the early church and say that the man’s authority was given because the woman ruined it all by introducing sin, while the man was innocent.

    As far as slavery is concerned: if Paul was arguing that a wife should submit to a husband as slaves submit to their masters, we have a problem with 1 Cor 7 again: Paul instructs the slaves to take advantage of manumission (being set free) if they can, but to the wife and husband he writes that divorce is not an option UNLESS THE UNBELIEVER WISHES TO DEPART. I.e. the authority of the master is not something that we should consider given by God, but the cause of greedy, selfish humans who wish to avoid the menial tasks while accumulating more wealth than they should. (I must add that divorce should be sought in case of abuse of any kind for God has called us to peace, not to be hurt by someone’s unrepentant heart).

    As far as the comparison between wives, children and slaves is concerned: children grow up and need parental guidance only for their own safety and well being when immature children. Slaves, as already pointed out, can be manumitted, and Christian masters are told to treat them as their brothers/sisters; there is not hierarchy between siblings. The only reason Paul refers to slaves is because sinful humans will always enslave others and these instructions are needed for that specific reason (Paul has other instructions for the freeborn laborers: work, or don’t eat). These three are also lumped together because they all belong to the same familia. I.e these three groups interacted in Rome in a daily basis wherefore the instructions are found together. Note also that it is the wife and the husband who are above the children and slaves, the slaves had to obey the Domina as well, or rather, she was in charge of the slaves and their work. The children were instructed by a slave, the fathers were rarely involved in the upbringing of the children. Paul is not trying to create a hierarchy of worth, he is giving a Christian family instructions how to live with each other in an era when slavery was a fact of life.

    As far as love is concerned: A Roman man considered love towards a woman slavery due to the passion which the man would not be able to control (hence Augustine writes in his book Confessions that God loves without passion). Love towards other men, especially male children, was considered to have a cooling effect on the male psyche and Roman men would often buy young boys as their “pets.” Now re-consider what Paul writes in Eph 5: husbands love your wives as yourselves. Quite radical in a time when a wife was considered an inferior, silly thing, whose existence was necessary only to create legitimate offspring.
    The idea of “concordia” (mutual affection) shows up in Stoic philosophy late second, early third century and the church picked it up quickly as did Rome. Hence we find these ideas in all Roman literature and church literature from the third century on. But although the husband and wife were to have mutual affection towards each other, the relationship was that of inequality (thanks to Aristotle). And it is here that we find the root of modern complementarism, since these ideas are impeded in the writings of Tertullian and Augustine. As far as the Bible is concerned, these ideas are as foreign to it as the idea that a person should love someone else less than him/herself.

  35. You argue that Christ gave up said authority to be the Bridegroom. But both during His time on earth and now, He has authority. Therefore, your argument that Christ gave up His authority to be the Church’s Bridegroom CANNOT logically be correct.

    25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

    You sound turned around to me, NN.

  36. As far as Christ and his authority is concerned: Why does Christ have authority? Because he is God and he created us. Why does he have the authority: to restore the world to its original beauty.
    He calls us his friends. When did a friend ever have authority over another – within a friendship?
    Christ became our Lord when he died for us. Any man is welcomed to die for his wife if he wishes to become her lord. There is no other way.

  37. Another thought on the subject: if the man’s authority is based on creation and is only found in marriage, and if all Christians should submit to each other, why should women not teach men since men should also submit to women in the church? Where does the mandate that women should not teach men come from and what is it based on?

  38. NN,

    You posed the following question to Cheryl:

    If two christians are in genuine dispute over the correct course of action on a matter and are unable to come to an agreement, what course should they choose?

    If such a dispute were between you and one of your best pals, or your brother, what course of action would you take? You would have no “rank” to pull nor authority card to play. What do you do in such a situation?

    I would hazard a guess that your approach would work just fine in your marriage, my marriage, or anyone’s marriage. The fact of the matter is our lives are full of relationships without any “additional constraints on proper conduct” beyond mutual respect and mutual submission. Tough disagreements can be worked through (surely not without compromise, sacrifice, some pain), but just as surely without any need to “pull rank” or play the authority card to reach the resolution.

  39. One more thought: did Adam and Eve argue in the garden, since Adam was given the authority of final say in case of an argument? If the man and woman lived in perfect harmony, what need was there for the man’s authority?

  40. Elastigirl,
    Welcome to my blog! Thanks so much for joining in the discussion!

    Susanna,
    So glad to have you back! We have missed you around on the blog and your words of wisdom are also greatly appreciated!

  41. To Susanna (comment #36)

    On the authority of Christ – yes He calls his disciples (and by extension us) friends. Are you saying that this means He therefore doesn’t have authority over us? That His commandments are really not binding on us if we don’t think that they are good ideas? That when he said “All authority in heaven and earth” what He really meant to say was “all authority except over you who are my friends. No, surely not.

    (Post Script on comment # 37 – I said nothing about women teaching or not teaching men.)
    Christ was LORD from before His immaculate conception (“before Abraham was I AM”). And it is worth noting that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Some will confess in willing and reconciled submission and some in grudging defeat but ALL WILL CONFESS. Jesus is Lord, He could not be else – but in His lordship He loved us so much that He died to reconcile our rebellion-damned selves to His loving Lordship. Christ did not die to become the Lord, He died to make us reconciled to our Lord.

  42. NN,
    I like the way Elastigirl responded. It seems to me that when we think we have a higher rank than someone else and thus have a basis to claim an authority to make a decision against the will of another, it is an easy case-closed, close-up-the-shop scenario. But when there is no higher rank, what do we do? We actually have to work hard for agreement and resolution. I believe that this is what we need to do more and that “pulling rank” is taking the easy road out.

    I appreciate that you tried to answer my question with an example of men serving in the coastguard, but this doesn’t apply to a marriage.

    How about the example of a man who hears a great plea from a church who needs money and he decides to sell their house and give everything they have to help pay off the church loan. The wife resists and he cannot sell the property without her signature. He submits to her and they stay in their home.

    Or how about a man who is in trouble financially and he knows that he can’t hold off forever but he can keep the dogs at bay for a time by mortgaging the house to the hilt along with everything they own. The wife resists but the husband overrules her will and forces her to sign. He has taken authority over her and his decision stands. Within a short period of time his business goes under and they lose everything.

    These are real life scenarios and the outcome is also real. One husband submitted to his wife and the other one did not. One took authority against his wife’s will and the other one did not. Did the one who submitted to his wife and saved his home sin against God by not taking authority over his wife? Or did the man who overruled his wife against her better judgment and against her will act like a real man taking his trump card out and forcing the decision his way? Is this the way that Jesus acts?

  43. NN,
    You said:

    To reiterate – we are agreed that Christ (in human form) had authority and that Christ now has authority – in fact All authority (irregardless of its origin).

    May I rewrite this to make a more Biblical statement? We are agree that the Word of God gave up His rights and His authority in order to become man and then in time God told Him when He could take authority again and eventually He was given back all authority that He had in the beginning in His existence as God.

    You argue that Christ gave up said authority to be the Bridegroom. But both during His time on earth and now, He has authority.

    What I was arguing is that the Word gave up His authority and His rights in order to become man. When He was walking on this earth there were times that He did not exercise His authority and times that He did not know things like who touched him and when He is coming back. It was the Father who chose when and where Jesus could exercise expressions of His authority.

    Therefore, your argument that Christ gave up His authority to be the Church’s Bridegroom CANNOT logically be correct.

    There is nothing illogical about this at all. The church has always believed that the Word gave up his rights so that he could live like us as a human being. He was not walking around as a five year old with all authority. Rather he learned obedience as a human and when the Father decided, Jesus acted in obedience with the Father’s choice to exercise parts of His dominion.

    Furthermore, in Ephesians 5:22-33, Paul explicitly relates the proper mutual interaction of husband and wife as a parallel of Christ and His bride the Church.

    That is true, however the church has always known that Paul did not give the example of Jesus and the church as a full example of a human husband and wife for no mere husband is the Savior of his wife.

    In the marriage union the husband holds the same relation, namely, that of headship, as Christ holds to the Church, and the headship of the one represents the headship of the other.” With regard to the words, “and He Himself is the Saviour of the body,” the same authority says, “It is best taken as an independent clause, stating in a definite and emphatic way an important point in which Christ, who resembles the husband in respect to headship, at the same time differs from the husband.… The husband is head of the wife, and in that he is like Christ; but Christ is also that which the husband is not, namely, Saviour of that whereof He is Head.”
    Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament

    5:22–24. Most ancient writers expected wives to obey their husbands, desiring in them a quiet and meek demeanor; some marriage contracts even stated a requirement for absolute obedience. This requirement made sense especially to Greek thinkers, who could not conceive of wives as equals. Age differences contributed to this disparity: husbands were normally older than their wives, often by over a decade in Greek culture (with men frequently marrying around age thirty and women in their teens, often early teens).
    In this passage, however, the closest Paul comes to defining submission is “respect” (v. 33), and in the Greek text, wifely submission to a husband (v. 22) is only one example of general mutual submission of Christians (the verb of v. 22 is borrowed directly from v. 21 and thus cannot mean something different).
    Keener, C. S., & InterVarsity Press. (1993). The IVP Bible background commentary : New Testament (Eph 5:22).

  44. NN,
    You said:

    As such, the idea of authority is implicit within the construction of this passage. Just as Christ’s sacrifice was not of His authority – but of His very life.

    This is not true according to Philippians 2. The “normal” sacrifice talked about in Scripture is Jesus’ taking on our sin and dying for us, but Philippians makes it very clear that His act of taking on humanity was a great act of “giving up” himself for us to be just like us. This is why chapter 2 shows 2 acts of humility and a challenge to have the same humble attitude as Christ.

    Philippians 2:5–8 (NASB)
    5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,
    6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,
    7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.
    8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

    Notice that Paul says that Jesus “emptied Himself” to take on the form of a slave. Then at the end of His life He humbled Himself to the point of death. All of us are to have this same attitude and men are told to especially take this attitude towards their wives.

    Even so as we are told to obey the authority of Christ, wives are told to submit to their husbands – “even as to the Lord.”

    There is no term “authority” in Eph. 5:22. Rather wives are to do everything including submitting to their husbands to the glory of God. This has nothing whatsoever to do with the husband’s authority but rather the glory and praise of God.

    Colossians 3:17 (NASB)
    17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

    1 Corinthians 10:31 (NASB)
    31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

    Not because it is exacted by Christ (or the husband) but because it is right and proper to God’s ordination of the relationship.

    There is no “ordination” of the relationship that adds authority to the husband to override her will. In fact when you add an authority into the mix, the free will offering of her submission is no longer free by is by compulsion. Compulsion removes free will and submission is never to be under compulsion. Paul mentions this when he writes to Philemon regarding an act of his free will consent.

    Philemon 13–14 (NASB)
    13 whom I wished to keep with me, so that on your behalf he might minister to me in my imprisonment for the gospel;
    14 but without your consent I did not want to do anything, so that your goodness would not be, in effect, by compulsion but of your own free will.

    If a husband has been given the authority to override his wife’s free will, then there would be no need for willing submission. The answer would have been easy – the man takes out his trump card and then takes what he wants and does what he wants even if there is active opposition from his wife.

    The question we should all be asking at this point – is this what Christ does for His bride?

  45. To Elastigirl & Cheryl (#38 & 43)
    My question was never addressed:
    Rank clearly exists in relationships such as within the coastguard, parent to child, governor to citizen. If both people involved are christians, does this then negate the “rank” and authority intrinsic in the relationship?

  46. Dear Tiffany,

    It does make sense. (I don’t agree with you, but your explain is quite clear). Given your perspective on it, I withdraw my original objections with my apologies.
    Tiffany

    Apology accepted and no offense taken. Your good-hearted comment is accepted and I appreciate your gracious apology!
    🙂 Cheryl

  47. ”Lastly, Paul seemed to think that the marriage relationship does reflect the relationship of Christ and the Church (Eph 5:22-33). I think I’ll go with Paul on this one…”

    but you are not going with Paul on this one.

    ”For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body,[d] of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”[e] 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”

    The two shall become one flesh is a reference to marriage — of which Christ emulates. IOW Christ’s relationship with the church is likened to the oneness of a marriage. It is not the marriage relationship that reflects the Lord and the church. It is the relationship of Christ sacrificing Himself for the benefit of the church that is likened to a marriage. You have it backwards. And it is Christ’s example of sacrificial love that husbands are to emulate. It is always Christ that is the example. Human institutions cannot reflect or be the example of anything about God. God is the example of life and love which we must all learn to reflect.

  48. NN,
    No one is saying that there are no worldly “ranks”. However this post is about spiritual “ranks” that give one person a spiritual authority card to override another person’s will.

    So while I appreciate your question, it is out of order. I will consider answering if you have a spiritual authority question within marriage. I gave you a couple of real life examples and I wonder if you think that the man who submitted to his wife was wrong? Also do you believe that the man who forced his wife against her will was merely doing his spiritual duty toward her?

  49. TL,

    It is not the marriage relationship that reflects the Lord and the church. It is the relationship of Christ sacrificing Himself for the benefit of the church that is likened to a marriage. You have it backwards.

    You have worded this in an excellent and wise way! Thanks for challenging me with your wisdom!

  50. Susanna,
    You said:

    As far as governing authorities are concerned: they were given by God BECAUSE OF SIN (Rom 13) to punish evild-doers and give praise to the one’s who do good. There can be no comparison between an authority which is given at creation and one which is instituted because of sin, unless we of course agree with the early church and say that the man’s authority was given because the woman ruined it all by introducing sin, while the man was innocent.

    Excellent thought! The issue is indeed what God created at the beginning and unless complementarians can explain where God instituted an authority of Adam over Eve in the beginning and why He did so when He created them equal rulers, their views of authority imported into marriage can only be seen as worldly not God-given.

  51. By the way Susanna, I don’t think I said congratulations on your newest addition to the family! It is great to have you back even if it is between feedings!

  52. And I should also once more give a big THANK YOU to NN for joining us on this blog! Your comments continue to be gracious and I can tell that you are trying really hard to be thought-provoking. I affirm you as a brother in Christ and that means that there are likely lots of things that I can learn from you as you are needed in the body. I am also certain that there are many more things that we would be able to agree on in our Christian faith. Women in Ministry and the “role” of godly wives is something that we can debate about in a passionate way while still seeing each other as a child of God for whom Christ died. I hope that you will always feel welcome here even if we do not come to a complete agreement in these matters!

  53. Thanks Cheryl! Samuel is adorable, the cutest baby ever according to everyone who sees him. But… he is definitely a handful and beyond.

    NN, that you did not write anything about women teaching does not mean that it is not the logical outcome of your thinking. In comp. theology the church-home connection is a major tenent, based on the fact that the man was created first and has therefore authority over the woman. It is because of the man’s prior creation the comps claim God denies women the right to teach men.

    I don’t understand how comps can claim that the man has the same authority Christ has without making the man divine. Neither do I understand how they justify a man’s submission to another man. God the Father- God the Son is already used to further justify the submission of women to men, hence there really is no justification, or comparison, for a hierarchy between two men, which is why both Augustine and Thomas Aquinas wrote that a man became subject to another man by accident and was caused by sin. There is no way around the fact that submission to authority is caused by sin and was not part of original creation. Chrysostom wrote that neither God nor the man said anything about subjection to the woman and it was because of Eve’s sin that all women were subjected to men. This was also the view of Tertullian and Jerome. Augustine tried to create a creation based subjection of women to men, but he had to use Neo-Platonism to do so (just as Thomas Aquinas had to use Aristotle) and he contradicted himself at least five times.
    BTW, here’s the verse about Christ dying and becoming lord:

    Rom 14:9
    For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living (NKJV)

    Don’t forget that if you are trying to make the man the woman’s lord, she becomes his slave since “kyrios” refers to a slave owner, wherefore the early Christians called themselves the slaves of God. “Kyrios” can also refer to a polite way of addressing a man, and this is the way it is used in the NT when two equals address each other. If you try to make Abraham Sarah’s lord, you make Sarah Abraham’s slave.

  54. NN,

    Concerning your question: “Rank clearly exists in relationships such as within the coastguard, parent to child, governor to citizen. If both people involved are christians, does this then negate the “rank” and authority intrinsic in the relationship?”

    My view coincides with what seems to be the obvious answer. Legitimate authority is to be respected, and when at an impasse of disagreement authority is to be deferred to. Where legitimate authority exists, that is.

    Perhaps it’s different with you, but with me and everyone I know, rank is simply not intrinsic to any of our personal relationships (except with our children, for their own good, of course) — our world of “hierarchy” is very limited [employer, government, court of law, police / fire fighters in an emergency, someone with expertise in saving lives,…(my piano teacher)…] I may be overlooking something, but truly this is about it.

    If legitimate authority existed in a husband’s relationship to his wife, then yes she should defer to him. But its legitimacy is unconvincing. But beyond being intellectually convinced, if I turn off the compulsion to study, analyze, dissect so as to articulate a water-tight defense of my views of this subject, and simply step back and allow myself to untwist and feel what it is to be a human being who is lucky enough to find love with another human being, and to celebrate by loving each other freely…. the addition of this authority notion just seems so unnatural and non-intuitive for a love relationship. A relational stranglehold.

    Besides, my husband and I are having too much fun being a onesome. Why complicate it with an org chart and suspect rules and more rules leading to questions answered by yet even more rules, and so on.

  55. Here’s what I know, very intimately, about the distortion and the abuse of certain scriptures, that the churchianity culture has used to mentally ‘lobotomize’ women.

    Here, I’ll take this one as example,

    Philippians 2:5–8 (NASB)
    5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,
    6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,
    7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.
    8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross

    Yes, HE emptied Himself,

    and countless women for Jesus not only self-negate themselves and are forced to empty themselves, forced to endure marital rape, forced to endure abuse, cruelty, stripping of any self or self thought, decision, rendered less human than a dog is less animal even, [meaning animals have rights to more animal rights than many Christian women have to Human Rights in a marriage],

    is that Jesus, yes obeyed unto death, Jesus Also rose up from the DEAD, with HIS SOUL STILL INTACT.

    What men have done to women using that scripture and distorting them, in this death cult Lobotomy pedophilia creation worship that is yes, based on the sale of girls in ancient Greece to Pedophile men a decade older just like it still goes on today in Yemen and in Afghanistan [with suicide rates among teen girls Extremely high],

    is assassinate a woman’s SOUL. SHE doesn’t RISE UP BRETHREN,

    SHE DIES A SLOW SOUL DEATH.

    SHE doesn’t RISE UP.

    To kill a woman in this way is NOT the same thing that Paul tell us to do as living sacrifices, it is apples and oranges, to Die for Jesus Christ is one thing,

    to let Satan destroy your soul through a husband using scriptures distorted to do so, is a whole other different ballgame. It is occultic, it is deadly, it is poisonous, and it is Murder,

    simply put, it’s a clever use of God’s Word engineered by Satan to kill and murder the Souls of Women and it has killed thousands. It kills her soul, it kills Love, she obeys from fear and allegiance to Jesus at the same time hating Him, making a mockery of everything the the Cross was for,

    which was to Redeem us from the power of sin, not throw us into the yoke of slavery to the soul destruction of Satan, cleverly twisting scriptures around to give License to men/husbands to perform slow soul lobotomies on their own wives.

    Want to know what ancient cultures did lobotomies? Well the Mayans for one, they would take out the brains,

    the worship of gods and serpents. That practice/or ritual was pretty popular in those ancient days, and they are doing it today, using Christian religion, authority scriptures, to women,

    except they don’t use a rock and a pit today, oh no, they use slow cruel methods of taking away a woman’s thoughts, feelings, decision capabilities, and will, and rendering her nothing more than a lobotomized child who never says NO and who’ll take any type of abuse without objection, all the while she is thinking this is what Jesus wants of her, to empty herself out and she never can figure out Why,

    there is no Joy of the Holy Spirit or why she deep down thinks God is nothing more than a manipulative lying despot who wanted nothing more than Slaves using women as practice and that love is nothing but a crock lie—and we Wonder why woman are leaving the church in droves [or winding up dead or in a catatonic state and just some Christian spewing vegetable?].

    That isn’t God, oh no, it’s Satan, cleverly masking himself and numerous men and women are peddling this lie, using the Cross to do so–physically dying to the obedience is one thing, Jesus wasn’t Lobotomized,

    what is being done to women today [and always has been] using those scriptures IS nothing more than a sinister LOBOTOMY, and there IS no resurrection, just one more, Assassinated Soul death of a Woman, done in the name of Jesus, which is the worst of all.

    Jane

  56. Well said, Elastigirl!
    The only place where authority and submission is an intrinsic part of life is the army, which is why comps try very hard to make a marriage equivalent to an army, the husband being the officer and wife the private. But an army must have a purpose for its own existence, with set rules for its conduct. What does the husband-wife team fight against? Debbile Lowe from Mercy Chefs, currently serving in Haiti, put it well: if the wife is the private, she does all the work, i.e. the fighting. In this case it should be the husband who stayed at home, while the wife went out to the world to fight the enemy, who or whatever it was.

  57. “If both people involved are christians, does this then negate the “rank” and authority intrinsic in the relationship?”

    NN, how does one add rank and authority to “oneness” without destroying the oneness.

  58. Elastigirl,
    Really well said!

    TL,
    I agree with your question. Adding rank and authority to a “one flesh” union is like trying to mix oil and water and then finding oneself frustrated how come it doesn’t work like we had been led to believe it should.

    A true loving relationship for a woman will never place her under compulsion to obedience. A true loving relationship will flourish with respect and sacrifice for both so that the one flesh union will be there without removing the personhood of each partner.

    Jane,
    I hear deep pain in your writing. I can honestly say that I know what that pain feels like because it was our frustrating experience with the rank, authority and submission model for many years. It is odd but one would think that the man would be happy to have the trump card and the authority to make a decision even against his wife’s will, but sadly deep down inside most men are really not satisfied in this kind of hierarchical relationship. Although their flesh can love the power trip, inside it is not even close to having a one-flesh union with a full partner and joint heir.

    But I do know that many women have had their personalities removed to the point that there is nothing left but a shell because men have bought into a system that leaves full responsibility on their shoulders. Some Christian men feel such stress at having to answer to God for their wives that they struggle so hard to try to force their wives into a mold. In essence they end up usurping the Holy Spirit’s job and it frustrates and discourages them. And women who are so frustrated at having to become something that they are not by a husband pressured to get an A+ on his family report card with God can find themselves losing hope and losing themselves.

    In their frustration they can think that they are the problem not even recognizing that it is the “system” that is flawed. It is the worldly system that makes the husband responsible before God for his wife and responsible for every decision in the marriage.

    I am greatly saddened by the harm that has come to marriages and spouses who can’t make this hierarchical system work. I, myself, wasn’t even allowed to make mistakes until God intervened in our marriage and He directly told my husband to leave me alone to be a person. It was an extremely hard time for a man who was taught that he had to make things work and he was responsible to make me what I should be. When we dropped the hierarchy and the rank and forced subordination, we never looked back. I can now breathe and be a person and I even have the freedom to make mistakes. And because of this I have grown as a person in ways that I could never have grown when I was under an authority. What I have seen personally is that in many marriages the hierarchical system produces dependent women unable to fully mature and frustrated men who tend toward an unhealthy dictatorial style rulership. When we can give this up and allow the Lord Jesus to be our only master, His burden becomes light on our shoulders and He makes a way where there seemed no way to see happiness and true peace.

    I love those men who are still in the hierarchical system but who have decided that unless there is a great emergency, they will never take out their male trump card. And all their lives they live without the trump card on the table, just as we now live.

  59. NN said:

    “let us say that two christian’s are both serving in the coast guard and are in disagreement over the best course of action to take. The higher rank gives an order than the lower rank does not think is the best idea. Should the lower ranking officer follow the order (as is required by their relationship as officers in the coast guard) or does their relationship as christians change this? Or when a father tells his son something that his son disagrees with – does this mean that the son is free to disobey his father? (that would certainly change my perspective on some rebellious actions of my teenage years…)”

    With regard to this kind of comparison, or to an employer-employee, or policeman-citizen, or any other such comparison– here’s the difference.
    My employer has authority over me in a limited sense, based on the fact that he is the one paying me, and I am the one doing the work for which he is paying me. But if I meet him at the grocery store after work, he has no authority over me. He can’t tell me to buy one product and not another, he can’t tell me to come back to the office and take a letter. And his authority over me is not due to his nature or my nature, but only to the contract we entered into. He was not born to bosshood, and I was not born to employeeship. If this were a feudal society, that would be the case– but in a free economy, it is not so.
    A coast guard officer has limited authority over his subordinate based on their association in that organization. Once the subordinate has finished his tour of duty, the officer has no authority over him. And the authority is not inherent to the officer, but is a product of his training and appointment as an officer. He was not born with the right to be an officer.
    A policeman has authority over a citizen only while that policeman wears the badge. If the policeman is fired or quits, he has no authority. And the policeman’s authority is based on his training and expertise, not on anything inherent within himself. He was not born a policeman, born to be in authority over those who were born private citizens.
    But in a complementarian marriage, the husband has authority over his wife at all places and at all times. She has no choice in the matter– her only choice is whether or not to get married. If she does marry, the question is not if she will be under authority, but only whose authority she will be under (who she will marry). If I started my own company and hired employees of my own, there could be a case in which my employer might work for me and call me boss. But in marriage, there is no case in which it is possible for their roles to be reversed. She MUST marry into the subordinate role. And her husband’s authority comes not from training, but from something inherent in him at birth. By being born a man, he was born to be in authority in marriage, and by being born a woman, she was born to be under his authority.
    So– in what way is that comparable to any other authority structure in a free society? Other than the parent-child relationship (which the child gets to grow out of, while the wife never does), a free society does not allow for authority-by-privilege-of-birth. We have no aristocracy, no divine right of kings, no white masters and black slaves, any more. We don’t because these privilege-by-birth relationships were eventually understood to be fundamentally unequal.
    Even so is the authority-subordination model of marriage fundamentally unequal. Giving lip service to its equality will never make it so.
    People used to think that God granted kings divine right; that God created the aristocracy to rule the peasantry; that God gave the white race supremacy over the black. These used to be vehemently upheld by those who used scripture to support their position– but no more. These things were eventually seen to be contrary to the Biblical picture of the kingdom of God, where we are all equal in His eyes. Scriptures about men and women that are interpreted in contradiction to this basic principle that all who are in Christ are “kings and priests,” need to be re-evaluated.

  60. Ah. This is the post I have long been waiting for. I find it excellent. You and I quibble over the reason for a wife’s likely reluctance to submitting but I see no need to belabor that here.

    One thing I might add. There always seems to be this need to make “head”=”source” in Egalitarian circles. We should not forget that the head/body metaphor is in use here. In this context, “head” means the anatomical head in its relationship to the anatomical body. Metaphorically, it could have the sense of “source”, but I am not so sure there aren’t better interpretations.

  61. Elastigirl said: “I would hazard a guess that your approach would work just fine in your marriage, my marriage, or anyone’s marriage. The fact of the matter is our lives are full of relationships without any “additional constraints on proper conduct” beyond mutual respect and mutual submission. Tough disagreements can be worked through (surely not without compromise, sacrifice, some pain), but just as surely without any need to “pull rank” or play the authority card to reach the resolution.”

    You are exactly right. In my marriage, if my wife and I can not agree on an issue where we hold equal standing (which is the vast majority), then we mutually decide not to decide until we have prayed about and explored the issue further. Nowhere is this more important than on major issues like how to spend large amounts of money. I made the mistake once of ignoring my wife’s resistance, apprehensions, and intuition, and exercised “authority” regarding an investment strategy. It cost us $35k. No more. Fool me once….

    If my wife and I have a strong disagreement about something, it is a red flag that maybe we need to give the matter further consideration. Until we can either come to concensus or work out a compromise, neither of us moves forward. Ours is a no-trump marriage..

  62. Gengwall, because the metaphor is one of head of and body of, I suspect that the overall picture is one of connectivity and needing to stay connected for life of the relationship. Individually, we see the body needing to support the head for the life of both; and the head needing to nurture the body in order to maintain it’s own life as well.

  63. I agree TL. When Paul uses head/body metaphors, the picture is always of symbiosis and equality. The important point is that head and body do not form a hierarchy, they form a unity.

  64. gengwall, it is so good to see your name pop up again! You were missed!

    Ah. This is the post I have long been waiting for. I find it excellent.

    Thanks! I really struggled at dealing with Ephesians 5 because it is not directly involved with women in ministry. So I procrastinated and procrastinated until I got two emails back to back on the same day on this same subject and that really pricked my conscience that it was time for me to deal with submission in marriage. There will be more in the future on the other marriage submission Scriptures.

  65. “gengwall, it is so good to see your name pop up again! You were missed!”

    I have been focusing all my energies as of late on my daughter’s upcoming wedding. That and politics, but that’s another blog.

  66. Great thoughts everyone!
    What comps can never answer is why slavery exists in the Bible since it was abolished using biblical principles. They, as NN does here, say that Paul used the same word of both slaves and wives, and since we know slaves had to obey, so must also wives. They ignore entirely the fact that slaves were considered equals in the early church, as were women, and that it was only when the church married Rome that the freeborn Romans could not tolerate the idea of viewing their slaves as their equals, wherefore the slaves were returned to their former position of inferiority. Augustine wrote that slavery could not be abolished in the Christian Rome because it would have destroyed society and as a Roman, he was concerned foremostly that order should be preserved. He did however recognize that slavery was a result of sin and acknowledged the slave’s right to seek a better master if he lived under a harsh one, and to ultimately seek freedom. Augustine had some issues with his overbearing mother and his own inability to control himself, wherefore he chose celibacy. This is clealry reflected in his view on marriage which he sees through the eyes of Plotinus, the creator of Neo-Platonism in the third century. Because he equated the man with the soul and the woman with the body, and because Plato wrote that the body is always trying to control the soul and hinder its ascent to higher things, i.e God, he ascribed rule to the man. This rule began after sin, and in his writing on Gen 3.16 he calls the woman the flesh and the man the soul which rules the flesh. Prior to sin, at creation, Augustine saw the man representing reason and the woman appetite within the soul. He changed the terms a few times depedning on which book you read. But most significantly, he wrote in his treatise on Eph 5 that the woman is not called flesh in the epistle because the flesh is sinful. He wrote also that the man is called the spirit (i.e the soul), for he needed it for his model to work, but which is untrue, for the man is called the head. His contradictions clearly demonstrates that the woman’s subjection began after sin and that every attempt to make it a creation based model fails.

  67. One thing I might add. There always seems to be this need to make “head”=”source” in Egalitarian circles. We should not forget that the head/body metaphor is in use here. In this context, “head” means the anatomical head in its relationship to the anatomical body. Metaphorically, it could have the sense of “source”, but I am not so sure there aren’t better interpretations.

    I agree. There is the meaning of source in 1 Co 11 according to the context but kephale in this passage is used in a metaphor. Therefore I think it has a different though similar meaning to “source”.

  68. I agree TL. When Paul uses head/body metaphors, the picture is always of symbiosis and equality. The important point is that head and body do not form a hierarchy, they form a unity.

    Think I had read somewhere quite a while ago someone giving the meaning of “source of unity”, er something like that…I might be able to find the info…

  69. “Think I had read somewhere quite a while ago someone giving the meaning of “source of unity”, er something like that…”

    Ephesians 4:16 may come closest to this idea:

    “we are to grow up in all {aspects} into Him who is the head, {even} Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”

  70. I forgot to mention that Augustine equated the man with reason and the woman with the irrational appetite within one human being in an effort to make the man the ruler from creation, however he wrote also that Gen 1 clearly states that God created a man and a woman and that these two cannot be considered as representing the reason and appetite within one human being. The reason for this contradiction is that in the first mentioned instance he used allegory, which was common in the Alexandrian school of theology, in the second, he used the method of a literal interpretation.
    Augustine’s attempt clearly shows also that he understood marriage as a one body unity, for why else would he argue that the man and the woman represented two parts of the one soul. He was also adamant that the word “head” when applied to Christ always denoted the unity he has with his body, the church.

  71. NN wrote:
    “Rank clearly exists in relationships such as within the coastguard, parent to child, governor to citizen. If both people involved are christians, does this then negate the “rank” and authority intrinsic in the relationship?”

    It baffles me each time I see comps/hierarchists make this claim. There is no Scripture telling Christians to take authority over their children.
    There are not any Scriptures telling parents to force their children to obey them. Jesus doesn’t force us to follow Him – He leads by loving example. “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”

    Jesus explicitly told us NOT to conduct our relationships according to the government model – But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

  72. To All,
    Rather than try to answer individual comments (there have been many), I wish to address two threads which have emerged and which I see converging to the core of the question. Let me address these questiosn, make a couple of aside remarks, and then tie them together by examining the very concept of “Christian authority”:

    1) Despite the pushback about specific instances of authority – it seems that there is general understanding that legitimate authority can exist within human Christian relationships. If this is true then a logical corollary of this truth is that Ephesians 5:21 is NOT incompatible with authoritative hierarchy within Christian relationships. Therefore Ephesians 5:21 is compatible with a hierarchical understanding of marriage. (It doesn’t by itself prove it – proof is made clear from other passages as outlined here.) And of course none of these (governor-citizen, parent-child, inter-officer, etc.) authority structures is exactly like marriage just as none of them is exactly like the others. Each relationship is of course different, but in all of them authority legitimately exists and is not in conflict with right Christian behavior.

    2) TL asked a good question: “how does one add authority to “oneness” without destroying the oneness?”
    – I will not answer “how” that is a much longer (though very worthwhile) conversation. But we see that Christ, Bridegroom of the Church, has authority over the Church. Whatever you believe about how and when He got that authority – He has it NOW and will have it forevermore (Matt 29:18, etc.) and He is the Bridegroom now and forevermore (Eph 5:22-33, 2 Cor 11:2, Rev:19:7). Therefore we have an example of a relationship of “oneness” in which there is yet authority. And in fact it is this very relationship which which Paul explicitly compares to human marriage in which the Bridegroom rightly has authority.

    Asides:

    a) I never said “spiritual” or not, the question was of whether there was some kind of authority – what kind it may be is a separate and subordinate question.
    If you will do me the courtesy of listening to what I say and not what “camp” you must therefore presume I must be in (or Augustine, Tertullian, etc.), we will make much more headway.

    MOST IMPORTANT – Read this if you read nothing else!
    • But let me be clear for this is more important than all the rest. – there is problem which we will very naturally encounter regarding any contemplation of authority derives from our all-too-human experience with authority, both its abuse and its temptations. It is not wrong that human authority should exist, but the very power of it makes it natural to abuse. Just as with sex, food, or money; power and authority are not wrong of themselves but certainly can be carried out so wrongly that they we may be tempted to wonder what good could come of them. And our Lord, who has ultimate authority over us taught us about this. In Matthew 23, Luke 22 and elsewhere. He taught his disciples about the temptations and abuse of power. Christ does not say that greatness does not exist: He says rather that our ideas about “greatness” are all wrong. The whole point of the authority which Christ commands is to be looking outside ourselves, just as the love to which we are commanded differs so fundamentally from the selfishness of worldly love. The authority of Christ over us is complete, He is our God and our Lord – it could be no other. But His authority was one not to come and be served as a king of men to demand obeisance, rather He considered our need and in ultimate love took upon Himself to do what we could not. Any complementarian male who feels smug or complacent with the idea that they “have authority” has misunderstood every lesson about Christian authority which Christ Himself lived out for us (and any complementarian woman who has experience this misunderstanding lived out will rightly feel hurt by this). This is in fact exactly what Paul tells husbands in Ephesians 5 – in Christ, “authority” is not about my comfort, it is not about the fact that I would really like a glass of iced tea right now. It is about the Good of those with whom I have oversight. Whether as a father, a master/employer, or a husband. Christian authority means that my responsibility is to their benefit – not my own comfort.

  73. NN – How is Matt 28:18 related to the marriage relationship of Christ and the church? Conversely, where is authority in view in the Christ/Church marriage relationship outlined in Ephesians 5, 2 Cor 11, or Rev 19:7? You are superimposing relationships – Christ to the world in one case, Christ to the church in another – and assuming the dynamic is the same in both. Furthermore, you completely miss, or conveniently ignore, Paul’s use of metaphor when he speaks of the head and the body. The fact that we have a meaning of authority in the English word “head” is irrelevant. The fact that we have authority structures in human relationships is irrelevant. What must be demonstrated is that there is authority of the literal anatomical head over the anatomical body. Without that, it can not be proven that Christ as the metaphorical head over the body has any authority over that body.

    In a metaphor, the characteristics of the vehicle (literal anatomical head and body) are assumed by the tenor (Christ/husband, church/wife). If hierarchy and authority are not attributes of the vehicle, then they can not be assumed to be attributes of the tenor. It doesn’t matter at all that those attributes are spoken of in other contexts; they are foreign to this context. Authority is never even in view when marriage, whether Christ to His church or generic husband to wife, are spoken of in scripture (1 Cor 7 excepted, where authority is reciprocal), in the context of the head/body metaphor.

  74. “Any complementarian male who feels smug or complacent with the idea that they “have authority” has misunderstood every lesson about Christian authority which Christ Himself lived out for us…”

    NN,
    I can certainly agree with the latter part of your statement, but not the first part. We can search and search for the words “authority” over anyone, but they are not there. They are not there in other verses used by hierarchists. Like:

    “So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive theunfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders.Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

    We don’t see the word “authority” in any of those verses either. In verse 2 the word translated as “oversight” has the meanings of “to care for, to look after” but no mention of “authority” in the definition. I do see the shepherds being told “And do not lord it over those entrusted to you, but be examples to the flock” a) Don’t try to be lords to those you care for. b) Do be examples. It is a warning for elders in the faith to be responsible. No authority given by God to anyone is mentioned.

  75. NN,

    You have not addressed the issue I raised at all, which is this: How is any authority based on the flesh (accident of birth) compatible with Christianity at all? Are we a kingdom of priests? Or are we a kingdom of priests and their wives?

  76. Therefore Ephesians 5:21 is compatible with a hierarchical understanding of marriage.

    At the time of the writing husbands had legal authority therefore v21 was compatible withing hierarchal marriage.

    …but in all of them authority legitimately exists and is not in conflict with right Christian behavior.

    The authority is worldy.
    Christ (the head) and the Church (the body) the union is not worldy.

  77. To Kristen (comment #79)
    You are correct – I didn’t, I didn’t want to address too many things at once lest we all get lost on a tangential rabbit trail.

    To answer:
    You presume that the nature of our birth is accidental.
    I do not.

    We must not ignore that the first chapter of Matthew was a geneaology – the Messiah was promised of a very specific lineage. In fact in the Torah – long before there was a Hebrew kingship at all – God established that the King of Israel would be born of the tribe of Judah and that the priests would be of the tribe of Levi. These are “accidents of birth” yet God chose to ordain them for His purposes. I feel highly uncomfortable suggesting that God was not quite as enlightened as our modern society has come to be.

  78. The fact that we have a meaning of authority in the English word “head” is irrelevant. The fact that we have authority structures in human relationships is irrelevant. What must be demonstrated is that there is authority of the literal anatomical head over the anatomical body. Without that, it can not be proven that Christ as the metaphorical head over the body has any authority over that body.

    This is ))))))gooood(((((((( *Eyes wide* 🙂

  79. NN, you wrote: “The authority of Christ over us is complete, He is our God and our Lord – it could be no other.”
    Again, you proved my point: Christ has authority because he is OUR GOD AND OUR LORD. Is the man the woman’s god and lord? What is the foundation of the man’s authority?

  80. You have not addressed the issue I raised at all, which is this: How is any authority based on the flesh (accident of birth) compatible with Christianity at all? Are we a kingdom of priests? Or are we a kingdom of priests and their wives?

    Interesting! Like how you’ve worded this.

  81. Follow up to comment # 81
    And perhaps I’d better specify. I therefore believe that men are “superior” any more than I believe that the Jews were “superior.” Certainly there were some advantages of being born a Jew in having been culturally entrusted with the oracles of God (Rom 3:2). Simply because one is entrusted with authority (e.g. governors, masters, parents, etc.) does not make them metaphysically “superior” over those whom they are charged.
    Certainly it is tempting to the carnal mind to think this way – but it is not in accordance with the new heart which is to center our being.

  82. I started to reply to NN but decided not to get entangled into yet one more debate on authority and not authority, blah blah blah…while I am yes a vocal women’s human rights advocate and I do not follow the conservative war mongering right wing culture nor the capitalist culture nor the whole misogynist patriarchal culture–based on my understanding of God’s Word, and I study it all the time, not by third party interpretations…I do believe in the verses of not ‘teaching or lording it’ over men but NOT for the same reasons given by Comps, not even close–but because of the angels [I do believe in the book of Enoch] and because of the spiritual hierarchy and from what I have read in OT–so I won’t teach, share, yes, teach no, besides, I look at it this way…if a man is bent on insisting on his rights to ‘authority’ he is either like Cheryl says misguided by fear, understandable OR he simply has not the FEAR of GOD, that and well, the whole thing with teaching–as James says in James, is some serious business, So,

    I won’t debate ‘law’, why I don’t have anything more to do with the church culture [and won’t anymore] and prefer to stay out here alone in the wilderness–

    but I will share, just some things about Authority, and I’ll use slavery as an example. What God does or doesn’t do with this is up to Him, I’ll leave it at that.

    Exodus 21, the treatment of Slaves/Servants [pay attention esp to Women, these were slaves, interesting how God, uses Authority]

    vs 1-4 [quick para, about a man slave who is freed but IF he has a wife that was from the Master/meaning daughter or cousin, etc. because THEN he could not Leave/be free and Take her and kids with him–only if the wife was not from the Master could he just walk away with his wife–and Only then, if the wife was related to the Master, then it says]
    “And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children, I will not go free: Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall Serve him FOR EVER.

    [God obviously thought enough to Protect any wife of a slave from being abused in another nation or not under HIS protection/AUTHORITY to the point where even a man who by Law could be free could NOT take that woman/kids outside of God’s Protection/AUTHORITY. So–slave women-wives of slaves were very Protected under God’s AUTHORITY].

    Then it goes on to say, IF a man sells his daughter [Eved laws in Judaism say that this was daughters sold by pagan men…but the Bible just says IF a man, there was debt bondage or repayment then so obviously daughters were sold] but then it goes on to say, now this is slaves…WOMEN, UNDER AUTHORITY,

    vs 7- “IF a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, SHE SHALL NOT GO OUT AS THE MENSERVANTS DO [meaning be free after jubilee]…” IF she please not her master, who hath BETROTHED HER TO HIMSELF [so taking a female slave was Betrothal, MEANING SHE WAS PART OF FAMILY] then shall he LET HER BE REDEEMED: TO SELL HER UNTO A ‘STRANGE NATION’ HE SHALL HAVE NO POWER, seeing HE HATH DEALT ‘DECEITFULLY’ WITH HER…

    so here is a slave girl/woman, who is considered by GOD and HIS AUTHORITY to be betrothed and not only that, she if is even redeemed/meaning bought back, that man dealt Deceitfully with her, so that Slave woman to GOD and in GOD’S EYES had more rights than what Christian wives do in most marriages by doctrine–kind of ironic don’t you think…it gets better,

    And if he hath BETROTHED HER UNTO HIS SON HE SHALL DEAL WITH HER AFTER THE MANNER OF DAUGHTERS…

    it gets better,

    IF he take him another ‘wife’ [after he has betrothed the Slave woman]; HER food [meaning the slave wife], her raiment, and HER DUTY OF MARRIAGE [not To marriage but under Judaic law men have Duties to Wives and they are signed and they are to be adhered to and most Christian men wouldn’t even meet the standards by far] SHALL HE NOT DIMINISH. AND IF HE DO NOT THESE THREE UNTO HER [THE SLAVE WIFE] THEN SHALL SHE GO OUT FREE WITHOUT MONEY [meaning her having to pay/or her family the money back that was exchanged for her servant-slavery].

    now let’s go on to some more AUTHORITY,

    Exodus 21: 26,27 “And if a man smite the eye of his servant/slave or the eye of his MAID, [same woman/girl above] that it perish; he shall let him go free for his eye’s sake. And if he smite out his manservant’s tooth OR HIS MAID SERVANT’S TOOTH; he shall let him go free for his tooth’s sake.

    You know, under AUTHORITY, over SLAVES, WOMEN, God didn’t tolerate abuse, dictatorship, mistreatment and Jesus did NOT overturn that–HE adds to it, saying you’ve heard it said eye for an eye and tooth for an tooth, but now it’s more, now it’s even if you call a brother a fool/RACA or basically if you wound their soul–get it right/reconciled OR ELSE MEET THE JUDGE…

    PRETTY darn serious if you ask me, if GOD made Strict provisions [and there are numerous all through the OT about the treatment of Women under AUTHORITY] for the treatment of SLAVE WOMEN who had less ‘hierarchical’ rights than the wife wife–then uh, we might want to go back and LEARN WHAT GOD’S USE OF ‘AUTHORITY’ IS,

    because the Penalties that God metered out to those who Disobeyed those COMMANDS were quite severe, and that was towards SLAVE WOMEN. Just imagine, what it is towards Wives/one flesh–

    like it’s getting toasty hot in here, because the fact is, the rates of Abuse to Christian Women wives is far Worse than what the SLAVE WOMEN UNDER ‘GOD’S ‘AUTHORITY’ WERE BACK IN B.C.

    Paul was Well aware of those laws as were the Jews back in His day, so they knew, KNEW what Authority under GOD meant and what it did NOT mean. They also KNEW the contracts and Duties that Husbands had towards Wives and they were [and still are under Judaic law though many men have twisted or added to them to Avoid having to Obey] far more than just being the ‘god king’ demanding this demanding that and lording it over and only providing food and shelter [IF they do that even],

    so like Jesus and how HE treats with HIS AUTHORITY WHICH IS ABOVE ALL ELSE is not Anything, like so many have misconstrued today, and two things that come out very strongly about Women in OT, even among Slaves,

    they were NOT to be raped, they were NOT to be abused, they were NOT to be tossed off like garbage, they were NOT to be harmed, neglected, not even Slave women–they were not to be trafficked, sold, used for sex slavery, etc. Even the concubines, had rights similar to Wives, and when they were abused God repaid. King Agag [the one Saul spared] was sawed to pieces for making women childless with sword, meaning raped, not killed, dead women can’t have children..not Israeli women only, but WOMEN,

    God don’t mess around with abuse, mistreatment of WOMEN, period. There are hundreds of scriptures all Over the Bible about what God does to those who Abuse AUTHORITY, who abuse WOMEN,

    but it’s not taught today…the slave man had to Sacrifice his FREEDOM if he wanted to keep his wife that was a Daughter of Israel, NOT the other way around.

    So–I’ll leave it at that–yes there is Authority in the Bible–we are servants, All of us,

    but I would hate to be facing God’s wrath for abusing Authority–no where, NO WHERE, IN GOD’S WORD, DOES HE ‘WINK, WINK’ AT ANY AUTHORITY, USING ‘AUTHORITY’ WHEN THEY ABUSE, MISTREAT, VERBALLY ABUSE, CONTROL, DEMONIZE, STOMP ON, WOMEN.

    even SLAVE WOMEN.

    pretty serious–I’ll leave it at that, anyone who wants to argue can take it up with the AUTHORITY OF ALL AUTHORITY,

    GOD HIMSELF.

    Jane

  83. Yes, the argument that the head has to have authority over the body is a superb one. I would answer the argument with this: the head can send a commandment for the limbs to move, but the limbs can also command the head to send the signal. I.e. if you put your hand in a fire, the hand will send a signal to the head that it should make the hand move. In this case it is the hand that commands the head to take action, it does not originate from the head. There is one thing the brain cannot do and that is to regulate the heart which is vital for the existence of the entire body. I.e the head does not have absolute authority over the body.

  84. To Gengwall, pinklight & susanna (comments #77, 82, 88)

    Since this seems to have struck a cord, I feel compelled to point something out. (Not that I think it proves anything to the case in hand).
    Anatomically the brain does control the body not the other way around (go for it, type a response back, it’s your brain sending those little signals), not your fingers telling the brain what you should think. Susanna pointed out that the hand can also send signals to the brain, but this is to be expected in any working system. However, the brain is still in control (ever dug a needle out of your hand, it hurts; your pain reaction wants you to move and your brain has to force your body to keep still).

    Again, not that it proves anything to this case but it is anatomically clear that the brain does have primary control over the body; when this doesn’t happen it is called paralysis and is a bad thing.

  85. Oh, missed it –
    Not true about the heart by the way. It is regulated by the brain. In fact if we train ourselves then we can consciously alter our own heart-rate. We can’t will it to stop beating completely because this is controlled by regions of the brain (particularly the brainstem) that we don’t consciously have access to – but is still a function of the brain (“in the head”) nonetheless.

  86. “Yes, the argument that the head has to have authority over the body is a superb one. I would answer the argument with this: the head can send a commandment for the limbs to move, but the limbs can also command the head to send the signal. I.e. if you put your hand in a fire, the hand will send a signal to the head that it should make the hand move. In this case it is the hand that commands the head to take action, it does not originate from the head. There is one thing the brain cannot do and that is to regulate the heart which is vital for the existence of the entire body. I.e the head does not have absolute authority over the body.”

    Amen to that and that is what is So neat about GOD’S AUTHORITY, if one part of the BODY is hurting, the entire BODY is effected, it can’t work like it should, so the HEAD always looks out for the HEALTH of the body [unless it’s sadomasochist] so that the BODY can function to do the HEAD’S WILL.

    But today, we have Thousands of hurting Parts of the BODY [WOMEN AND CHILDREN] who are bleeding profusely, who are dying off, who are even cutting themselves off from the BODY to escape harmful CELLS [iniquity, abuse Enabled by distorted Authority teachings, etc] that are taking over and killing parts off the BODY. We have parts of the BODY that don’t even Move, they’ve been in chains for years, and the worst,

    numerous parts of the BODY that are DEAD from FROSTBITE, the love of many grown cold because of iniquity [generational abuse].

    So yes, Jesus is the HEAD OF A BODY,

    THAT HAS DYING AND DEAD PARTS…BLEEDING PROFUSELY,

    not by enemies from the OUTSIDE of the body only, but enemies from within…and those that are ‘supposed’ to be the Head so they claim, are protecting the very cells that are killing off parts of the BODY–

    go figure, odd.

    a BODY with dying parts, lobotomized parts, empty shells, one would think,

    it would just be a whole lot easier to replace those dying parts with machinery–like those borg ‘female’ robots they are working on in Japan that will do any sexual thing demanded, will obey and will worship and not even blink an eye, of course they are Robots, but hey,

    the perfect obedient submissive Woman. Maybe if the BODY replaces the broken/parts with Robot Women–then the Whole Body will be in perfect Unity,

    oh I can feel the love already.

    [sarcasm but maybe it will prick a few consciences, to Think, to really Think on the Fruits, because the BODY IS HURTING, in a really horrible way, at least, ONE HALF OF IT, by their OWN BRETHREN.]

    Jane

  87. NN, the brain does not control the circulatory system which is controlled by the heart. I.e. the head needs the blood which is pumped by the heart and thus circulated throughout the body, but the head cannot make the heart pump more or less blood. If this was the case, we wouldn’t have strokes, for the brain would be able to control the bloodflow to the brain.

  88. NN, yes, authority is compatible with Christianity but only because of sin. Children need parental guidance because of their inability to control their sinful impulses, etc. For your argument to hold true, you must prove that humans would have needed an authority figure while living in a sinless world. God’s authority stems from his role as a creator, what is the foundation for the man’s?

  89. To Comment # 92
    Yes people can. This has been known since at least the mid 70s. Do a search on google scholar for some of the papers on it. Typical name for it is usually something like “biofeedback control of heart rate.” Once again our conscious control exists but is limited. The primary control comes through our autonomic nervous system (particularly in the brain stem).
    [Once again, doesn’t prove anything to the present topic – just a response to an untrue statement that was made, and a fact that I find rather interesting]

  90. Thank you NN, you know I was just about to walk off and then you posted what is Brilliant,

    “Anatomically the brain does control the body not the other way around (go for it, type a response back, it’s your brain sending those little signals), not your fingers telling the brain what you should think. Susanna pointed out that the hand can also send signals to the brain, but this is to be expected in any working system. However, the brain is still in control (ever dug a needle out of your hand, it hurts; your pain reaction wants you to move and your brain has to force your body to keep still).

    Again, not that it proves anything to this case but it is anatomically clear that the brain does have primary control over the body; when this doesn’t happen it is called paralysis and is a bad thing.”

    So, taking your analogy then, let’s look at this,

    being that WE have a BODY under the HEAD [JESUS’S AUTHORITY] that has dying parts, frostbitten parts, bleeding profusely parts, majority of them women, children, who are abused, raped, [not just Catholic Priests btw, the rape of children/women in Christian homes is Epidemic–fact, the child abuse-murder is horrendous, fact] then uh,

    EITHER JESUS IS KILLING OFF HIS OWN BODY

    OR

    THERE IS A HEAD, THAT AIN’T

    JESUS.

    AND THE BODY IS SUBMITTING TO THE WRONG

    HEAD.

    just saying…

    [that whole ‘son of perdition revealed in the Temple’ thing, you know, temple, OT it was Temple/building, temple in NT is the human being]

    so maybe the Issue isn’t so much should we obey Authority [women] so much as WHO’S AUTHORITY

    ARE WE/YOU

    OBEYING?

    ARE we allowed due to ‘authority’ to obey SATAN? Just because it’s through the Head of Husband? Sure seems that way–if you look at the FRUITS of the damage to the BODY. Either that, or Jesus,

    hates Himself, at least half of Himself.

    IF, we use that analogy–which we Should because then the Fact is clearly Evident, something is surely amiss, the head being pushed today, is not Jesus Christ, but an IMPOSTOR. [unless we then are just going to claim that thousands, not one, not two, not a disgruntled ten, but THOUSANDS of Christian women are lying about their pain, or that, it’s simply not relevant, that Jesus hates women…if that be the case, then, it really is more like Islam–women are just ‘fields to be tilled’. But then, you know, Islam means, SUBMISSION. Why really it shouldn’t be too much of a difficulty to transfer over worship to Islam [or the Beast, don’t dare question Authority] when that time comes for many Christians, because it’s all about SUBMISSION, and we can’t disobey the Head or the Authority.

    Jane

    Jane

  91. NN- be careful what you wish for. Are you really suggesting that husbands should think for their wives and control every one of their actions (not that the brain does this but you seem to think it does)? Is that really where you want to go?

    The point is that the brain does not exercise “authority” over the body, nor is there any authoritarian hierarchy within the human body. Paul makes it perfectly clear that this equal, mutually dependent anatomical is mirrored in the Body of Christ, of which Christ is a part, in another anatomical metaphor in 1 Corinthians 12:11-27. Not only does Paul never say that the head commands the body, he explicitely states that the head cannot command the body.

  92. To Jane (comment # 95)
    Actually there are some interesting parallels in biology. I’m not sure what they prove but they are interesting…

    The body can of course come under attack from external sources (e.g. car accidents, plague infection, etc.) but one of the most prevalent difficulties is with internal attack when the body stops doing what it is supposed to.
    Cancer is one of the most common forms of this. When little parts of the body become “selfish” and “decide” that they are the “most important” part of the body. They begin sequestering resources that aren’t theirs and hurt the rest of the body to grow beyond their intended design – ultimately causing widespread death throughout the body – including the death of the cancer itself.

  93. Not only does Paul never say that the head commands the body, he explicitely states that the head cannot command the body.

    Always thought that was interesting.

  94. Ok, I googled the sites and yes, you are right, such therapy exists, but there is a logical fallacy in your statement. The brain can only correct an error in the system, not the system itself. The therapy is used to treat disases caused or made worse by stress or other mental issues and relaxation is the key. I.e. the problem originates in the brain, wherefore the brain can fix it. You can mentally reduce your heartbeats when you are under stress and thus calm yourself, but you cannot stop your blood from flowing, let’s say for 10 minutes. Neither can’t you stop your heart from beating, only the heart can do so.

  95. How does biofeedback work?

    Researchers aren’ t sure exactly how or why biofeedback works. However, there does seem to be at least one common thread: most people who benefit from biofeedback have conditions that are brought on or made worse by stress. For this reason, many scientists believe that relaxation is the key to successful biofeedback therapy. When your body is under chronic stress, internal processes like blood pressure become overactive. Guided by a biofeedback therapist, you can learn to lower your blood pressure through relaxation techniques and mental exercises. When you are successful, you see the results on the monitor, which encourages your efforts.
    http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/biofeedback-000349.htm

  96. To comment #99
    -As stated repeatedly, this is not an argument. I don’t believe that it proves anything regarding the question currently under discussion.

    That said, biofeedback has primarily been tested as a means of treating hypertension. But the effect itself is not limited to such a scope. The brain can also make the heart speed up (not just slow down). And this is just the conscious portion of the brain. The heart itself is regulated by the ANS – with primary control factors being located in the brainstem. (Apologies to the general group about the neurology tangent)

  97. NN wrote: “The body can of course come under attack from external sources (e.g. car accidents, plague infection, etc.) but one of the most prevalent difficulties is with internal attack when the body stops doing what it is supposed to.
    Cancer is one of the most common forms of this. When little parts of the body become “selfish” and “decide” that they are the “most important” part of the body. They begin sequestering resources that aren’t theirs and hurt the rest of the body to grow beyond their intended design – ultimately causing widespread death throughout the body – including the death of the cancer itself.”

    A very apt description of the practice of the man’s headship, don’t you think?

  98. The brain and the heart live in a perfect symbiosis, for although the brain can affect the heart, the heart can also affect the brain. A heart attack for instance will kill the brain in ten minutes, arythmia or a weak heart can cause less oxygen to flow to the brain causing dizziness and other problems. You need a body in which the head rules over the body entirely, being able to shut it down at will, not only to cause it to beat faster or slower. You need also a body in which the heart has no control over the head. And you need a marriage in which only the man has a brain and the woman doesn’t.

  99. All of this stuff about the brain controlling the body is imposing our modern understanding on Paul, who had no such understanding. To him, according to the way things were understood then, the heart was the seat of the will, mind and emotions. The head was the source of life for the body, that kept it functioning. It was not considered to be the control center for the body. Obviously no such “head-controls-body” metaphor for husband and wife was meant by the original author or understood by the original audience.
    As for the Levitical priesthood and such– NN, show me where God carried forward such choosing-according-to-birth into the New Covenant. please. On the contrary– the Book of Hebrews specifically tells us that the New Covenant supercedes the Levitical priesthood, and Galatians says God chooses “the child of the promise,” not the “child of the flesh” to be Abraham’s seed.
    The whole “Our birth is not accidental, therefore I’m born to rule over my wife, but I must understand that this is an obligation and a responsibility, not a privilege” is nothing more than the old “noblesse oblige” idea. I would like to know why the failed idea of “noblesse oblige” as being biblical or Christian, must continue to be carried into the husband-wife relationship when it has been discontinued in all other understandings of New Covenant human relations.

  100. One more thought: the heart begins to beat faster when there is less oxygen in the body. I.e. if you stop breathing the heart begins to beat faster in order to get more oxygen to the body. In this case the heart responds to a need the body has, but not according to the preferences of the brain, but in accordance of its created purpose: it was created to circulate oxygen through the circulatory system. The human may think it is controlling the heart when it lowers its heartbeat or makes it faster, but in actuality, the heart is only adjusting its speed in order to function according to its created purpose. A bran that is trying to adjust the heartrate “just because” will only hurt itself for it depends on oxygen. The same is tru of a marriage. A man who is trying to control his wife “just because” will only end up hurting himself.

  101. Kristen, you are absolutely correct: Paul would not have had any such thoughts, and he used the metaphor only to describe the unity of the head and body as they create one human being. But I think it is fascinating how God made the body in a way that it does reflect the beauty of marriage, when properly understood.

    NN, you are still ducking the one question I would like you to answer: what is the foundation of the man’s authority? God’s will? Then why did God will it?

  102. Suzanne: “A very apt description of the practice of the man’s headship, don’t you think?”

    Yes. I’ve seen this cancer destroy more than one marriage.
    Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutley.
    Crazy how men understand this in human government and church government but have a complete disconnect when it comes to husbands and wives.

    BTW (if this hasn’t been mentioned), using military or boss/employee examples of authority completely undermines the argument. Sex between Sr. officers and their subordinates and between bosses and employees is highly frowned upon in authority models.
    Sex between husband and wife where the husband holds all the authority is not a marriage. It is a master/slave(or concubine) or owner/property arrangement.

  103. Mara: You are right, sex between unequal parties in which one has the right to command and the other only to obey describes a master-slave relationship. This brings us to the next thought: the man’s rule is based on three things: power, sex and housework. The man wants power and sex (which will give him also children) but not the housework. This is why the freeborn Roman men had a wife, slaves and courtesans. The wife provided the children, the slaves did the housework and the courtesans provided the amusement. All three were available sexually for the man under whose authority they were (except the courtesan, who came the closest to equality with the man but only because the man had to pay for her services). The modern man tries to squeeze all of these from the one wife he marries and no wonder it is a disaster.

  104. The modern man tries to squeeze all of these from the one wife he marries and no wonder it is a disaster.

    Oh dear……….

  105. Gengwall, that was a brilliant thought! (that Paul says explicitly that the head cannot control the body) Come to think of it, this principle was behind Augustine’s concept of original sin. (I write so much about Augustine because I am studying his texts right now, but also because he gave us most of our theology whic his why the (almost) all theological thoughts lead to him). He observed that the mind cannot control the body and as an example he used unwanted erections which he could not get rid of regardless of how much he tried. Because of this observation, he argued that the body and the soul used to live in perfect harmony but when the mind corrupted the body through sin, the body begun to rebel against the mind and corrputs now the mind. This rebellion he equated with original sin. He was influenced by Manechianism and Platonism, in addition to the fourth century changes in theology, which led him to equate the rebellion with sexual passion. From this there was only a short step for him to transfer the whole concept to men and women, although he had to reverse the first part of the scenario: the woman corrupted the man, who corrupts all subsequent humans due to original sin (Adam’s sin being transmitted to posterity through natural generation), the man cannot control the woman, who rebels against the man and is therefore placed under the man’s authority, just as the soul must subdue the body.
    Comps use this argument when they find a connection between Gen 3.16 and 4.7 and argue that the woman rebels against the man, as sin tries to control humans, who must therefore rule over the woman.
    But once again the man’s rule is caused by the existence of sin, for what need was there of such a rule in the garden when the two were innocent of evil?

  106. Susannah,

    Why did God give ‘authority’ to the human pair over animals in the sinless world? To quote you “for what need was there of such a rule in the garden when the two were innocent of evil?”

    Maybe you can answer your own question? Maybe the animals were ‘evil’ when the humans were innocent and that’s why they needed authority?

    All biases aside, authority existed BEFORE the fall and sin! As NN has clearly pointed out, authority is not the sin, it’s the abuse of it that is the sin. I can’t see how you can argue that ‘rule’ is a consequence of sin, when clearly it was given before the fall.

    Thoughts??? My guess is your focus narrows down on ‘humans’ only and you missed this point that God had given authority pre-fall in the sinless, perfect world. Do you believe that authority is intrinsically tied into sin?

  107. All biases aside, authority existed BEFORE the fall and sin! As NN has clearly pointed out, authority is not the sin, it’s the abuse of it that is the sin.

    And may God give authority over a woman to the first sinless man.

    NN wrote on his blog,

    “And in each case the apostle acknowledges that these relationships are not symmetric. And we see that in the marital relationship – when there is “Eros” that this leads to the specific instruction of the wife to submit to the husband AND the husband to take responsibility over this to exercise a sacrificial love to care for his wife.”

    NN,

    Why have you so explicitly and openly denied the message in 1 Cor. 7 that the physical relationship must be at all times and in every way symmetric?

    I am very sad tonight as I see my daughter very upset at this teaching. It is centred on the submission of women to the erotic desire of men. I can’t say what I think. It is not fit for anyone’s ears. Christianity needs a thorough cleaning up.

    NN.,
    Please understand that others do not find any goodness or purity or honour in this teaching. We have lived the sorrow and would do anything to withdraw this sin and sorrow from another generation.

  108. This should have been a citation –

    “All biases aside, authority existed BEFORE the fall and sin! As NN has clearly pointed out, authority is not the sin, it’s the abuse of it that is the sin.”

  109. To Sue (comment #113)

    I have not denied any meaning in 1 Cor 7 and in fact previously discussed the meaning of this passage in discussion on this very blog here. And if you read what I wrote above – the proper use of the man’s authority is always to the good of his wife; not selfish exploitation of the woman’s sensuality without regard for her.

    Let me apologize for any unnecessary emotional turmoil that I have might caused. However, and to put a rather fine point on the matter – the question is not what some people may find offensive: from the ancient Pharisees and Sadducees to the Greeks and Romans, to the postmodern atheistic liberal or the modern Hindu or Muslim. The question is only what is God’s message and how we can obey (for He is our ultimate authority).

  110. gengwall asked “NN – How is Matt 28:18 related to the marriage relationship of Christ and the church?”

    I wonder what NN’s view is on that. Yes, just how much of a smidgeon of His “All authority” did Jesus hand over husbands? And which verse shows Him doing that? How much of “All” is not ‘all’?

  111. “The fact that we have authority structures in human relationships is irrelevant. What must be demonstrated is that there is authority of the literal anatomical head over the anatomical body. Without that, it can not be proven that Christ as the metaphorical head over the body has any authority over that body.”

    Well put, gengwall.
    Case in point: slavery – the authority structure of the master/slave relationship which we now find abhorrent, was once unquestioned.

  112. ” In Matthew 23, Luke 22 and elsewhere. He taught his disciples about the temptations and abuse of power. Christ does not say that greatness does not exist: He says rather that our ideas about “greatness” are all wrong. The whole point of the authority which Christ commands is to be looking outside ourselves, just as the love to which we are commanded differs so fundamentally from the selfishness of worldly love.”

    NN,
    How did you make the leap from “greatness” to “authority”?

  113. “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

    Jesus said, “whoever.” He did not say “the males” or “men only.” This was not a transfer of authority or power to male believers.

  114. In 1 Cor. 7 all authority is symmetric, but you deny that physical love – eros – is symmetric. You promote authority and submission, which mirrors the dominance and submission one finds in worldly culture.

    And those who claim that submission is aways to authority deny the entry for hupotasso in BDAG, which clearly states that Clement interpreted Eph. 5:21 as being submission to a neighbour, (who has no authority.) In fact, this verse has been interpreted through the ages as a representation of mutual submission among Christians.

    If as Christian brothers and sisters we are commanded to live a life of mutual submission, and in 1 Cor. 7 we are told that in the physical relationship husband and wife have symmetrical authority, then I do not understand how you defend your point of view. Perhaps you could recap, because I have read your blog and I still do not see any reconciliation of these opposing doctrines.

    And, yes, this causes tremendous turmoil, because I do not feel that any person should have personal authority over another, due to the prevalence of sin. Being under the authority of a sinful person does mean that one suffers evil. This is the fate of many Christian sisters.

    Even C.S. Lewis said that although authority and submission was an ideal, one must have democracy because of sin. Authority lead to abuse and therefore we have participatory government. He said about himself that he was not fit to rule a henhouse.

    The hybris of men who do think that they are fit to rule their wives, will be dealt by God. He will judge and recompense suffering women. Men store up for themselves God’s judgement. In the meantime, how beautiful it is to dwell in the corner of a house, rather than with a contentious man.

    May God give release to women who suffer under this doctrine. I cannot tell you how repellent it is. It repels because it represent sin, not because it represents the scripture.

  115. “the question is not what some people may find offensive”

    You need to consider that what I find offensive, is something which is truly abhorrent and cannot be mentioned in public without offending. All men are sinners. They are all capable of imposing very offensive behaviour on their wives, behaviour which is offensive in the eyes of the world and in the eyes of all Christians. I am sure that no one who knows me would ever want to know more about Christianity, because they see what terrible sin it has caused. Do you want this testimony of Christianity?

  116. Yes, just how much of a smidgeon of His “All authority” did Jesus hand over husbands? And which verse shows Him doing that? How much of “All” is not ‘all’?

    This is a great question. When all authority has been given to Jesus, how much of it did he give to husbands?

  117. Hi folks, wow, what a lot of good comments! I will be popping in and out as I am able since this is a really busy time for me.

    NN, you said:

    And if you read what I wrote above – the proper use of the man’s authority is always to the good of his wife; not selfish exploitation of the woman’s sensuality without regard for her.

    I rarely talk about my own past, but this quote brings one last comment about a time that has long past.

    I had the most amazing best friend until the day that I got married. That day he changed from my best friend to the person who was now responsible for me. He believed that God would hold him accountable for what I did or did not do and acting as a good and faithful man, he took his authority over me “for my own good”. There is no question in my mind that his actions were out of love for me and out of responsibility towards God. He was going to be the very best authority over me that there ever could be and that would make me perfect and the very best I could be.

    After years of his authority over me “for my own good” I lost all the love I ever had for him and I dreamed about freeing myself from my tormentor through divorce. Was my husband to blame? Absolutely not! He was doing the very best job that he could with the teaching he had received that he was responsible for me and he alone would be responsible before God for what I and the family did. His heart was right. He tried the best he could do. It wasn’t his trying his best that was wrong. It was the whole system that was flawed.

    Who told us that God has gifted men to know what is “for the good” of their wives? Who told us that women don’t know what is good for them but men do? Who told us that the woman was not meant to grow up to be an independent mature woman who can make godly decisions? Who told us that the woman would need a man who would measure her decisions and her actions and either approve or disapprove of what she does “for her own good”?

    The understanding that a male knows better than the woman knows what is “for her good” and can stop her from doing what she desires to do “for her own good” because he has a godlike responsibility for another adult human being to make sure that she always remains under his authority to decide what is “good for her” is actually an evil thing.

    The evil is because God created both the male and female to have mature decision making power. God made them both rulers of this earth. He did not make them as one ruler and one child who needed constant supervision because they are prone to mistakes and to not knowing what is good for them. No, that isn’t the truth of God’s word. God made two mature adults. There were no children or dependent adults without the ability to make decisions in the original creation.

    One may ask why Eve then made such a bad decision to eat the fruit? First of all she made a decision because she was given decision-making ability by design. It wasn’t her decision-making ability that was the problem. Rather, she ate the fruit because she was deceived. She did not need to have someone make her decision for her “for her own good” but she did need someone to give her the facts that she was missing so that she could have made a wiser decision. She needed to know the facts about God’s character that only one person had seen clearly because of the creative acts that this one person alone had seen in creation. All she needed was more information to make a decision without the influence of deception.

    Adam had what she needed but he refused to share it with her. There is no indication that he was responsible for making her decision for her. And God did not call Adam to account for “allowing” Eve to make a decision on her own when he should have made her decision for her “for her own good”. What Adam was called to account for was merely “listening” to his wife’s voice while she was talking to the serpent and doing nothing to stop the serpent’s deception. That was called treachery.

    What was the good thing to do that Adam did not do, was not making her decision for her or taking his authority over her. All she needed was a word of truth so that she could have made her own wise decision.

    Adam failed Eve in the garden many years ago and today husbands fail their wives when they now fall for the serpent’s lie themselves. So many men have been deceived to believe that God has given them authority over another adult human being to make all the final decisions “for her own good”.

    But the truth of the matter is that God has called us all to grow up and be mature and to learn how to make decisions on our own. What women need is not a boss or a decision maker making her decisions for her. What women need is truth. We need all the tools to make our own decisions so that as mature Christians we can be prepared for our place in the next world. We too will be judging the angels and we too must learn how to judge wisely and maturely the things of this world.

    When men fall for the lie of the modern-day serpent who has whispered in their ear that men are in charge of women and must supervise them to control their decisions in order to stop them from making “mistakes”, satan laughs at the church because by his deception he is holding back the gifts and the ability of women to grow to maturity unhindered. One half of the Church’s warriors are at stake. And satan has convinced men that they alone are the warriors and they alone are responsible before God and they alone understand women enough to make women’s decisions for them “for their own good”. This is not the truth. It is a lie.

    The truth is that God has gifted and called his female “sons” into a spiritual battle and they cannot do the job that they are called to do if men hold them back. I challenge men to look closely at the Scriptures. Where did God tell Adam to make Eve’s decisions for her? Where did God command Adam to take authority over Eve or reprimand Adam for not taking authority over her? Why did God create two rulers on this earth only to hamstring one with no decision-making power? Did not God say that all of us are going to judge the angels in the next life? Do we seriously think that God has created that place of judging for the church in the next life but not allow women the freedom to make proper judgment calls regarding their own life while here on the earth?

    One the biggest errors of translation in the entire Bible is the addition of the words “symbol of” in 1 Cor. 11:10. This addition bolsters the lie of satan that women are under the authority of the man instead of having their own authority over their own head. But if you research the verse carefully, not only will you see that the addition of the words “symbol of” are not there in the original text, but the term for “authority” ALWAYS means that the person themselves has the authority and right to do an action. Does a woman have the right and authority to make the decision over what she puts on her head according to 1 Cor. 11:10 or does this verse say that the man has been given authority over her to decide for her “for her own good” what she wears or doesn’t wear on her head? The truth that is clearly shown by verse 10 is that the woman has authority over her own head!

    Folks we have fallen for the deception of the one who is the most crafty liar this world has ever seen. He wants to remove authority from women that God has given to them. He wants to make women ineffective in spiritual warfare. And he wants to hurt our marriages by allow men to believe that they alone know what is good for women. Guys you don’t understand us. And you surely don’t know what is good for us. Give us the truth and give us information. But allow us our God-given right to make our own decisions as we walk in maturity with our own fear of God. The Proverbs 31 wise woman was one who made her wise own decisions without having a husband take authority over her. She was a godly woman, mature and wise and capable of judging the angels (1 Cor. 6:3) in the future life.

    Men, husbands, you have a choice. You can continue to claim an “authority” over your wife that God did not give you nor did God give Adam “authority over” Eve in the original good creation and you can reap as a result women who are held back, kept from full maturity in their decision-making ability and unhappy that they are never “allowed” to ever be themselves without the control of a man. Or you can release women to God’s control so that they can be Proverbs 31 women capable of making godly choices without a man’s controlling what they do “for their own good” and have mature, godly women who will have their husbands rise up and praise them for their wisdom, their strength and their godliness with their own mature decision-making power (Proverbs 31:28).

    It is your choice men, but chose wisely. You can have a strong mature woman at your side or you can force her to remain child-like and dependent so that you can continue to take authority over her “for her own good”. In the next life she too will be judging the angels. It would be a godly and a wise thing for you to release her now and allow her to be all that she was created to be and accept her rulership as God’s good creative act instead of believing the lie of satan that she was meant to be ruled over instead being of a godly ruler herself.

  118. The understanding that a male knows better than the woman knows what is “for her good” and can stop her from doing what she desires to do “for her own good” because he has a godlike responsibility for another adult human being to make sure that she always remains under his authority to decide what is “good for her” is actually an evil thing.

    It is. So much so, that for the longest time, I couldn’t “get it”, that is why such things were a part of the church. It was unfathomable for me for yeears.

  119. To Sue (comment # 120)
    You have hit upon the very crux of the matter:
    “I do not feel that any person should have personal authority over another, due to the prevalence of sin. ”

    Yet this is the instruction which the Bible repeatedly and explicitly gives us.

    Rom 13:1 ~ Let every person be subject [hupotassoe] to the governing authorities [exousia]. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
    (Titus 2:9, Titus 3:1, 1 Pet 2:13-18, Eph 6:1, Col 3:20, etc.)

    Is this authority often abused sinfully and does sin cause harm? Of course: just read the Gospels – Pilate crucified the sinless Christ (and Christ acknowledged that He had such authority). Read the book of Acts, the “governing authorities” who Paul told the people to submit to repeatedly tortured and imprisoned him, and ultimately killed him. Yet he submitted to all this treatment at the hands of authority being used sinfully, just as he instructed in his epistles.

    I understand that you do not feel that anyone should have authority over another because you can see the destruction so often incurred. Any power has this potential, gasoline is quite useful for running a car engine – but if you atomize and ignite it you can level a building (which itself can be fun in the right context); atomic energy has given us an amazing power supply, and Hiroshima and the nuclear fear of the Cold War; even the battery in my laptop can produce roughly the same explosion as a hand grenade if used incorrectly. As with any of God’s gifts – they are meant for good – but they can be twisted by sin to create something horrible.

    We must realize that the inspired instruction of Scripture stands over our own personal feelings on any matter. Else we do not serve God, we require that God serve our own sensibilities and desires (and we can read the book of Judges if there is any doubt as to where this leads).

  120. What women need is not a boss or a decision maker making her decisions for her. What women need is truth.

    Amen

  121. I should add that God did an amazing wonderful miracle in my life and in my husband’s life. God spoke to my husband about his authority over me and told him to let me go. He obeyed and our marriage was fully healed. God gave me an amazing love for my husband and his willingness to allow God to be the one to have authority over me without his own control. My husband now gives me his advice and his own wisdom, but he allows me to make my own mistakes. It didn’t take me too long to learn and I have grown tremendously in wisdom and maturity. I am extremely happy and joyful in the Lord and I no longer have another “father” figure looking over my shoulder. I have an amazing best friend back! We are one in a way that we never could fully be when he had authority over me. We are one in true unity and I greatly value his wisdom and advice. He will probably never truly get what is good for a woman, but he doesn’t have to. He is responsible for himself and his authority over another human stops with himself. Would either of us ever go back to him having “authority over” me? Not in your life! He would be the first to say that when he had authority over me he was miserable inside. It was a responsibility that made him unhappy and unfulfilled. But now we are both walking in maturity in the Lord knowing that we look to Him not to the authority of another person. The very best lesson that my husband learned was to “run to God” and not to trust in his own wisdom. And God released him from the false responsibility of an authority over me and the fruit of God’s wisdom has made our marriage strong and filled with love. To God be the glory for the great things He has done in our lives!!!

  122. Sue wrote: ””I do not feel that any person should have personal authority over another, due to the prevalence of sin. “

    NN responded: ”Yet this is the instruction which the Bible repeatedly and explicitly gives us.

    Rom 13:1 ~ Let every person be subject [hupotassoe] to the governing authorities [exousia]. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
    (Titus 2:9, Titus 3:1, 1 Pet 2:13-18, Eph 6:1, Col 3:20, etc.)

    Sue speaks of one individual exercising personal authority over another individual. And NN responds citing a group of people in a government exercising authority over towns, cities and nations. NN also cites the condition between masters and slaves which we know now that God never approved of or ordered. Perhaps, NN you think that God approves of the relationship between masters and slaves? Do you have slaves? As for children, such parental authority begins to diminish in the first year of the child’s life until the child reaches an age of personal accountability.

    Personal authority over another is like two friends who have an hierarchical relationship. One exercises authority over the other, ruling over his decisions and actions, making choices for him, making decisions for him. In real life such a ‘friend’ would not be a friend for long.

  123. The coupling in the passage is
    submissionLOVE, not submission head

    The coupling for HEAD is BODY and as was discussed earlier this is an intimacy/interdependence metaphor and not about “submission vs. AUTHORITY” as the blog title suggests.

    Cheryl that was a very moving testimony about how your husband “let go” of control over you. My research indicates that the hupotasso verbs in Eph 5:21 and Eph 5:24 are in the PASSIVE VOICE. IOW when Paul says “wives ARE SUBJECT to their husbands IN EVERYTHING” its DESCRIPTIVE not PREscriptive.

    When your husband was a control freak, you WERE SUBJECT to him just like you ARE SUBJECT to gravity on planet earth. That affected you deeply. Could we say it ministered DEATH to you as his BODY.

    Now that he has “let go” you remain SUBJECT TO him and the fact that he now has FULL CONFIDENCE in you (like a Proverbs 31 husband) has nourished and cherished you as his BODY and ministered LIFE.

    So, IMO, NN is right about a husband having authority/power. But I would not call it “authority OVER” I would call it “authority TO”. God has given NN authority TO minister LIFE or DEATH to his wife/BODY.

    (and vice versa for wives, BTW)

  124. To TL (comment #128)
    You said:

    Personal authority over another is like two friends who have an hierarchical relationship. One exercises authority over the other, ruling over his decisions and actions, making choices for him, making decisions for him. In real life such a ‘friend’ would not be a friend for long.

    Yes, of course… this is why Jesus had no authority over the apostles after he called them “friends,” the rest of Jesus instructions were just personal advice which they could take or leave as they chose without consequence … oh, wait… Christ has All authority… yes, definitely a disconnect here.
    (apologies for the sarcasm)

  125. NN,
    What authority did Jesus take over his disciples? Did he make their decisions for them?

    When Jesus went to wash the feet of Peter and Peter refused, did Jesus take His authority over Peter? Did Jesus say “I am going to wash your feet whether you like it or not because it is good for you and I am making the decision”? Or did Jesus allow the disciples to make their own decisions by influencing them with the truth and then letting them freely submit by allowing them to give themselves to him?

    Where do we ever see Jesus taking authority over His disciples? Where do we see Him making their decisions for them “for their own good”? No where!

    Jesus even shunned taking authority over people when he was asked to do so.

    Luke 12:13–14 (NASB)
    13 Someone in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.”
    14 But He said to him, “Man, who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you?”

    If Jesus did not take authority over people here on earth, then why would we think that He gave men the responsibility over another adult human being to be their authority?

  126. ” oh, wait… Christ has All authority… yes, definitely a disconnect here.”

    Christ has all authority over all humanity, over all creation because He is God in the flesh. However, as Cheryl has pointed out God has chosen not to use that authority over our personal lives in choices and coercing actions from us.

    Even if you consider yourself to be a god to your wife, which I rather doubt you do, if you follow Christ’s example you must resist the temptation to use your godly authority requiring obedience to your wishes in her personal choices and activities.

    It is God’s desire that we ALL mature into the fullness of maturity of the man Christ Jesus. We cannot do this if we allow other’s to make our choices for us. If we wish to help another human being, especially one who is part of us as a spouse is, then we must follow Christ’s example and seek to serve them in all aspects, rather than seek to exercise authority over them in all aspects.

  127. Thank you, NN. I read the excerpt of Doug Wilson’s at the link and I think he’s right about that. The husband IS the head. Its DESCRIPTIVE of what he IS- for better or for worse. Its not something which he can choose to exercise or not. Its his IDENTITY and by it he will minister: Will he minister LIFE or DEATH?

  128. I think there is a difference between believing a husband has authority/power (which he DOES and a great deal of it) and extending that to the claim that he has “final decision making authority”. The commenters have understood NN believes in the latter but I haven’t seen that in his words that I have read, so I want to ask him

    NN, do you believe that God has given husbands “final decision making authority”?

  129. To Cheryl & TL (comments 132 & 133)

    Oh, well that explains my confusion… You see, I was under the impression that God occasionally told us what to do, and even more strangely that we were supposed to obey Him for some reason….

  130. From NN’s article: “The presence of this type of love (eros) is distinctive of the marriage relationship versus other christian relationships. And if we recognize that this sort of love is between two *inequivalent* people then the hierarchical nature of the marital relationship instructed by Paul becomes evident.”
    (*indicates italics, author’s emphasis)

    NN, can you explain exactly more clearly what you are saying?

  131. To SM (comment 135)

    I would be glad to discuss this at greater length – but may I suggest that we do it at my article directly (http://nuallan.livejournal.com/53190.html) to prevent creating even more disconnected threads in the current discussion?

    You can comment & ask questions at the link given above and I will be glad to see if I can answer you more clearly. (Also, if you can be more specific about what you find unclear then I may be of more help in explaining it.)

  132. I am rather confused on one point- why is everyone assuming submission= complete dehumanizing/infantilizing/trivializing of the individual who is submitting? That isn’t what Christ does to us as we submit to Him, rather He grows us more fully into who we are (which is who He created us to be. I am rather uncomfortable with the idea that Christ didn’t make us who HE wanted us to be. But that we are just randomly who we are and Christ just goes along with us. Simply because He gave us a very specific nature/personality/set of life circumstances and then has us operate and grow within that sphere doesn’t mean He has not imposed His authority on us. We are not deists, we are Christians.)

    Likewise complementarianism does not equal the wife forsaking who she is, what she loves, her desires and hopes and calling from God to submit to someone who has decided he is God’s oracle for the family and that only he hears from God. I know comp. and patriarchy is sometimes (I suspect you all would claim often?) enacted this way but that does not mean that it is actually that way. I think we can all be honest and admit egalitarian marriages sometimes have very serious problems as well. I am happy to provide anecdotes of suffering and pain I have seen and read about (as everyone has done for comp) but I don’t think it is necessary. For although I hate the pain that people have gone through on both sides of the camps (and believe God does as well) personal experience does not dictate truth. I think that any egalitarian that has seen the ideals lived out incorrectly and thus resulting in pain would say that the problem is with individual sin, not with the ideals themselves. Lets please do that for complementarianism as well. I think it would be wonderful to see more Pastors and teachers talking about the pitfalls that are within human relationships, even when you have right doctrine, and to see more churches stepping in when things are going awry, but that is a different discussion entirely.

    As the discussion has gone on it has become clear that many equate complementarians with abuse, at it’s worse, and deeply mired in sin at its best. No one has been that uncharitable towards Egalitarianism in this discussion (I will readily admit I have seen people behave that way elsewhere, but no one here). If this ministry is really about addressing a perceived wrong in a SECONDARY doctrinal issue (once again, no one in this discussion has claimed otherwise) then lets treat it like that. Let’s continue to discuss the applicable Bible passages with grace and truth and learn from each other.

  133. “To Cheryl & TL (comments 132 & 133)

    Oh, well that explains my confusion… You see, I was under the impression that God occasionally told us what to do, and even more strangely that we were supposed to obey Him for some reason….”

    God tells us Truth. He also gives us direction and work to do with Him. When we are doing work with and for Him within the Plans that God has for humanity, yes God tells us what to do because those are His plans. God also gives us advice when we ask Him.

    But God does not demand our everyday actions. He gives us freedom to grow and mature and works things out even within our mistakes. It is hugely improper to equate a human take the place of God in our lives and have the same authority in our lives as God does.

  134. “I am rather confused on one point- why is everyone assuming submission= complete dehumanizing/infantilizing/trivializing of the individual who is submitting? That isn’t what Christ does to us as we submit to Him, rather He grows us more fully into who we are (which is who He created us to be. I am rather uncomfortable with the idea that Christ didn’t make us who HE wanted us to be.”

    Tiffany, I am EXCEEDINGLY uncomfortable that any human being can take the place of God in a woman’s life. No human should EVER think it is acceptable for a man to think he can mold his wife into the person that he wants her to be. God is perfect in all aspects, Holy and without blemish. God only is capable to determining what is best for every human being. Husbands do not share that ability with God. No one does.

    Our submission to (arranging ourselves under, respect and honor, support, etc. ) God is always going to be different than our submission to one another. Our submission to one another (allelon) is not obedience to one another, but of considering otherS needs first, of supporting and provoking others toward good. It is not a class distinction of all blacks submitting to all whites, or all poor submitting to all the rich, or of all women submitting to all men. It is about an attitude of love, respect and humility to be shared amongst all believers.

    While submission is freely spoken of, commanding is not spoken of. No one get’s the freedom to command others and expect obedience in the body of Christ.

  135. “Likewise complementarianism does not equal the wife forsaking who she is, what she loves, her desires and hopes and calling from God to submit to someone who has decided he is God’s oracle for the family and that only he hears from God. I know comp. and patriarchy is sometimes (I suspect you all would claim often?) enacted this way but that does not mean that it is actually that way.”

    The average concept by many comps is simply that man and woman live in complementarity. For those comps, it is not what you describe above. Such beliefs do not involve husbands having the right to act when their wives strongly disagree. Such beliefs do not involve the concepts that a husband has a right and duty to expect his demands to be obeyed. IMO those types of comps are really quite egalitarian in how they live.

    Most Christians who believe in Biblical equality have lived and experienced the patriarchal, hierarchical, traditional and complementarian life styles. We have not come to our beliefs blind. It is not that we have seen these concepts lived out “incorrectly”. It is that we have thoroughly researched what Scripture truly says and what the CBMW model of complementarianism is (BTW they are the originators of the concept) is contrary to the fullness of life that Scripture and God desires for all of us.

  136. “If this ministry is really about addressing a perceived wrong in a SECONDARY doctrinal issue (once again, no one in this discussion has claimed otherwise) then lets treat it like that. Let’s continue to discuss the applicable Bible passages with grace and truth and learn from each other.”

    And that is what we have been doing albeit with some strong words. Please note that those strong words are concerning beliefs, not people. Please stop trying to make this personal. It is not.

    Also, note that you are absolutely correct that this is a secondary non salvic issue. However, CBMW (the founders of complementarianism) do NOT view it as a secondary issue but have in several of their articles claimed it to be a salvation issue. Several of their primary teachers and followers have made the mistake to seek to disvalue the salvation of anyone who does not believe that women must obey their husbands in everything. However, I’m sure that you are aware that it is not our jobs to decide who is fully ‘saved’ and committed to God and who isn’t. Only God knows the hearts. This stance has brought in divisiveness to the Body of Christ and attacks other Christians. We DO NOT wish to be involved with this type of divisiveness.

  137. My apologies to Charis. For some reason her comments are ending up in my blog’s spam box and whenever I see them there, I rescue them 😉 Not sure why that is happening, but just to let you know so that you don’t think I am holding your comments back myself.

  138. A few thoughts on the authority issue:
    “All authority which exists is established by God.” Yes, no doubt we need government, for without it, as Hobbes said, life would be “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” But I would submit that in recent times, in free societies, authority structures in the world much more closely resemble the way Jesus said they should be in the kingdom of God, with no one lording it over anyone else and everyone having equal status before the law. Why? Because we finally recognized and understood that authority in the hands of fallen humanity is prey to oppression of the weak by the strong. God, while accommodating His message to the world as He found it, set up the Law to contain some checks and balances– most notable being that the judges (and later the kings) were under the law themselves, rather than being able to consider themselves above it; and also that priestly power and governmental power were separated and not both held by the same person. Modern society has expanded these checks and balances– and also brought into the social structure something that both Jesus and Paul taught as the norm for the kingdom of God: that no one should have inherent authority over another based on the flesh (their birth), rather than on their calling, character and qualifications.

    And yet much of the Church still insists on reading flesh-based authority back into the very Scriptures which, understood in their original historical/cultural context, were clear messages that authority in the kingdom was based on the callings of God and not to be flesh-based, for He said He would poor out His spirit on all flesh, on His sons and his daughters– and that husbands were to lay down their worldly authority over their wives and raise them up, just as Christ raised up the Church to rule beside Him. The result in modern society is that the message of the gospel is hindered, for the world sees such authority now as fundamentally unjust. This is the very scenario that Paul was trying to prevent in Titus 2, when he advised women and slaves not to rebel against the then-current social structures, that the “word of God be not blasphemed.” The gospel is “blasphemed” among unbelievers now for the inherent injustice of male authority over the female in marriage and in the church. I am convinced that such was never Jesus’ idea, nor was it Paul’s, or that of any writer of the New Testament. Male authority over the female was a part of the culture, which those in the kingdom were to rise above in the dignity and equality they gave slaves, Gentiles– and women.
    So– applying this to what Tiffany said:
    “Likewise complementarianism does not equal the wife forsaking who she is, what she loves, her desires and hopes and calling from God to submit to someone who has decided he is God’s oracle for the family and that only he hears from God.” —
    The problem is that when husbands have this authority-by-birth, and no checks or balances on how they are allowed to exercise it, then each wife is at the mercy of her own husband’s benevolence or tyranny. A lot of them choose to exercise tyranny, and a wife has no recourse, for the Church so many, many times only emphasizes her submission and does not address the husband’s issues at all– for is he not the authority in his own home?
    I maintain that God never mandated that anyone have authority purely on the basis of who they were born as. Those who exercise such authority based on their supposed birthright, may or may not have any character or ability to be gentle, sane, godly leaders. This is entirely a worldly institution which God’s word (while working within the institutions of the societies within which it was spoken) works to circumvent on every level.

  139. There are many issues that are truth vs non-truth. A husband cannot tell his wife that the sky is appears green when in fact it appears blue. A husband cannot tell a wife that X is true and not Y without offering proof.
    This is because truth is not determined by us an individuals. God has determined truth and it is that that both husbands and wives submit first and foremost too. Any complementarian needs to understand (and all I have met do, but I understand that not all out there do) that he can’t arbitrarily decide truth and expect his wife to simply agree because she is told to submit as unto the Lord. For first, husbands don’t determine truth, and second husbands are to love their wives in a sacrificial manner and being the thought police does not fall under that description.

    TL said”Tiffany, I am EXCEEDINGLY uncomfortable that any human being can take the place of God in a woman’s life. No human should EVER think it is acceptable for a man to think he can mold his wife into the person that he wants her to be. God is perfect in all aspects, Holy and without blemish. God only is capable to determining what is best for every human being. Husbands do not share that ability with God. No one does.”

    I never said any different. In fact that was largely my point in my comment. To reitterate- yes there have been complementarian husbands who set themselves up as equal with God. That doesn’t mean that is what complementarianism is. It means that those men were in sin. These are two separate (albeit connected) issues. Does the church need to better address sin and abuse within marriage? yes. That doesn’t mean though that “wives submit to your husbands as unto the Lord” gets redefined in the process.

    My point in addressing that we need to discuss the applicable Bible passages was to remind everyone personal anecdotes do not equal truth. While they can be beneficial to let those you are talking to know where you are coming from they do not dictate exegesis. Using your life experience as evidence that a system is wrong is not a valid proof. And it makes the discussion deeply personal and difficult to continue. I don’t want to insinuate for one second that people’s hurt is not important, or not worth discussing, or a waste of time or anything else. What I want to make clear is that while my heart breaks for them the word of God stands separate from our emotions. I don’t assume that anyone has blindly chosen their interpretation of these passages at random, but length of study and experience once again do not equate truth.

    Kristen- God through out the Bible did much based simply on birth. He chose a nation for himself. He picked a specific piece of land for that nation. He picked a specific tribe for His priests and another for His kings. To diminish what someone is because they were born into without choice takes God out of the equation of where we are born into. Do I understand entirely why it works this way? No. Of course I don’t really understand why God commanded Joshua to kill everyone in many of the cities they conquered. There are many things I don’t understand about the way God has chosen to order this world, and yet it is. I find it very easy to get caught up in my emotional response to what I see and try to determine truth from that, rather than trying to determine truth from what God has said it is. Just because it offends me doesn’t mean it is wrong.

  140. Correction to above– I maintain that God never mandated in the New Covenant kingdom that anyone have authority based purely on birth. The New Covenant represents a step forward from the Old in terms of where God was leading His covenant people– into greater justice, freedom and grace.
    (And sorry for the backslashes — the system did that because I made a mistake when first submitting the comment!)

  141. Mark and NN:
    Humans were told to rule over the created world in Gen 1, but where do you find the word “rule” in Gen 2 when the man’s relation to the woman is concerned? It appears first in Gen 3, as a result of sin. You must go to 1 Tim 2 to find that the man’s prior creation (assumingly) gives the man authority over the woman, which you then transfer to Gen 2. I.e. the only reason you have for the man’s authority is his prior creation and the woman’s deception. Of course, the early church denied that the man had authority over the woman from creation, saying neither God or man said anything about subjetion, finding the rule first in Gen 3 due the sole guilt of Eve, which was a very logical conclusion considering the changes in theology which appeared in the second to fourth century. They did say the man had “pre-eminence” but in the way the emperor was the “first among equals,” not as a authority figure over a subject. (The emperor was careful not to say the freeborn Romans were his subjects for the Romans detested kings and would not have one). The church concluded also that authority between men was caused by sin, and accidental in nature, wherefore your argument that authority belongs to the created order and is intrinsic to it is a modern conclusion, caused by the confusion of changes in theology, mostly the most recent one of 1980’s when Gen 3.16 was relegated back to its original position as a consequence of sin instead of a mandate.

    I.e. you must explain where the Bible says the man has authority over the woman and why God gave it to him.

  142. Tiffany– our last two posts “crossed in the mail,” as it were. But with regards to the Old Covenant– I note that the priests and Levites, while chosen by birthright, never had governmental power, but only power over Temple-based worship. Also, I’m sure you’ve noticed that God never wanted to give Israel a king to start with– and before kings, judges ruled not according to any birthright, but according to His calling.
    Even with the kings, God made it clear that if a line of kings continually rebelled against him (which included mistreating the common people, which God clearly speaks out about throughout the Prophets), then God would remove said kings from power, birthright or no birthright. Even David’s line lost its right to act as kings after the Exile– until Jesus came along to take up the throne which God intended to be His all along.
    No, I can’t see God’s actions under the Old Covenant as being about establishing authority-by-birth. I see God rather as moving the people gradually away from that mindset, though the mindset is a natural part of human society.

  143. The rule in Gen 1 is that of rational over an irrational, humans over animals. But never does the Bible say that a rational being should be over an other rational being. This is of course why the woman was considered irrational for about 1800 years by the church and it was only secular science which made the church change her mind about it. If you wish to place authority of the man over the woman in the creation account, you must explain why God would place a rational and thinking person under the authority of another rational person and why he would have done so, except for sin.

  144. Tiffany,
    You are probably aware that the patriarchist’s view currently teaches that all women, (single, widowed, or married) must constantly be under a male’s authority. I’m curious as to what the particular type of complementarian view you hold teaches concerning single (adult) women and authority?

  145. I am aware of such teachings. I find them sad. I think the Bible is very clear that wives are to submit to their own husbands. And the list stops there. And further more there is much much goodness in the gift of singleness as husbands and wives are not just concerned with heavenly things but how to please each other.

  146. I have a bit more time at the moment- let me elaborate a little.

    I think the Bible is very clear that men are not more important than women. That it isn’t for all women to submit to all men. That we are all co-heirs and that God uses the whole of His body for his glory.

    I also think that the Bible is very clear that the marriage relationship is a type of the Christ-Church relationship. That is was created for our good and our joy and to tell truth about our God.

    I think it is unfortunate when people take something good (being a type for the Christ/church relationship) and extend past where it is meant to go. Just as many people can take a good thing (modesty) and extend it to the point of creating a law that God did not create (fill in blank with clothing rule here) then we have lost the good of the original good thing.

    Now I understand that egalitarians think this is what complementarians do, and that in essence I open up a whole can of worms by disagreeing with the ardent patriarchists, but I am ok with that. 🙂

  147. Tiffany – would you also agree that the bible is very clear that all Christians are to mutually submit to one another (Eph 5:21)? Moreover, would you agree that Eph 5:22 is very clear that the submission of the wife to her husband is of the same kind and in the same manner as that of all Christians to one another? If so, then what does that say about a wife’s submission – is it obedience or something else? And what does that say about authority – is it present in the relationship?

  148. ” In Matthew 23, Luke 22 and elsewhere. He taught his disciples about the temptations and abuse of power. Christ does not say that greatness does not exist: He says rather that our ideas about “greatness” are all wrong. The whole point of the authority which Christ commands is to be looking outside ourselves, just as the love to which we are commanded differs so fundamentally from the selfishness of worldly love.”

    NN,
    I’m still wondering how you make the leap from “greatness” to “authority”?

    It seems to me that you are trying to hold two opposing views at the same time – one hand says Christ redefined “greatness” as serving others and the other hand says that serving is transformed back into “authority” over when done by male believers.

    It seems like you are saying that male believers have been given “authority” to be servants. But Jesus doesn’t say that He is dispensing “authority” to “whoever wishes” or to male believers in particular. He simply says, “whoever.” What causes you to think that male believers need a particular authority to do what Christ says that “whoever wishes” may do?

  149. To Kay (155)
    My apologies – I only have time for the quickest of responses.

    In Luke 22: 26, Christ says ““But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.”

    The word translated here as “leader” is hegeomai – which is used of authority, command and judgement – as a noun it refers to a prince or governor.

    (*These passages say nothing specifically about husbands – I was merely addressing the [rather common] objection to authority in general)
    He doesn’t say “Don’t have leaders, Don’t have people ‘in charge'” – It says “the kind of leadership that I am calling you to is different that what is natural to the world”

  150. Kay, you wrote: “It seems to me that you (NN) are trying to hold two opposing views at the same time – one hand says Christ redefined “greatness” as serving others and the other hand says that serving is transformed back into “authority” over when done by male believers.”

    The reason NN holds this view is that in 1977 Robert Greenleaf wrote a book called Servant Leadership. His concept called for all leaders, especially in the corporate world, to be servants who sought the good of others instead of seeking to please themselves. The church adopted the principle with enthusiasm, but because of the belief that all men should lead they changed the belief from leading through service to service through leading. I.e. instead of using serving as a means of leading, all men are seen as SERVING WHEN THEY LEAD. This change gave comps the neccessary ideology to continue to demand that all women serve while all men lead. Of course it is entirely unbiblical and contradictory to the core, but that’s besides the point.

  151. The question is not whether we need leaders, of course we do. The question is WHY we need leaders. And the answer is simple enough: we need leaders because humans cannot co-operate because of sin. Marriage was instituted prior to sin, contrary to civil governments which were instituted after sin, and the reason it is believed a leader is needed in marriage is the existence of disagreements and the likelihood of an impasse which the husband’s authority is said to solve. For this to hold true, either the husband’s authority was instituted after sin or Adam and Eve could not live in peace with each other in the garden and Adam’s authority over Eve was given to restore peace. Any comments NN and Mark?

  152. This is just a brief(?) flyby comment. I have no time left after reading through all the comments! But I am just about to finish preaching through Ephesians and I felt that Paul’s purpose was that God’s big plan (Ephesians 1:10 – that all of creation be brought into harmony with Christ as the head) might be lived out NOW within the people of God. This meant in all our relationships we should live lives ruled by love (Eph 5:2) through the POWER that comes through Christ’s love in us (Eph 3:14-21).

    So, Paul appears to tell the people in the Ephesian Church what this looks like in relationships where society accepts authority over another; in marriage, parents/children and slaves/masters. All three of these relationship types, in Paul’s time were similar. VERY similar. In all three one had authority over the other and it was socially accepted. Paul, however, shows that all three of these relationships should be mutual. Because, in our society today, we have a generally more egal view towards marriage and raising spoilt brats (ahem…I mean children) we probably best see Paul’s point when adressing master regarding slaves. Paul says slaves should obey their masters from their heart, serving the LORD NOT MEN (remember we are submitting to one another out of reverance for Christ). Then Paul tells the masters…”TREAT YOUR SLAVES IN THE SAME WAY”.

    Ephesians was meant to be read in one sitting.

    Egals are not suggesting that wives should not submit to their husbands. We are saying that Paul’s intention was NOT that husbands should rule over their wives. Rather, that the big plan is that all of creation will be in harmony with Christ as the head, not hubby! How will this big plan happen? Only if we are like Christ to one another (Eph 4:15-16, 5:21)

    Sorry for the length of my comment 🙂

  153. I agree wholeheartedly with Dave.
    I have no problem with the idea that authority should exist, and that authority in Christianity is to look and act differently than authority in the world. What I deny is that authority of husbands over wives (or masters over slaves) is God’s plan for Christian relationships. Instead, I see the Scriptures acknowledging that according to the systems of the world at that time, husbands had authority over wives and masters over slaves– but that Christian life was to be distinguished instead by the mutual submission of each Christian to one another as equals before God (this set the stage for the systems of master-over-slave and husband-over-wife to pass away– and also for the parent-child relationship to change such that children were no longer seen as extensions of their parents, but as able to have callings of God in their own right– thus empowering children to grow in autonomy as they grew in maturity). Authority within the Christianity (such as Paul’s apostolic authority) comes from the calling of God alone, and is not according to the flesh– and those called to such authority are to be characterized by their servant hearts. Christians are still to submit to the authority structures of the world, but to see themselves as “in the world, but not of it.”

  154. Could someone please explain to me where the Bible says “and the husband has authority over (exousia) the wife, because…” and what that “because” is.
    In all other occasions Paul is very clear why the authority is given:

    Rom 13:4-7
    For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. 5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor. (NKJV)

    Eph 4:11-16
    And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head–Christ– 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. (NKJV)

  155. Dave, good to hear from you! You are so right that Ephesians was meant to be read in one sitting and that the purpose of the letter is to explain that Christ was to bring everything back to himself as the head, i.e. the beginning/source of all things. That was one of the main point I found when I was reading Ephesians myself. Anakephalaiomai means (Eph 1.10) “to bring back to the head,” and this is the will of God, the mystery hidden and now revealed. Since Christ has now brought back everything to the beginning, marriage ought to reflect the original beauty of it, and this is the dividing point between comps and egals: what was the original marriage like.

  156. To Charis (comment 135)
    You asked – ‘NN, do you believe that God has given husbands “final decision making authority”?’

    That is a very delicate question to answer – to answer it one would first have to determine what exactly is meant by “final decision making authority.”

    Of course each of us has in ourselves the ability to make decisions – whether they be in accordance with authorities in our lives; parental, marital, employment, governmental, or God Himself.
    Furthermore of course if ever a lesser authority directly contradicts a greater authority then the greater authority overrules the lesser: thus if the government requires the renunciation of faith in God the government is to be denied. Barring this, it is the nature of any authority to give authoritative decisions – thus Caesar had the authority to put the apostle Paul to death despite its injustice.

    So I guess it depends upon what you might mean by “final authority” but hopefully that addressed the origin of your question.

  157. NN,
    If you wife has decided with her “lesser” authority to a decision and you disagree, can you by your “greater” authority overrule her?

  158. Cheryl, I just read your post about your marriage and wow! it was just like mine! When Ira (and I) thought he was supposed to be in “charge” we were constantly in turmoil and headed for a divorce, for who can live without peace? When, after I did my research and found that egals were right, we changed our thinking, we changed back to what we were like before we got married. Just like you said, also we were best friends, we lost it, but now we can be that again for we no longer have the idea that he has to make all the decisions between us. We have figured out that he is really good at somethings and I am really good at somethings and that we better let the person who is good at the thing needed make the decisions for the benefit of the family.
    “For her own good” is a title of a book which describes how male doctors thought they were prescribing treatments to their female patients “for their own good.” These treatments included laudanum (derivative of opium), hysterectomy for any and all reasons, bedrest for weeks, even months (without visits or anything to do, which drove some women insane), female circumcision etc. The doctors thought these were for their own good, but as we know now, they weren’t. When also women became doctors, the treatments changed for women began to ask the dreaded question “why?”
    Thanks for sharing your story. It completely validated our experience and Ira would say he is the one who has benefitted the most since what he got back was me, the woman he traveled to the other side of the world to marry.

  159. NN,
    You said that Luke 22:26 the “leader” refers to one with authority, yet the passage shows that Jesus means leader as one who goes before and leads the way as he was doing for the very next verse Jesus showed them by His going before them as one who led the way that the most important one among them was to serve and not act as one who take authority over others as one of the world’s greatest do.

    Luke 22:26–27 (NASB)
    26 “But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant.
    27 “For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves.

    If we want to be important in the kingdom of God and in His family, should we be following Jesus’ example as one who leads the way as a servant? Or should we follow the world’s way of taking authority over people to cause them to do what we believe is best? Remember Jesus by his leading example never took authority over Peter when Peter refused to have his feet washed. Would it not have been an excellent time to show what taking authority over people looks like if that was what Jesus was modeling?

    Dave,

    I love your example of the love coming through the head drawing us to Himself. A perfect example of true Christianity drawn by love, not by authority.

  160. To Susanna (comment 167)
    My apologies – I must admit that I am only half glancing at these comments any more. I answered Charis because she asked the comment on my blog so it registered an alert.

    If you have some question you think of significant importance I will be glad to revisit it.

    Other than that I think that this discussion has gone nearly as far as it can usefully go and I will be stepping back into the other time commitments which are somewhat more pressing.

  161. NN,

    When we talk about complementarianism, it is not without knowledge. I attended a church with the very best and most well known complemnentarian teachers for many years.

    I have missed your response to my questions. I will number them.

    1. How do you reconcile your statement –

    “As christians the relationship is governed by love [agapaoe] and this leads to mutual ’submission’ however in the marital relationship a second type of love also exists [eros] which is not intrinsic to all christian relationships, and this type of love is naturally hierarchical as established by God.”

    with 1 Cor. 7 –

    “The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again,”

    Here is the Greek –

    ? ???? ??? ????? ??????? ??? ?????????? ???? ? ????: ?????? ?? ??? ? ???? ??? ????? ??????? ??? ?????????? ???? ? ????. 5?? ??????????? ????????, ?? ???? ?? ?? ???????? ???? ?????? ??? ????????? ?? ???????? ??? ????? ??? ?? ???? ???,

    Could you comment on how you perceive the use of ???????? and ???????? refer to hierarchy?

    I will also mention that eros and hierarchy are to be had in spades on the internet, and reflect a lifestyle that I would hope that no woman would ever be exposed to. This is very trauma causing language. It should come with a restricted notification on it that it could cause injury to readers.

  162. Also before NN leaves, I would really like to find out when the woman’s “authority” got down graded to a “lesser authority”? Was this the original creation, or did God create an unspoken command that dropped her authority over creation down a notch or two?

  163. The Bible says “wives submit to your husbands as unto the Lord.” How is it that we are to submit to God? The Bible says that the relationship is a type of Christ and the Church. How is the church to respond to Christ? Those are the questions that have to be answered first. Then we can move on to everything else. But those statements are there and it is incumbent on us to know what they mean and then live that out.

    No, the verses do not tell the husband to take authority. But that isn’t what I (and others) have been saying. I understand there are those that do say that. I am not in the business however of explaining why people believe things that I don’t.

    I believe I am to submit to my husband *as unto the Lord*, which is a distinction made to the husband/wife relationship that isn’t made for the others. I don’t fully understand how marriage is an image of Christ and His bride, but it is, and it is my desire to convey truth of that relationship through my own and to see others do the same.

    Are there times when husbands do a horrible job conveying the truth of a Christ in their marriages? Absolutely. I rather think it is caused by the sin of pride and self reliance. Usually by well meaning men who want to be good husbands so they try and find out “How can *I* be a good husband? What must *I* do?” But the thing is it isn’t about *I* doing anything. There isn’t some magical formula. We can’t pull ourselves up by our bootstraps to be better husbands/wives/Christians/friends/parents/children/etc. We can surrender to Christ as our Lord, be filled with the Spirit of the Triune God and live our lives enabled by His power, His grace, His truth. But it isn’t something we do.

    It all comes back to Christ as Lord and what that means practically? How does that play out?

    This has already gotten quite long, and I must go to bed. Sorry I haven’t addressed the questions directed towards me. I might be able to tomorrow.

  164. NN,

    I think the matter is clear from the English. 1 Cor. 7 says that sexual relations, what you call eros, must be reciprocal and symmetric. It depends on symphony – “agreement.”

    You say that sexual relations between a husband and wife are hierarchical and assymetric.

    Hierarchical and assymetric sexual relations are the basis of the worst behaviour the human animal is capable of. I don’t understand how Christians can promote this.

  165. NN, the only thing I want you to answer is this: why did God give the man authority? If it was given to him at creation, why was it given to him? To settle disputes between spouses? This would mean that Adam and Eve argued in the garden and that there was never a point in time in which humanity lived in peace.

  166. elastigirl, I agree, this discussion could go on for a very long time and be still very useful. The sad thing is that comps retreat always when it gets interesting, when the arguments are coming really close to the root of the problem. But hey, we are not trying to force anyone to debate, it’s a choice.

  167. ”The Bible says that the relationship is a type of Christ and the Church.”

    Tiffany,
    You mean the Bible says that the marriage relationship is a type of Christ and the church. But it doesn’t say that at all.

    ”For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”

    The two shall become one flesh is a reference to marriage — of which Christ emulates. IOW Christ’s relationship with the church is likened to the oneness of a marriage. It is not the marriage relationship that reflects the Lord and the church. It is the relationship of Christ sacrificing Himself for the benefit of the church that is likened to a marriage. You have it backwards.

  168. NN,
    Your answer to Sue did not answer the question of whether the husband as “higher” authority can overrule his wife’s will. And it also did not answer my question about how the wife’s authority as ruler of the world somehow became a “lesser authority”. To claim such a demotion one surely should have a direct Scripture to show it.

    I have another question that is based on Susanna’s and my own experience in our marriages. If our husbands now chose to allow us to experience freedom to make decisions without being overruled and they do not take authority over us like they used to, are they now in sin? Are they sinning against us or are they sinning against God? And why would the “sin” of not taking authority over one’s wife create a oneness that take authority over one’s wife could not if God instituted the model of “authority over”? Are you seriously telling us that God’s law is that we go back to the way we were or do you think that perhaps you argument is placed so that your own model of taking authority over your wife’s will is affirmed?

    And if you don’t take authority over her will, why don’t you? If you don’t you are living like we are. How could you say that we are not living out the correct marriage model if you aren’t taking authority over your wife?

    I love the way the Lord Jesus showed us the correct way by never taking authority over his disciples will but wooing them and convincing them of the right way so that they are alongside him instead of a will taken over.

  169. To NN (179)

    I, too, though I have not addressed this here or on your blog have had great difficulty reconciling your comment about “eros” and how that makes for, what I understand you to claim, a divinely intended patriarchal hierarchy in marriage that supercedes “agape”.
    You didn’t answer here Sue’s (I believe) question on this. I followed the link you provided in #179 read the comments preceding and following the link up to #12 and you still did not answer the claim you make that the “eros” love unique to a husband-wife relationship is what makes qualifies it as a patriarchial hierarchy. You seem to avoid backing up your claim on this thread and that one.

    In #12 on the link you provided you state:

    “Therefore this passage can either be interpreted as a situation in which hierarchical governance exists or not… Once again, I leave it to the reader to decide whether it is the case that there is hierarchical governance within the Biblical marriage relationship or not…”

    Will you help me understand the relationship that “eros” plays in making marriage a patriarchal hierarchy?

    What type of love provided for the patriarchal hierarchal relationship of master-slave?

  170. In general
    Let me make something quite clear “eros” (&epsilon&rho&omicron&sigma) is NOT exactly the same thing as the modern english “erotic.” Eros encompassed what we might today call “romantic love” ~ certainly encompassing the sexual but not limited to it. (This is in distinction as a type of love to “agapeo” ~ ultimate love, “phileo” ~ affections, or “storge” familial love.)

  171. NN You wrote regarding 1 Cor. 7, ,

    “But certainly the passage does seem to indicate equality in this claim between each spouse to the other’s body. It simply must be noted that this one aspect of relational reciprocity does not negate the possibility of hierarchy in the relationship overall.”

    You seem to imply that in 1 Cor. 7 the relationship is reciprocal and it does refer to the body. Perhaps I am unable to understand your use of the word “eros.”

    I think that if you use this word, you will need to elaborate. You say that it is different from agape, and that it is different from the physical relationship as outlined in 1 Cor. 7. I am at loss as to how you derive any doctrine at all about eros in marriage from the scripture. Perhaps you are thinking of poor Michal, the only woman in the Bible who is said to have “loved” her husband – not that it was of any use to her.

  172. #175 Tiffany,
    I really praise God that you are still here and not taking offense. This is the place where the body ministers to one another and the passionate arguments are a ministry that may plant seeds in all of our hearts. I know that I have already been touched by thoughts that I had not articulated myself.

    You said:

    The Bible says “wives submit to your husbands as unto the Lord.” How is it that we are to submit to God?

    Submitting to the Lord is clear – we are to submit “in the sincerity of heart”. In the same way we are to submit to our husbands in sincerity of heart. But the Bible doesn’t say that we are to submit as to Deity because that would be idolatry. In fact many women are guilty of idolatry by putting their husbands before the Lord.

    How is the church to respond to Christ?

    “with sincerity of heart”.

    No, the verses do not tell the husband to take authority. But that isn’t what I (and others) have been saying.

    It seems to me that NN has been telling us that the husband is to take authority over his wife if there is a dispute. But the question I would have for you, if a husband doesn’t take authority, then what good is his having authority? Most staunch complementarians will agree that the authority that belongs to the husband is a trump card that is to be pulled out whenever the wife’s will is different than the husband’s will. It (the authority) decides whose will, will be followed. If it (the authority) isn’t brought out then the marriage is following the egalitarian model for unused authority is no different in reality than no ultimate authority.

    I believe I am to submit to my husband *as unto the Lord*, which is a distinction made to the husband/wife relationship that isn’t made for the others.

    That actually isn’t true since Ephesians 6:5 also tells slaves, men and women to obey as to Christ.

    Ephesians 6:5 (NASB)
    5 Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ;

    This follows the injunction to submit one to another “in the fear of the Lord” and I would think that fearing God would be a good reason for masters to submit to their slaves since in the natural they would not have a willingness to do so except for the fear of the Lord.

    I don’t fully understand how marriage is an image of Christ and His bride, but it is, and it is my desire to convey truth of that relationship through my own and to see others do the same.

    The image is one of oneness. The Lord treats His body as He does Himself so that He puts all things under His authority by putting them under His feet. That is putting all authority under our feet. He shares His authority with us so that we will be judging the angels in the next life. All judgment has been given to Jesus but He shares that authority for judgment with His bride. Sharing of all things brings a complete unity and a oneness in love.

    Are there times when husbands do a horrible job conveying the truth of a Christ in their marriages? Absolutely. I rather think it is caused by the sin of pride and self reliance.

    That may be of some but it sure wasn’t of my husband. He tried his very best to do what God required of him. It wasn’t pride in his case but his love for me and his desire to be what he thought the head was required to be. He believed that God required him to make the decisions for me when we disagreed. It really was his own self-less desires to be a real good husband that brought us into trouble. It wasn’t his own pride that was a problem – it was the system that was flawed.

  173. NN,

    Our comments crossed. I now see the problem. You are talking about romantic love, a topic which is not addressed in scripture at all. But I have some insight into your character, if you see romance as being about governance and submission. That is not the usual meaning of the word, so evidently you have unique meanings for your words.

    Also you write,

    ““agapeo” ~ ultimate love, “phileo” ~ affections, or “storge” familial love.)”

    Perhaps you are not aware that agapeo and phileo are synonyms in the Bible.

  174. To SM (183)
    On one point let me make sure that I am absolutely clear – ‘eros’ should NEVER supercede ‘agape.’ As I stated on my site

    The operation of eros within the marital relationship leads to an natural and God-made asymmetry of the relationship; but, the love of Christ – agape – is of FIRST IMPORTANCE. When you are married you are FIRST a christian, then a spouse. Just as in any other aspect of life; Christ is to be central and our other actions a corollary of this most fundamental truth. It is an issue of first and second things. Submission is enjoined within marriage, true; but if this interferes with christian interaction then you have done it wrong. And you will lose not only the good of the christian interaction but will destroy the good of submission in the the marital interaction. And when this plays out is it any wonder that so many people question the apostle’s instructions.

    As to your question about eros – I am happy to discuss it but hopping back and forth between blogs is confusing. Given the ever growing number of comments here I ask if we can have the discussion at my site for simplicity where your questions are already posed?

    Lastly, I would note that the master-slave relationship, while hierarchical, is not expressed to be patriarchal and such assumption should not be imported without cause.

  175. To NN
    I continued reading in the thread and may have posted here prematurely. I did find this statement by you at #17:

    NN: “1 Cor 7 seems to indicate an equality between the man and woman regarding their “exousiadzoe” toward each others bodies….I think “jurisdiction” or “claim” might be a better technical understanding of the word here. But certainly the passage does seem to indicate equality in this claim between each spouse to the other’s body. It simply must be noted that this one aspect of relational reciprocity does not negate the possibility of hierarchy in the relationship overall”

    In this comment on this previous thread you claim that this one aspect of reciprocity as it relates to “eros” does not negate the **possibility of hierarchy**. However, in your article under discussion here, you assert, “….in the marital relationship – when there is “Eros” that this leads to the specific instruction of the wife to submit to the husband AND the husband to take responsibility over this to exercise a sacrificial love to care for his wife.”

    Can you explain how you advanced your claim since you do agree 1 Cor 7 sets forth directly and unequivocally an equality that exists between the husband and wife regarding their “exousiadzoe” toward each other within the context of “eros”?

  176. Sue (187)
    Let us put it another way “eros” describes the type of love which exists between a husband and wife which should not properly exist between other people (surely we can agree that there is such a love and that it should exist only between a husband and wife).

    On agapeo & phileo – they are not completely synonyms in the ancient text though certainly their scopes of meaning overlap (not really relevant to the current topic but worth the two line response)

  177. Continuing on with #175 Tiffany,
    You said:

    Usually by well meaning men who want to be good husbands so they try and find out “How can *I* be a good husband? What must *I* do?” But the thing is it isn’t about *I* doing anything. There isn’t some magical formula. We can’t pull ourselves up by our bootstraps to be better husbands/wives/Christians/friends/parents/children/etc.

    Well if the man isn’t supposed to wonder what *he* can do to be a good husband and just lets the chips fall where they may then what kind of husband will *he* be if he isn’t trying? I get the feeling that you may be working around about to blame my husband for trying to hard. I won’t let anyone do that. He is a good man and if he did not have the wrong system that set him up for failure, our best friendship would have grown and developed to the place where we are now. No one is going to blame my husband. I know him better than those who might want to blame him. The fact is that there is no textbook that tells a husband how to operate within his “authority over” his wife. The only example is Jesus giving examples of not taking authority over his disciples and washing their feet and dying for them. If Jesus had meant for us to understand the the husband had this “higher” authority, then it is cruel to assume it while not giving any guidelines for the expression of overriding the wife’s will without taking away her personhood. If you think about this long and hard when you have a serious disagreement and your husband pulls out his trump card and rides over your will, I think that you might understand what we have been through. His good intentions is not enough. There has to be a rule book for godly rulership and there has to be a divine authority instituting this “higher” authority in marriage and my friend, it is just not there.

    We can surrender to Christ as our Lord, be filled with the Spirit of the Triune God and live our lives enabled by His power, His grace, His truth. But it isn’t something we do.

    It all comes back to Christ as Lord and what that means practically? How does that play out?

    But all of that isn’t an earthy master and lord. We are not filled with our husband’s spirit and our lives enabled by his power. If we were we would be a spokesperson for him. We do not operate with the grace and truth of our husband. These are idolatrous things.

    What we are is equals together in one body and we serve and love each other as one body without lordship.

    This has already gotten quite long, and I must go to bed. Sorry I haven’t addressed the questions directed towards me. I might be able to tomorrow.

    Again, I really appreciate you sticking around for this discussion. Having a complementarian woman here to help us understand how you think is important. It takes us back a bit to a time of pain, but that’s okay because we are free of that pain and we are free to work on oneness in a new and Spirit-filled way. Perhaps you can learn from us too.

    One other thing that I should mention is that in love we can tell you that you can live out your marriage any way that you want. If hierarchy works for you and this is what you both decide on – you go for it. You are free to live this way.

    Are we free to live the way of love without hierarchy? I think that the Bible is clear that love without hierarchy is not a sin. I think the only time that these issues are really vitally important is if love without hierarchy was a sin (it’s not) and if the love with hierarchy becomes a strain on the marriage. We are here for you and will never judge you. You can be loved just the way you are. If we are a help that’s great. If we are not, then that’s okay, we can patiently wait for those who do need a hand of love to untangle a mess that hierarchy brought to them.

    Lots of love,
    Cheryl

  178. NN (188)

    “The operation of eros within the marital relationship leads to an natural and God-made asymmetry of the relationship…”

    Where did you come up with this? This is what I, and I think Sue, are wondering? In my previous comment here (189) I quoted you saying on another thread that based on 1 Cor 7 there is an equality concerning the authority a husband and wife have towards each other’s body, but in this statement from your article under discussion you say that “eros” leads to a “natural and God-made asymmetry”?

    I am a newcomer to this debate. I have been doing a lot of online reading the last two years. I have yet to hear from a complementarian that “eros” love is the basis for a “natural and God-made asymmetry” between a husband and wife.

  179. NN,

    “Let us put it another way “eros” describes the type of love which exists between a husband and wife which should not properly exist between other people (surely we can agree that there is such a love and that it should exist only between a husband and wife).”

    That is what 1 Cor. 7 is about – the relationship between husband and wife, and it is symmetric. I am unaware that Paul thought that ‘eros’ should exist in marriage.

    “On agapeo & phileo – they are not completely synonyms in the ancient text though certainly their scopes of meaning overlap (not really relevant to the current topic but worth the two line response)”

    I think you will find that scholars regard them as synonyms as they are used throughout scripture. BDAG writes,

    “Phileo is usual word in earlier Greek but gradually loses ground to agapao esp. in the Koine.”

    Scholarship does not support your definitions of the word.

  180. NN, I sense that you are trying to help me understand, but I am a slow learner.

    NN at (184) I did miss this post: In general
    Let me make something quite clear “eros” (&epsilon&rho&omicron&sigma) is NOT exactly the same thing as the modern english “erotic.”

    ok…

    NN at 184 (cont’d) “Eros encompassed what we might today call “romantic love” ~ certainly encompassing the sexual but not limited to it.”

    I also read 190.

    NN at 190: “Let us put it another way “eros” describes the type of love which exists between a husband and wife which should not properly exist between other people…”

    I get that. But, what does the existence of “eros” whether romantic or sexual love between a husband and a wife have to do with establishing a “natural and God-given asymmetry between the genders in the relationship? I just don’t get this claim.

    If anything, I would think the very nature of “eros” which is culminates in a sexual union is a very “leveling” experience. In other words, getting naked together and mutually pleasuring each other is a great equalizer of sorts. I can’t think of any other human experience that creates a physical and spiritual oneness–a single organic union–than two becoming one in sex. The idea that “eros”, whether or romantic or sexual, constitutes the basis for a natural, God-given asymmtrical hierarchy contradicts everything inherent about “eros” between a husband and wife.

    NN, can you explain what you are seeing that I am missing?

  181. NN,

    I guess I have not been reading you clearly. I now understand that your discussion of eros has nothing to do with the scripture. I deeply regret wasting people’s time on this topic.

  182. Re: Sue at 196

    I understood from NN’s article under discussion in this thread that it was based on scripture:

    “Since the first passage was made clear by observing that the governing principle in christian relationship is “agape” love we shall seek the same sort of understanding of the marital relationship. And as we do so it becomes apparent that there is another sort of love operative here – “eros” (&epsilon&rho&omicron&sigma). The presence of this type of love is distinctive of the marriage relationship versus other christian relationships. And if we recognize that this sort of love is between two inequivalent people then the hierarchical nature of the marital relationship instructed by Paul becomes evident.
    “….******And we see that in the marital relationship****** – when there is “Eros” that this leads to the specific instruction of the wife to submit to the husband AND the husband to take responsibility over this to exercise a sacrificial love to care for his wife.” (emphasis added)

    I thought NN was discussing Ph 2:3 and Eph 5:21-22 and drawing conclusions about “eros” from that. I, too, may have misunderstood.

    NN, will you clarify, please? From where do we see this about “eros”? Are you drawing your conclusions about “eros” and its implications for a “natural and God-given asymmetry” between a husband and a wife from scripture? Or, are you inferring this based on your observations or experience?

  183. I would be hesitant placing any ‘type’ of love over and above another. After all, they are all related. I believe it was Stanley Grenz in his book “Sexual Ethics” who presented a very strong case as to why eros also applies to God and His love for us. Sounds warped? Hear him out!

    Grenz says that at the heart of eros is “the desire to possess and be possessed”. This is NOT limited purely to what we know as either “romance” or “sexual intercourse”. What does Grenz have to back up where he is coming from? Among other things the OT that is very rich in imagery presenting Israel as the people that God desires to possess and be possessed by. This is highlighted through the prophets in no greater way than when Israel is compared to a harlot, an adulterous wife and one prophet even being commanded by God to marry an adulterous woman.

    I guess my point is that I think it does not reflect an accurate understanding of eros to limit it in the way it has been limited in this conversation. It should also be noted that Grenz’s definition (to possess and be possessed) is very symetrical!

    Thanks for the warm welcome back peeps!!

  184. Suzannah,

    I have no interest in trying to convince you of your views- i’m well aware that discussions like these generally lead no-where. I simply wanted to show you your problem.

    You asked why authority or rule was necessary in the sinless world. As i pointed out, and as God himself declared it was there before the fall. Therefore you ought to be more regulated in your arguments, rather than declaring that ‘rule’ is a consequence of sin. If God ordained that authorty exist in a sinless world we ought to teach and know that- that’s my point. Once that is set as the foundation, then one can look further to see if such authority existed between husband/wife and if it did, we can be confident that authority is not in and of itself sinful. This is at the heart of many egalitarian arguments, and unfortunately they by pass this point assuming authority=evil (which of course is a by-product of our post modern philosophy)

  185. Dave, I listened to a sermon of yours wherein you tackled this topic, and it certainly gave me something to think about. It was a perspective I had not ever heard. I totally identified with the desire to “possess and be possessed” and understand that to be at the heart of the innate desire for intimacy–to know and to be known, to love and to be loved.

    My question is how or why NN equates the existence of “eros” within marriage as the basis for a “natural, God-made asymmetry” which is patriarchal.

  186. How could egals assume that authority = evil? We assume that all authority comes from God and we do not see him as the source of all evil! 😉

    I’ve missed you Mark!

  187. I wonder why democratic rule followed so closely on the Reformation and if complementarians are willing to forego participatory government.

  188. Mark,
    You said to Susanna:

    If God ordained that authorty exist in a sinless world we ought to teach and know that- that’s my point.

    The rule that existed in the sinless world was the rule of man over God’s creation. As Dave mentioned, authority comes from God alone and I will add that taking authority when God hasn’t given it is usurping authority from God. The reason why there was authority and rule in the beginning is that God made us in His image. One of the ways that we were made in His image, is that we were made to rule God’s creation. The animals then were made to be ruled.

    Once that is set as the foundation, then one can look further to see if such authority existed between husband/wife and if it did, we can be confident that authority is not in and of itself sinful.

    The question then must be asked and answered whether the rule of Adam over Eve was given to him by God or whether he took it for himself. We start with Eve to see if she too was created in God’s image to rule and we find that the answer is “yes” in Genesis 1.

    The next thing we ask is whether God gave image of God rule to Adam. He did not. We never see an inkling that Adam was meant to rule Eve or that Eve was created to be ruled by the animals or by Adam.

    The only thing that we can identify about Adam’s rule over Eve is from Genesis 3:16 after the fall. Thus we know for sure that in the beginning in God’s good creation He did not create His image in Eve to be ruled by His image in Adam. The ruling over God’s image did not start until after sin entered the world and God did not “give” this rule to Adam. God predicted that Adam would this rule over God’s image but God never said one word to Adam that this authority belonged to Adam. Therefore we can be confident that the rule of one image of God over another image of God is usurping God’s authority.

    This is at the heart of many egalitarian arguments, and unfortunately they by pass this point assuming authority=evil (which of course is a by-product of our post modern philosophy)

    I think that it would be overstating the case to say that egalitarians believe authority to be evil. What egalitarians consistently believe is that the rule of the man over the woman in marriage is an authority not given by God. If it is an authority taken by a sinful man and not sanctioned by God then it is evil. I think you would agree with this that any self-assumed authority not sanctioned by God is evil as it takes away from God what He has not given.

    I think that this is the issue that needs to be dealt with.

  189. Dave my man,

    Just take a look at Susannah’s comment to see the authority= evil paradigm- in her own view, there was no need for authority in the sinless garden. However authority existed pre-fall and was declared as part of God’s creation as ‘very good’. Now i realise that you (and perhaps others) don’t assume that paradigm, but as i see it, many egal arguments hang onto it.

    Cheryl,

    I agree that any abuse of authority is God-stripping. However to reject God’s ordained authority is equally horrific. We need to be cautious of both. As with your other comments, i fail to see how ‘confident’ you state your position to be. I’m not overly concerned with re-kindling old arguments on Gen 1-3, i just simply wanted to point out the fallicy of Susannah’s argument. Can you agree therefore, that authority existed in the sinless creation of the garden and that authority is not in and of itself sinful?

  190. “He doesn’t say “Don’t have leaders, Don’t have people ‘in charge’” – It says “the kind of leadership that I am calling you to is different that what is natural to the world”

    NN,
    I appreciate you responding to me, but I really do wish you would have answered my question instead. The word “leaders” was not the subject of my inquiry. I asked about “whoever” – how do you get ‘authorized males only’ out of “whoever”?

    Where are you finding male only servants of the Lord? Are you saying that female believers aren’t servants of the Lord? How does “whoever wishes” qualify only male believers?

  191. To SM (comment 200 & in general)
    May I again ask that we stop bouncing back and forth between comment strings here and at my site – I find it difficult to keep track of what questions you think answered and what you are currently trying to ask. May I ask that we either establish a specific thread at my site so that I can better keep track of the conversation and be certain to answer your questions and ensure that I have answered them to your satisfaction? (Alternatively, if you would like we could establish a Google chat – which might facilitate the whole process more if we can find a mutually satisfactory time…. It’s really too bad this conversation didn’t happen two years ago – I got my PhD in Physics from Rice and could have simply met you for coffee to actually discuss this in person…)

    To answer your question “how or why NN equates the existence of “eros” within marriage as the basis for a “natural, God-made asymmetry” which is patriarchal.”
    – I made the earlier answer (at my site):

    “In the marital relationship the husband is not the wife and the wife is not the husband – these two people are inequivalent upon interchange.”

    And you agreed – furthermore we note that the apostle gives distinct instructions to husbands and wives (whatever the reason he did this for – the instructions are consistently different: we can at least agree on this?) So the husband-wife relationship in that context was an asymmetric (inequivalent) relationship.

    …. So thus far we have proved inequivalence – but not the nature or origin of it…. This further and complete proof is going to be a longish one, and I want to be extremely careful not to skip a step. I ask again if we can move venues to make it easier to keep track of.

  192. To All,

    This is a “last call” of sorts – much as I see several threads emerging that I would like to comment on – I have long since run out of time for this and need to move on to other commitments.

    But, I know that I missed questions that you find important – so to honor the general participation thus far, I offer a “last call” to respond to a few questions which you think most central to the matter before I bow out completely.

  193. NN (207 & 208)

    “To answer your question ‘how or why NN equates the existence of ‘eros’ within marriage as the basis for a ‘natural, God-made asymmetry’ which is patriarchal.
    “In the marital relationship the husband is not the wife and the wife is not the husband – these two people are inequivalent upon interchange.”

    NN, in your article you say you are establishing your claim by looking at the principles found in scritpure. You begin with a “parallel” scripture from Phillipians to correspond with Eph 5:21 and draw the conclusion that “agape” is the overarching principle allowing for mutual submission among Christians.

    Then you turn to Eph 2:22 and write, “[s]ince the first passage was made clear by observing that the governing principle in christian relationship is “agape” love we shall seek the same sort of understanding of the marital relationship.” However, you do not seek the same sort of understanding, but continue, “[a]nd as we do so it becomes apparent that there is another sort of love operative here – ‘eros’.”

    The problem I have is not only your claim in the article under discussion on this thread that “eros” is the basis for hierarchy in marriage, but you are drawing your conclusions–seeing a principle of “eros”–from Eph 5:22 that is not there. NN, in looking at Eph 5:22 how is it “apparent” that there is “eros operative” which becomes the overarching principle requiring submission solely by the wife to the husband throughout all time?

    NN: “And you agreed”

    I agreed only that men are only husbands and women are only wives.

    NN: ” – furthermore we note that the apostle gives distinct instructions to husbands and wives (whatever the reason he did this for – the instructions are consistently different: we can at least agree on this?)”

    No, we cannot agree that the virtues or principles that should characterize the female or male Christian are unique to their gender. The instructions, as I understand, are addressing real people in real time with their own unique set of political and cultural circumstances. All the epistles are addressing real people including–the disenfranchised and marginalized–Christians, women, salves–and how they can best live out their faith within the current systems…. Given the overall teachings of scripture, I do not see that wives and husbands are given distinct instructions but that the same principles and virtues are incumbent upon both believing spouses.

    NN, do you see this differently, if so, how?

    NN: “So the husband-wife relationship in that context was an asymmetric (inequivalent) relationship.”

    In what “context” is the husband-wife relationship asymmetric (inequivalent)?

    In your article under discussion on this thread, the context is that “[t]he presence of this type of love (“eros”) is distinctive of the marriage relationship versus other christian relationships. And if we recognize that this sort of love is between two *inequivalent* people then the hierarchical nature of the marital relationship instructed by Paul becomes evident.”

    In other words you are saying: Because a man is a husband and can never be a wife, and because a woman is a wife and can never be a husband, and since “eros” exists between them it is evident there is a patriarchal hierarchy in the marriage. No, it is NOT evident to me that because “eros” exists in marriage Paul is instructing a hierarchical nature for the marriage relationship.
    NN, can you please help me see how you see come to this conclusion?

    Your claim about “eros” in the article under discussion on this thread is not consistent with what you have written about 1 Cor 7 which includes the idea of “eros” on another thread on this blog to which you linked. There you write, “1 Cor 7 seems to indicate an equality between the man and woman regarding their ‘exousiadzoe’ toward each others bodies…certainly the passage does seem to indicate equality in this claim between each spouse to the other’s body.”

    To me it seems you are inconsistent.

    So, I ask again, (195) “…[W]hat does the existence of “eros” whether romantic or sexual love between a husband and a wife have to do with establishing a ‘natural and God-given asymmetry’ between the genders in the relationship?

    If anything, I would think the very nature of “eros” which is [sic] culminates in a sexual union is a very “leveling” experience. In other words, getting naked together and mutually pleasuring each other is a great equalizer of sorts. I can’t think of any other human experience that creates a physical and spiritual oneness–a single organic union–than two becoming one in sex. The idea that “eros”, whether or romantic or sexual, constitutes the basis for a natural, God-given asymmtrical hierarchy contradicts everything inherent about “eros” between a husband and wife.”

    NN: “So thus far we have proved inequivalence -”

    I was not seeking to prove inequivalence, but I did concede men are husbands and women are wives.

    NN: “…but not the nature or origin of it…”

    Again, I wasn’t seeking to prove existence or the nature or origin. It was your term in your article. I was seeking clarification from you of your claim.

    NN: “I ask again if we can move venues to make it easier to keep track of.”

    I obliged you before, but because we seem to both be following this thread which is addressing your article, because this is where the conversation began, because others are engaged in this same topic, for the sake of time following the same conversation in two places, and for various other reasons I believe this venue is suitable and that it would be much easier for us to navigate this one thread on your article.

    However, on another post at your blog, I am awaiting your reply to my comments and questions.

  194. Cheryl- I have just a brief moment right now (but I suspect to have more time later today and hope to be back).

    I would like to make one thing clear if nothing else is- I have not, am not now, nor in the future will be responding to any personal testimonies. They are valuable to hear and discuss but not in this manner. This has really been a debate (a friendly one of course, but none the less debate) from the beginning and bringing in personal stories clouds things among people who don’t really know each other. If we were long time friends visiting over coffee it would be different. None of my comments were directed towards your relationship specifically nor anyone else’s. As such I am not going to answer your questions regarding those.

    I have avoided interacting specifically with those comments on here that have brought their personal stories up or have tried to make it about my husbands personal life because feelings get hurt really easy and people read offense where no offense was met.

    One last thing- I made a rather big typo in my last large comment. I put the distinction of the husband/wife relationship was that wives are to submit as unto the Lord. What I meant to put is that the distinction is that they are to submit as the church submits to Christ. Rather different I know, not entirely sure how I missed that. I shall blame the late hour. My entire point of that post is the the husband/wife relationship is a model/shadow/representation of Christ and His church. This is different than all other human relationships. I will also point out that I haven’t been trying to give an explanation of the husbands authority, but rather of the nature of the wife’s submission and how that differs and works with “submit one to the other”.

    On last last thing (apparently I have more time than I thought) I would be very hesitant to suggest this is a sin issue. I’m not sure I could categorically say that is never is a sin issue, because of course in individual relationships circumstances differ. I think it is important to try and understand to the best of our ability, but don’t equate someone who disagree with my theology as being in sin. I appreciate Cheryl you taking the time to point out you don’t think complementarians are in sin. I will point out that not all of the other egalitarians on this thread agree with you however.

    Ok, now I really must go. I enjoy this discussion but given the volume of comments not sure how much longer I can reasonably devote time to it.

  195. Tiffany,
    Your personal preference to not give personal testimonies is fine. I personally accept that and don’t have a problem with that. However, please do not seek to make a new doctrine about personal testimonies. Observe that the entire Bible is replete with testimonies from people’s lives. While the NT may not have as many testimonies from real people’s lives, it does not negate the importance of hearing about how God works in real people’s lives. When we consider our analysis of things, it is important to see how our ideas work out in real life.

    Does the concept that God can spiritually intervene in life and heal people, actually work? Yes, it does. We know that because of personal testimonies in real people’s lives. Does God always heal? We know He doesn’t (although we have to search Scripture for the answer) because in real people’s lives, we see that some are not healed even after asking.

    Personal testimony is important. From personal testimony we hear that the majority of women who live within a male dominated marriage suffer from it . Why is that, do you suppose?

    BTW Tiffany, are you actually reading the responses here. I have responded twice to the concept that the church is a ” model/shadow/representation of Christ and His church” and you have not responded. Perhaps, it would help if you provide a Scripture for this idea.

  196. ” furthermore we note that the apostle gives distinct instructions to husbands and wives (whatever the reason he did this for – the instructions are consistently different: we can at least agree on this?)”

    NN,
    While it is true that husband and wife are being given different admonitions, this does not mean that they are the only admonitions that are relevant. We must remember that Paul is NOT writing an all inclusive thesis on the ins and outs of marriage. Rather, he is writing a letter to real people in real places with these problems. Paul is addressing the problems. So, when Paul reminds wives that they need to arrange themselves under their husbands in a similar way that we all arrange ourselves under the Lord (after telling us all to arrange ourselves under one another) Paul is NOT telling wives they don’t have to love their husbands, just because he omitted that area. Paul is addressing the problem areas. In the same way, when Paul tells husbands to love, nurture (provide for and protect) and honor their wives as they do their own bodies, Paul is NOT telling husbands they don’t have to arrange themselves under their wives just like they do the rest of the Body of Christ and in the same manner they do toward the Lord. Rather Paul is simply zooming in on an area that needs addressing because of the cultural attitudes of the times.

  197. Mark, #205

    ”Just take a look at Susannah’s comment to see the authority= evil paradigm- in her own view, there was no need for authority in the sinless garden. However authority existed pre-fall and was declared as part of God’s creation as ‘very good’.”

    It is better if we don’t make assumptions of what another means. Susannah did not by any means indicate that she thought ” authority= evil paradigm” . The authority in the garden was not toward each other but toward the earth and the creatures on the earth. Because of sin, now authority is needed to govern people who sin and protect people who don’t.

    The problem with authority in this discussion, is the claim that God ordains males (because they are male) with authority toward women (because they are women), especially in marriage. There are no Scriptures to support such an idea.

  198. To SM (comment 209)
    If interested for gmail chat ingarandur[AT]gmail[DOT]com – it is so much quicker to figure out where the common ground is for a starting point in the discussion that way, and easier to step through a discussion point by point without it taking aeons…
    Though you raise a good point, I could post a transcript of the conversation for any who might be interested.

    For now though –
    I presume that we can agree that the apostles consistently give distinct and non-equivalent instructions to husbands and to wives separately:
    Eph 5, Col 3, 1 Pet 3, etc. – In each case the wife specifically is told that she is to be submitted (“hupatassoe”) to her husband; while in each case the husband is given a distinct and different instruction.

    Whatever the origin of these distinctions are in the case of the instructions given: personal, cultural, or universal – we can at least agree that the instructions given are distinct and non-equivalent.

    Agree? Disagree?

  199. “Eph 5, Col 3, 1 Pet 3, etc. – In each case the wife specifically is told that she is to be submitted (”hupatassoe”) to her husband; while in each case the husband is given a distinct and different instruction.”

    Almost. First, the wife is told to submit herself. This is passive which gives the decision to the wife. And the husband is to to treat his wife as himself.

    The problem is what you infer from this. Your inference is wrong in that you assume by what is missing that therefore the husband is not to do what is not included in those few sentences even though Paul just got finished telling everyone to do them all. All are admonished to be of a submissive nature toward each other. All are told to love all sacrificially.. These are not gender specific admonitions. However, at the time certain aspects were lacking in marriage. Paul chooses to only address a few things, not everything. He did the same thing with slaves, masters and children, parents. This is not an all inclusive thesis. Paul is only pointing out certain issues,

  200. To 215
    To be perfectly clear – comment #214 draws no conclusions whatsoever. None.

    The point is only to establish a common ground of agreement. Once we can find some common ground then the discussion can proceed from there.

    Hopefully we can agree that the apostles give different instructions to husbands and to wives? (regardless of what the difference might mean or why the apostles might have said it)

  201. Okay, I was going to stay away from the blog for a good portion of today because I am so busy, but I think it might be good to come back on and off if there are comments that I need to answer rather than answer “a day late and a dollar short” 🙂

    Mark, you said:

    I agree that any abuse of authority is God-stripping. However to reject God’s ordained authority is equally horrific.

    No one here is rejecting God’s “ordained” authority. We have asked over and over again to have this “ordained” authority shown to us from the creation of mankind and honestly it is getting so frustrating because the requests are being ignored as if Genesis is not important.

    As with your other comments, i fail to see how ‘confident’ you state your position to be.

    When we stop reading into the text, God’s Words are quite clear. If I am wrong, then all it takes is for someone who knows what truth I am missing to show me. Running around the bush and squawking about the opponents position just won’t do it. Boy I hope that doesn’t sound rude, but it is how I feel. It is f-r-u-s-t-r-a-t-i-n-g!

    I’m not overly concerned with re-kindling old arguments on Gen 1-3, i just simply wanted to point out the fallicy of Susannah’s argument.

    Of course you don’t want to rekindle the “old” arguments because you have been unable to show the transferring of God’s authority over the woman to the man. Honestly, I wouldn’t want to go there either if I was the one with no evidence, but I would do it just for the sake of truth. I embrace truth that is real truth even if it contradicts my position. It is part of my “fear” of God that desires God’s truth no matter how much of my world it might shake up. But you haven’t presented anything to even consider as truth. It’s too bad because I was sure willing to listen to what you had to say.

    Can you agree therefore, that authority existed in the sinless creation of the garden and that authority is not in and of itself sinful?

    Authority only existed with the image-of-God having given that authority. Any change to that created authority without God’s permission is in itself evil and a distortion of the original good creation. And of course God’s authority is a very good thing. But as with everything else satan loves to take what is good and distort it. We must make sure that we are not on satan’s side.

    So unless and until you can prove that God gave Adam authority over Eve in the original creation, you cannot claim that authentic and godly authority includes the authority of the man over the woman.

    Now it is time for you to answer a question. If authority is not given by God but taken upon oneself, is this a description of a usurping of God’s authority? Yes or no?

  202. NN – I agree with you that each gender receives distinct instructions when it comes to the context of marriage (TL is also right, that those instructions apply to all of us in the context of Christian fellowship – sheez, I’m starting to sound like Tevye). What I would not agree with is that those separate instructions create a hierarchy. In fact, although they are separate, I believe the content of the instructions, especially to men, speak explicitely against hierarchy (love unconditionally, serve, honor, live in an understanding way, etc.) Authoritarian agape love is utterly paradoxical.

  203. To Gengwall (219)

    “Authoritarian agape love is utterly paradoxical.”

    Both our proper love toward God and His love toward us is described by the word “agape” – yet He is in authority over us. Whether you think it paradoxical or not it clearly is possible.

    Regarding comment 214 – this string was requested by SM and I am waiting for him (I presume?) to respond to the question for the discussion to proceed.

  204. Cheryl – breath…….

    It is the same old circular reasoning that we always deal with.

    The husband has authority over the wife
    Why
    Because God gave it to him
    How do you know
    Because the husband has authority over the wife

  205. SM,
    You said to NN:

    I obliged you before, but because we seem to both be following this thread which is addressing your article, because this is where the conversation began, because others are engaged in this same topic, for the sake of time following the same conversation in two places, and for various other reasons I believe this venue is suitable and that it would be much easier for us to navigate this one thread on your article.

    That is my desire as well. There are a whole lot of people following this comment stream (apparently) and it is far better to not divide between two blogs the same conversation. I, for one, just don’t have time to be posting on both blogs so this is where I will stay and I appreciate if people interact with me here. I work very hard to keep the atmosphere here as cordial and the passion on issues not on people so I think this is a great venue. Thanks SM for agreeing!

  206. “Both our proper love toward God and His love toward us is described by the word “agape” – yet He is in authority over us. Whether you think it paradoxical or not it clearly is possible.”

    So now we are capable of loving like God???? Especially in marriage? I think you give us (or at least husbands) a lot of credit. Never-the-less, the separate instructions to husbands and wives do not establish a hierarchy.

  207. NN,

    The problem is what you infer from this. Your inference is wrong in that you assume by what is missing that therefore the husband is not to do what is not included in those few sentences even though Paul just got finished telling everyone to do them all. All are admonished to be of a submissive nature toward each other. All are told to love all sacrificially.. These are not gender specific admonitions. However, at the time certain aspects were lacking in marriage. Paul chooses to only address a few things, not everything. He did the same thing with slaves, masters and children, parents. This is not an all inclusive thesis. Paul is only pointing out certain issues.

    Why Paul is only pointing out certain issues is important as well. You assume that the reason Paul is pointing out certain issues is because he is eliminating all the other elements of community Christian behavior when it comes to marriage and instead favors an entirely different paradigm. This is not true. It is not true in marriage, nor is it true between slaves and masters, or between children and parents.

  208. “Hopefully we can agree that the apostles give different instructions to husbands and to wives? (regardless of what the difference might mean or why the apostles might have said it)”

    NN,
    I think that was established some time ago. The problem is what you try to infer from this.

    “Both our proper love toward God and His love toward us is described by the word “agape” – yet He is in authority over us. Whether you think it paradoxical or not it clearly is possible.”

    Yes, it is possible….when one of us is God. When one of us is not – I see no absolute correlation.

  209. Please NN,
    desist from seeming attempts at taking charge of the conversation and answer the posts that are directed to you. This is the respectful thing to do. You can answer several people in one post.

  210. NN (214):
    “If interested for gmail chat ingarandur[AT]gmail[DOT]com – it is so much quicker to figure out where the common ground is for a starting point in the discussion that way, and easier to step through a discussion point by point without it taking aeons…

    I appreciate the invite. I am not so much interested in a “live” chat because I am not able to just sit and carry on without interruption or having to leave the computer for some time. The blog format posting is more compatible with my schedule and responsibilities. Again, there are others who are engaged in this conversation on this thread who seek to understand your premise. This is where your article came under discussion. I didn’t get any answers from my questions posted there when I initially obliged your request but rather you seem to step back somewhat in your comments.

    I have made my questions succinct and clear for the ease of clarity and brevity in your responses; therefore, I a chat would only take much more time than I have.

    NN continues: “Though you raise a good point…”

    Ok, what is the good point I raised? Again, please explain what you are claiming.

    NN continues:
    “I presume that we can agree that the apostles consistently give distinct and non-equivalent instructions to husbands and to wives separately:
    Eph 5, Col 3, 1 Pet 3, etc. – In each case the wife specifically is told that she is to be submitted (”hupatassoe”) to her husband; while in each case the husband is given a distinct and different instruction.
    Whatever the origin of these distinctions are in the case of the instructions given: personal, cultural, or universal – we can at least agree that the instructions given are distinct and non-equivalent.
    Agree? Disagree?”

    I have now answered this at least three times. Here is what I wrote at 209 in this thread:

    “No, we cannot agree that the virtues or principles that should characterize the female or male Christian are unique to their gender. The instructions, as I understand, are addressing real people in real time with their own unique set of political and cultural circumstances. All the epistles are addressing real people including–the disenfranchised and marginalized–Christians, women, salves–and how they can best live out their faith within the current systems…. Given the overall teachings of scripture, I do not see that wives and husbands are given distinct instructions but that the same principles and virtues are incumbent upon both believing spouses.”

    My answer to this question on your journal:
    “I concede that the authors may very well be instructing the original audience how to best live within their current cultural climate given their station in life. Specifically, for wives for whom it was already a cultural mandate to not only submit but obey, the gospel elevates their societal obligation by instructing wives to “submit as unto the Lord” but even more remarkable in a society consumed by status and prominence was the instruction to all (men included) to “submit to one another” (Eph 5:21, etc.).”

    I have been more than fair by consistently and forthrightly answering your questions. However, you have yet to answer one of mine. You avoid by inviting me to your journal. When I pose questions there you evade by responding that you will not answer as it seems I have worked them through myself or by simply restating your presupposition without giving any explanation or basis and when pressed you still do not answer by inviting me to chat as if that will some how simplfy this process.

    If you believe something, say why? It is based on what truth? What fact? What scripture? If it is not based on anything other than your observation or experience or anecdotal evidence then own that.

    I was reading a blog recently where the author claimed that hierarchal complementarianism was divinely ordained because women were less confrontational. He had no scripture. He merely based this on anecdotal evidence based on his experience with his wife, but at least he owned the premise of his reasoning by saying she was more shy and steered away from confrontation, and he believed men to be generally more confrontational therefore qualified for headship i.e. authority and leadership over wives.

    NN, whatever it is, just own the basis of your premise and spell it out for those of us who are sincerely trying to understand your conclusion: —because “eros” exists between a husband (who can never be a wife) and a wife (who can never be a husband) a patriarchal hierarchy is divinely-intended.

    At this point, if you do not do that, I have to conclude either:
    1) that you realize what you thought Paul wrote so directly and what you thought was so clearly evident now appears not so direct or evident, or
    2) that you knew up front you were reading into the text, or
    2) that you do not know the basis of your premise, or
    4) that you realize you were misguided and are backing away from this.
    Which of these is it or is it something else?

    With respect,

  211. Ok I typed a very long response I have no idea what happened to it…. hope to recreate it, we’ll see. If it appears I left out a step in my thinking please ask. I probably just forgot thinking I had already stated it elsewhere. Thanks.

    TL#211″Personal testimony is important. From personal testimony we hear that the majority of women who live within a male dominated marriage suffer from it . Why is that, do you suppose?” This is an unsupportable claim. You can say that the majority women that you have met, the majority of blogs you have read, the majority of comments you have received, but your claims have to stop there. Because I can say with equal accuracy that the majority of women that I know who used to be egalitarians but are now complementarians have found great joy, their marriages strengthened, and their relationship with God deepened.

    And here we come to the crux of the matter. Personal testimonies can be useful, but they differ from person to person. Personal experience does not dictate truth. As such I feel no need to answer you question in that paragraph.

    As to your last paragraph, I have read your responses (I feel the need to point out here that by entering into this discussion I am not under any obligation to answer all questions directed to me. I hope that I am able to as I have time, but I may not answer all of them or answer them to everyone’s satisfaction. Likewise I don’t considering anyone else to be under any obligation to answer all of my questions. And if they don’t I don’t assume any motive, take offense, or think that they don’t have an suitable answer and so are ignoring me. I am sure everyone can agree that internet time/blog conversations are very far down the list of everyone’s priorities. I am sure that I am not going to have ample time to satisfy everyone.) In this case however I have both the time and inclination to answer your question:

    Eph5:23For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
    25Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30because we are members of his body. 3I “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

    I think you and I have very different views about the lordship of Christ over the Church. As such I am not sure how far we can get along this line. I am more than happy to continue to try (as I have time) if you would like.

    TL#181 “The two shall become one flesh is a reference to marriage — of which Christ emulates. IOW Christ’s relationship with the church is likened to the oneness of a marriage. It is not the marriage relationship that reflects the Lord and the church. It is the relationship of Christ sacrificing Himself for the benefit of the church that is likened to a marriage. You have it backwards.”

    I disagree. I don’t think God created institutions on accident or without purpose. Just like the animal sacrifices are a model of the sacrifice that is to come (designed that way from the beginning by God, not referenced in retrospect) so marriage was designed from the beginning as a model of Christ and the Church. I think the Bible suppose the whole of the marriage relationship is a model for the whole of the relationship of Christ and the Church. Not a perfect representation or a one to one corollary any more than the animal sacrifices were to Christ’s sacrifice, but representative non the less. If you think that it is only one aspect of the relationship that is reflected then we are never going to come to any sort of agreement. Which is fine.

    TL#215 you are right that the wife is told to submit herself. This is what I have been saying all along and no different. The Bible (as Pastor Jim Wilson put it) “focuses on the chain of submission not the chain of command”. So I think the question that each wife but seek God on is, how is the Church to submit to Christ? And then do likewise.

    cheryl- I hope to answer your comments towards me next, but since I had to re-do this comment I don’t know when that will be. 🙂 This does turn out to be a good few days for this as I sprained my ankle and am ignoring all housework. 🙂

  212. Tiffany, I’m sorry to hear that you sprained your ankle. Hopefully, your husband will help with the housework. I know how it piles up. 🙂

    Tiffany,
    ”I think you and I have very different views about the lordship of Christ over the Church.”

    Since you are now questioning my relationship with the Lord, I think it behooves you if you explain what you mean and quote what statements lead you to think such. Otherwise, it makes you come off as attempting to discredit someone just because they disagree with you.

    ”Just like the animal sacrifices are a model of the sacrifice that is to come (designed that way from the beginning by God, not referenced in retrospect) so marriage was designed from the beginning as a model of Christ and the Church.”

    It’s pretty easy to recollect the many Scriptures that show us that Levitical Priests sacrifices before God for sin were a forerunner of the last and greatest sacrifice of God’s Son. But please show me a Scripture that says that marriage was designed as a model of the Messiah’s relationship with fallen humanity. And please further show where husbands represent The Messiah and wives represent fallen humanity.

  213. Tiffany,
    You said:

    I would like to make one thing clear if nothing else is- I have not, am not now, nor in the future will be responding to any personal testimonies.

    As you wish. But I think that personal testimonies that share the grace of God in our lives and uphold God’s unique right to our lives is uplifting. I didn’t post my own testimony without a cost to myself. Going back over the failed system in our lives has brought back old pain. If what I share helps even one person, then it is worth it.

    Those who follow my blog know that my focus is on women in ministry and I don’t really like to go into the marriage issue if I can help it. In fact there are times that I only go there kicking and screaming. But when I see God’s hand in a matter, I will be submissive even if it is an issue that my own wish is to put in the background.

  214. “So I think the question that each wife but seek God on is, how is the Church to submit to Christ? And then do likewise.

    I disagree Tiffany. IMO the question is not in what ways does the church submit to the Messiah, because Jesus is God in the flesh and we yield our lives to Him in many ways. The question IMO is in what MANNER do we arrange ourselves under. It is a question of attitude, not to make husbands little christs. We submit our lives to God in trust, honor, support and respect of who He is. We can as wives do the same for our husbands. We should be able to trust him unless he has proved otherwise. We should honor him, support him, and respect him for the person he is in Christ. It seems to me, that should be easy for you to agree with.

    But then we have the problem that husbands should be having the same attitude toward their wives in the fear of the Lord according to vs. 21. It is likely that that is where the problem of our communication lies. However, why would such a basic Christian belief of honoring one another in Christ be deprived of wives by their husbands. Their are plenty of Scriptures that admonish it. Look at all the “one another” verses in the NT.

  215. gengwall,
    You said:

    Cheryl – breath…….

    It is the same old circular reasoning that we always deal with.

    The husband has authority over the wife
    Why
    Because God gave it to him
    How do you know
    Because the husband has authority over the wife

    Boy, oh boy, have you hit the nail on the head! This is what is so frustrating. There is never really any answers to the questions but circular reasoning, alternated with no time for the questions themselves. It comes across to me that their mind is made up and we should not bother them with the facts.

    I still think that these discussions can be very valuable for those who have not hardened their hearts against hearing the hard questions. Such ones may or may not respond here but I am certain that many are reading these discussions and thinking deeply about the issues. That makes it all worth it for me. I do not “go there” easily on the issue of marriage, but when I am willing to be upfront, honest and patient with the opposition, I am looking for God to touch hearts as people see that we have come to our position because of the Word of God, not in spite of it.

  216. TL if I have mistaken your comments for others, my apologies. I do not have the time to sift through 200+ comments on the matter. My reference was not at all to your relationship to Christ but rather the many comments that have made on this thread about the nature of Christ’s authority. The prevailing thought seems to be that the Lordship isn’t an authority but a oneness where authority isn’t necessary. Rather that Christ and the church are going to be one in a way where authority is not applicable. I disagree with this. Thus I view the interaction of Christ and the Church differently and think it applies to the marriage relationship in a different manner. I think Christ requires obedience from me. In fact that that is how we know we are His. I enjoy offering that sort of obedience to Christ. It was not an attempt to discredit you but rather to show that we are just coming at this from different places and as such probably aren’t going to agree on the applications. Which is fine.

  217. Tiffany – “I think you and I have very different views about the lordship of Christ over the Church.”

    I will return to an earlier discussion. The head/body metaphor is in use here. Does the anatomical head exercise lordship over the anatomical body, or are they instead in a symbiotic relationship? Is a husband really to exercise “lordship” over his wife? Are you really going there? Can he establish commandments? Can he force her obedience? Can he bring about her salvation? These are all aspects of Jesus’ lordship. Do you really believe husbands are even remotely qualified, let alone ordained, toperform such actions within the marriage?

    Just because Jesus is Lord in some contexts doesn’t mean His lordship is being addressed by Paul in this passage. Such a universal approach to Jesus puts Jesus in a box. It says “Jesus always and only acts in this mode” or “Jesus is only capable of one relational paradigm”. Jesus, in fact, in the bible, when being spoken of in a marital context, and especially when head/body metaphors are in use, never exercises authority over the church. He does as High Priest and as brother, and God certainly does also as father, but never as husband. The marital paradigm in Jesus’ relationship with believers has a unique dynamic which does not mirror His relationship to believers (or the world) in other paradigms.

  218. Tiffany, apology accepted.

    “The prevailing thought seems to be that the Lordship isn’t an authority but a oneness where authority isn’t necessary. Rather that Christ and the church are going to be one in a way where authority is not applicable. “

    God has authority as our creator. The Messiah, the God-Man has that plus his authority as the Anointed One who by His sacrifice is able to not only forgive our sins, but heal them as well. I don’t think any human can relate to either of those relationships or claim their authority as his own.

    However, the Messiah ALSO relates to us in ways outside of those powerful relationships where authority is not relevant. That is the miracle of Christ walking among us as one of us. His authority among us as friends and the recipients of His amazing gift, is sacrificial love, the same type of love He commands us all to participate in toward one another in every walk of life.

    Perhaps, you simply haven’t had the time to really hear and think about what has been said, and in the manner of us all who are busy just gave knee jerk reactions to some words taking them out of the context of meaning by the authors.

  219. Actually, I should have said “can He punish her disobedience” instead of “force her obedience”. I don’t think Jesus forces anything on us. But there are consequences if we don’t follow His perfect commandments.

  220. Cheryl – along with circular reasoning, hierarchialists also resist the inevitable “in for a penny, in for a pound” reality of their position. They equivocate and use safe sounding words and phrases to not sound “authoritarian” even though they want the husband to be the “authority”. But the reality is you can’t have it both ways. If you are going to use Jesus’ lordship and authority as the model, you have to go the whole 9 yards (ok, enough cliches). The husband has to be everything that Jesus is to the world and the church: husband is law giver; husband is high priest; husband is father; husband is savior; husband is ruler; husband is king; husband is god. They will say “well, I don’t mean THAT”. But the reality is that you can’t avoid that if the husband is the “lord” of the marriage. Anything less and they have absolutely no support for their position. The husband can’t be kinda, sorta, just a little bit lord, for Jesus is no such thing. So if wives really, really want their husband to be Jesus the Lord (instead of Jesus the bridegroom), then they have to accept their husband as all powerful king. If they accept a less powerful alternative, they are actually denying Jesus’ lordship.

  221. To SM (227)
    (I apologize for the clipped nature of this post: I don’t have time to sit and make the prose nice)

    I asked:

    “I presume that we can agree that the apostles consistently give distinct and non-equivalent instructions to husbands and to wives separately:
    Eph 5, Col 3, 1 Pet 3, etc. – In each case the wife specifically is told that she is to be submitted (”hupatassoe”) to her husband; while in each case the husband is given a distinct and different instruction.”

    If I may paraphrase: You answered – ‘No, the distinctions of instruction given to husbands and wives are due to the particular people and circumstances which the apostle is addressing.”

    I shall lay out the argument from beginning to end as a thread of formal logic –

    + The apostle tells the wife and the husband different things. (This is indisputably in the text itself – the sentences which Peter & Paul address to “husbands” and “wives” are different)
    + There are three possibilities regarding the differences:
    1) The differences are purely prosaic & have no substantive meaning
    ~ This is implausible as the words used are quite different and non-parallel; also two different apostles in three different places utilize extremely similar instructions which differentiate between husbands and wives
    2) The instructions are intended only a particular set of specific individuals or only to the specific culture being addressed and are not universal.
    ~ This in unsupportable due to in text commentary of the apostles on the matter; each time the apostle discusses the matter he makes no reference whatsoever to the particular circumstance or culture. In various places Paul comments on the metaphysical origin for differentiation between the husband and the wife. In Ephesians 5, Paul makes analogy between the marriage relationship of a man and a woman to the union of Christ with the Church – this relationship, by definition, transcends any cultural boundaries. In 1 Tim 2, Paul makes differentiation between men and women and then gives the reason that it is due to the events with Adam & Eve in Genesis – again the events of Genesis preceed any particular human culture. The commentary offered by the apostle when discussing the nature of any gender based distinction in marriage universally denies us any possibility of concluding that the remarks are only pertinent to a specific culture. Rather, they are transcendent and will therefore find expression within any particular culture. This brings us to the third possibility –
    3) The instructions are intended to be universal as part of the current created order (whether due to God’s original design or as a result of the Fall it is the proper order now)

    The above logic chain proves that the differentiation between men and women is a truth which transcends particular culture – but it does not prove that it is hierarchical. To prove that we must examine the particular instructions give:
    Women are told to “hupotassoe” their husbands – this same general instruction is used by Paul in the same context to describe the proper actions of citizens toward their governments and slaves toward their masters. Furthermore, we are instructed by the Christ that we are to obey the governing authorities (“render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s”) so we must interpret Paul’s specific instructions to wives to be in keeping with his use of the words to describe other obedience relationships. Since Paul explicitly gives no such equivalent instruction to the husband the relationship logically must be hierarchical.

    Thus is it demonstrated that the apostolic instruction regarding the marital relationship is both hierarchical and universal in application.

    Having gotten thus far let me state clearly that the origination of hierarchy from the basis of what I have called “eros” is a hypothesis on my part. It fits by far the best with all available evidence provided by Scripture that I have seen – but I cannot logically prove it in the same way (as a scientist trained in formal logic I mean something very specific when I say “prove”).

    …. My computer is apparently not liking the length of this response, lest I lose it I shall continue later in another comment rather than risk losing this. This is also probably a good stopping point to make sure that there are no questions thus far.

  222. I agree with Gengwall and Tl. When Jesus is referred to as our “Brother,” does that put brothers in authority? What about when He’s referred to as the Lamb who “opens not its mouth”? Was that an authoritative role? Clearly not every role Jesus takes is a role of authority.
    I’m not disputing Christ’s authority, nor the validity of authority in general. But when Christ and the church is discussed in Ephesians 5 in the context of marriage, what action do we see Christ taking towards the church? Giving her commands? No. Leading her? No. Submitting even unto death, in order to make her “glorious”? Yes.
    Husbands are told to emulate Christ in submitting even unto death– not in having authority.
    Authority in the New Covenant is not given in a blanket fashion by God to all who are born to a certain condition. It is by calling of the Holy Spirit.

  223. Marke, I never said authority=evil, I said authority was instituted BECAUSE OF EVIL, i.e the presence of sin.
    As I suspected, the only foundation you can give is “God says,” but you did not answer my question: WHERE DOES GOD DECLARE IT AND WHY DID DECLARE IT. This is the question comps cannot answer wherefore they must resort to the Divine Commandment Theory, i.e. it is right because God commands it, but the question whether God has actually commanded it, cannot be proven by such a theory.

    Comps have done a superb job at convincing the church that egalitarianism is caused by post-modern philosophy. Of course they have zero proof of it and can only demonize women’s rights movements, as the White Supremist demonized the civil rights movement. Whereas both of these movements had some issues, they were hardly influencing the church to remove itself from the original plan; even comps admit that there was plenty wrong how the church used to teach wifely submission etc. That said, it was actually ancient philosophy which changed our view from egal to comp by making the woman inferior. Where do we get the idea that a wife should be under the husband’s authority? From the Vulgate, in which Jerome translated Gen 3.16: “under the man’s authority will you be and he shall rule over you.” This was perceived to be a commandment until 1980’s. Luther, who BTW used the Hebrew Bible, as did Jerome, translated Gen 3.16, “your will shall be under the man’s authority and he shall rule over you,” and this is where we get the idea that a husband should place his wife’s will under his authority. Very few know about these changes since our modern Bibles use the word “desire,” which is also a false translation.

    Gen 1 describes the rule of a rational over an irrational, Gen 3 describes the sinful rule of a rational over an other rational being, but Gen 2 describes love, which is why it is used in Eph 5 to fortify the teaching that a man should love his wife as he loves himself.

    You asked why authority or rule was necessary in the sinless world. As i pointed out, and as God himself declared it was there before the fall. Therefore you ought to be more regulated in your arguments, rather than declaring that ‘rule’ is a consequence of sin. If God ordained that authorty exist in a sinless world we ought to teach and know that- that’s my point. Once that is set as the foundation, then one can look further to see if such authority existed between husband/wife and if it did, we can be confident that authority is not in and of itself sinful. This is at the heart of many egalitarian arguments, and unfortunately they by pass this point assuming authority=evil (which of course is a by-product of our post modern philosophy)

  224. NN– the principles of the Scriptures are timeless. But there are cultural assumptions being made all the time by the writers and original readers of the text, who shared understandings that we lack. The question is not, “are the instructions only cultural?” but “how would these instructions have been understood in their original culture?” I maintain that these instructions, in their original culture, would have been seen as instructions to husbands to lower themselves from the elevated position their culture gave them, and to raise their wives up as full equals in Christ.

  225. “But the reality is you can’t have it both ways. If you are going to use Jesus’ lordship and authority as the model, you have to go the whole 9 yards (ok, enough cliches). The husband has to be everything that Jesus is to the world and the church…”

    gengwall,
    You beat me to it –
    Paul simply illustrates the love and mututal submission inherent in the “one flesh” relationship by likening that relationship to the self sacrafice and devotion that Chist has for His Church. At the same time, he stops short of extending Christ’s Lordship to the husband. Rather, the sacrificial giving and caring of the husband is a two way street which invovles mutual submission as a matter of course (Eph 5:21).

  226. Mark and NN, it seems to me that you begin with the ASSUMPTION, that God instituted authority at creation, and it seems to me also that you have never challenged the thought, which is why you cannot provide the actual text in the Bible where it says so. This is of course supremely common in all of humanity, not only Christians, for we all profess unchallenged beliefs that we have been taught, yet not thought through. So, look through your Bibles and see if you can find a text where it says: “God instituted authority at creation” and post it here for all of us to see.

  227. Hi everyone,

    I’ve “a problem” in my life that needs to be “removed”. God knows what it is that I am refering to. Can anyone or everyone please pray for this matter to be removed! Please!! Thank you! Had to ask here cause I come here all the time and I love this place…

    (Sorry, Cheryl)
    Okay, please continue… 🙂

  228. NN, thanks for a response.
    First you write (239): “let me state clearly that the origination of hierarchy from the basis of what I have called “eros” is a hypothesis on my part.”

    Now we get to the bottom of that issue. In your article which you quote in your comments on this thread you are making a claim based on what you say is “direct”, “clear”, and “evident” in Eph 5:22 without identifying the words or phrases that either explicity state this or from which you infer this. Thanks for owning your hypothesis.

    BUT, just when I thought I could “put to bed” this issue of “eros” being the basis of patriarchal hierarchy in marriage you continue:

    (239) “[Eros] fits by far the best with all available evidence provided by Scripture that I have seen…”

    Ok, I thought it was a hypothesis. Once again, would you be so helpful as to provide the scripture that you claim establishes “eros” as the basis for patriarchal hierarchy in marriage, other than Eph 5:22 which you cover already in your article under discussion and up to this point have yet to use effectively to support this claim.

    NN continues: “…- but I cannot logically prove it in the same way (as a scientist trained in formal logic I mean something very specific when I say “prove”).”

    I haven’t been asking you to “prove” the basis of your thesis. I have been simply asking you to support your claim that as we turn to Eph 5:22 we can see “clearly”, “directly” and “evidently” that “eros” between to “inequivalent” persons constitutes “a natural and God-made asymmetry”.

    NN, you have had many opportunities to post in comments here and on your journal “all available evidence provided by Scripture that [you] have seen” and have not stepped up, yet?

    I would be eager and diligent to read “all available evidence provided by Scripture”.

    Patiently,

  229. To SM (248)
    Before I continue, may I ask you to respond to the rest of the 239 comment to ensure that we are ‘on the same page to that point’ – if not then anything more that I say in continuance will be unclear. We must ensure complete understanding up to this point before proceeding if we wish to get anywhere.

    (It is really quite necessary to make sure that everyone agrees about the data points before trying to draw a correlation line through them.)

    And I guess another post-script is in order: by ‘hypothesis’ I also mean something quite specific. In physics we use the ‘ergodic hypothesis’ – it is something that is quite apparent in every observation we ever make of the universe; but we haven’t yet figured out how to prove it from first principles…. By hypothesis, I mean that it is the best model that I have seen to date to explain the available data, but I have not found a way to prove it from first principles.

  230. Sue: “Authoritarian erotic love is deeply problematic and the source of the greatest human evil.”

    Authoritative erotic love is not far from pornography.
    The third quote in the video I linked below states:
    “The fusion of erotic pleasure with the domination of females is a very dangerous place to have reached.”
    Sadly, there is a slippery slope going from ‘authoritarian erotic love’ to ‘the fusion of erotic pleasure with the domination of females.’

    Most comps I know don’t see erotic love as a place for male authority over female. And it is a good thing. Authoritative and erotic combined lead to pornography.

  231. NN: (239) “[Eros] fits by far the best with all available evidence provided by Scripture that I have seen…”

    SM: “Ok, I thought it was a hypothesis. Once again, would you be so helpful as to provide the scripture that you claim establishes “eros” as the basis for patriarchal hierarchy in marriage, other than Eph 5:22 which you cover already in your article under discussion and up to this point have yet to use effectively to support this claim.”

    sm,
    He’s going to have a fine time finding that one since, as gengwall pointed out, ‘eros’ is nowhere to be found in the NT.

    *pinklight*,
    Done!

  232. What NN is referring to is the scientific principle of falsification: you cannot prove something correct, you can only falsify a theory, i.e. prove it wrong. This however does not apply to pseudo sciences, such as theology, for you cannot prove anything right or wrong using the same test as the original researche in order to see if you can falsify it. E.g. how do you prove God exists? You cannot, but neither can you prove he does not exist. In theology we use therefore the Bible as our point of reference: it has to be in the Bible for it to be correct. To say, “God says it” is invalid unless one can show that it is in the Bible, unless of course one wants to start a cult.
    NN cannot prove his thesis for it is not in the Bible, neither can Mark, wherefore they use the scientific principle of a hypothesis: they begin with the assumption that the man’s authority exists in the Bible and set out to prove it. This works in science, but not in theology.

  233. NN (249),

    Your article hinges on your thesis–your claim from Eph 5:22 that “it becomes apparent that there is another sort of love operative here – “eros”…. The presence of this type of love is distinctive of the marriage relationship…. And if we recognize that this sort of love is between two inequivalent people then the hierarchical nature of the marital relationship instructed by Paul becomes evident.”

    As I see it, this is the critical issue as it relates to your article under discussion here. The rest of your article hinges on how well you support your thesis from scripture. (I understand this to be a theological discussion.)

    NN, I am simply asking you to sell me your thesis. You make a claim but fail to support it with “all the available evidence provided by scripture [you] have read.” (NN at 239)

    Once this issue of “eros” is “put to bed”, then we can move forward because your thesis is unsupported.

    Fortunately for me this isn’t rocket science or physics. All I am simply asking for in this theological discussion is “all the available evidence provided by scripture [you] have read” that supports the foundation of your article.

  234. “Most comps I know don’t see erotic love as a place for male authority over female.”

    Mara,
    That has been my experience as well, although I have encountered many who teach on the importance of the husband’s sexual satisfaction to the near exclusion of the wife’s. It’s difficult for comps to outright deny 1 Cor. 7:4, but they try various means to qualify it.

  235. ” And if we recognize that this sort of love (eros) is between two inequivalent people”

    This is where I think the proof breaks down. What compels me to acknowledge this inequivalency? Nothing that I can see. It is presumptive. I don’t have any proof that the two people in a marriage are inequivalent so I have no reason to recognize anything about eros based on said inequivalency.

  236. “Most comps I know don’t see erotic love as a place for male authority over female.”

    Boy would we like it to be, though. If there is any realm where men have an overwhelming urge to exercise authority, it is this one. All the more reason we should read 1 Cor 7 every couple of days.

  237. To SM (253)
    The concept of hierarchy stems from ‘eros’ necessarily hinges first on hierarchy existing. This is why I am asking you to respond to the content of (239) before we proceed. (there must be a common grasp of arithmetic before there can be progress in algebra)

    I shall await your convenience.

  238. gengwall, (255)

    This is how NN defined at my request “inequivalent”:

    “In this case “inequivalent” means that two “objects” (people) are not the same in the sense that you cannot reverse the relational statement concerning them and have it hold true (mathematically we would say that the relationship between them is not transitive).”
    http://nuallan.livejournal.com/53190.html

    I conceded the point that a man is always a husband and not a wife and the woman is always a wife and not a husband.

    However, they are both each other spouse and partner, in addition, they are co-heirs together with Christ, sons of God within the family of God, members of the Body of Christ, co-laborers in the Kingdom of God, vice-regents of God’s creation…

  239. Kay, thank you!!

    I’m still behind at like 203 and trying to catch up )))aahh(((( lol

  240. Hmmm…I sense that this is what is being presented about the people on this blog:

    There is a childlike inability to understand a concept … without someone taking control of the discussion…theology is the same as mathematical processes…no answers will be forthcoming… inevitably you will be at a place where you can figure it out for yourself…the teacher’s task is done…you didn’t get it?…back to square one…you must be the problem…

  241. To SM (253)

    NN, we cannot progress if you keep change the game. 258 comments in, plus the questions posed on your blog, and you want to change games. I am going to stick with your thesis presented in your article under discussion in this thread which you first brought to this thread in your comments which have remained unsubstantiated.

    Your thesis in your article is that when we turn to Eph 5:22, “it becomes apparent that there is another sort of love operative here – “eros”….The presence of this type of love is distinctive of the marriage relationship….And if we recognize that this sort of love is between two inequivalent people *** THEN *** the hierarchical nature of the marital relationship instructed by Paul becomes evident…. And we see that in the marital relationship – when there is “Eros” that this leads to the specific instruction of the wife to submit to the husband AND the husband to take responsibility over this to exercise a sacrificial love to care for his wife.” (emphasis added)

    Now you are changing your position and claiming:

    “The concept of hierarchy stems from ‘eros’ necessarily hinges first on hierarchy existing.”

    Gosh, which is it?

    I am beginning to think you are not convinced of your own thesis. If you are not convinced, you cannot sell it to anyone else.

    I will only address your thesis presented in the article under discussion on this thread. I am eager to have you explicate, substantiate, or retract.

    Still patient,

  242. NN cannot prove his thesis for it is not in the Bible, neither can Mark, wherefore they use the scientific principle of a hypothesis: they begin with the assumption that the man’s authority exists in the Bible and set out to prove it. This works in science, but not in theology.

    Ain’t that something.

  243. To Susanna (252),
    I will say this as nicely as I can…
    Your grasp of the concept of formal proof is completely incorrect.

    Formal proof is any logical proof developed from axioms (‘first principles’ – truly fundamental first principles, by definition cannot be proven). This is quite as true of science as of theology (though of course what each considers “first principles” are quite different)

    What you call “the scientific principle of a hypothesis” – is also a poor understanding of the scientific approach to discovering things. In science the best practice is to determine a hypothesis from the most straightforward interpretation of some fact and then to determine what ‘data’ would show the hypothesis to be false – and then examine this ‘data’.

    Which incidentally is exactly the approach that my original post details:
    >>A straightforward reading of passages such as Col 3:18, Eph 5:22, 1 Pet 3:1, etc. suggests a hierarchy implicit within the nature of the marriage relationship.
    >>What could make this hypothesis untrue? Well if we misunderstood the nature of the instruction given – for instance if ‘hupotassoe’ didn’t really convey the ideas of obedience. Or if the command was given because of a specific cultural condition which is no longer true.
    >>Then we examine both of these falsification conditions (as discussed in my original post – http://nuallan.livejournal.com/52878.html, and throughout this comment thread, including (239)). And both of these falsification conditions are shown not to be the case – as such the original hypothesis is demonstrated from first principles.

    When I say that I have proven something (theologically); the presumed first principles are that the Bible is inerrant (true in all it espouses and does not contradict itself); and that it may be understood in context of the text itself.

    Finally, as an aside which I should have asked many times over now: what would the falsification conditions be for your theories? I know that most people do not naturally think this way but it is essential to being able to identify when things are true & false (based on certain axiomatic presumptions), proven & unproven.

    As an example consider (250 – my apologies Mara but it really makes a great example)
    “Authoritative and erotic combined (by which she means ‘the fusion of erotic pleasure with the domination of females’) lead to pornography.” This implies that pornography is the result of a “male dominant – female subjugated” sexual mindset. But if this were true then we would not expect to find pornographies (and illicit sexual practice) in which the two partners were “equal” or in which the female were dominating over the male, and yet this is empirically observed to be the case.

    Always look for falsification conditions – without them we can never recognize a proof and tell it apart from a hunch.

  244. My apologizes to the blog owner and readers if it appears I am “beating a dead horse.”

    Though a newcomer to this Doctrine of Complementarianism, I have done a great deal of reading and listening to sermons/teaching and have not heard once this idea that “eros” constitutes the hierarchy. For that reason and the obvious, I believe such a thesis, as all theses should, be qualified biblically–this is a theological discussion. No formulas, signs, or symbols necessary–just scripture.

  245. NN- I will give my 2 cents on 239.

    “To prove that we must examine the particular instructions give:
    Women are told to “hupotassoe” their husbands – this same general instruction is used by Paul in the same context to describe the proper actions of citizens toward their governments and slaves toward their masters.”

    And Christians to each other. You seem to conveniently leave out the preceeding verse.

    “Furthermore, we are instructed by the Christ that we are to obey the governing authorities (”render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s”) so we must interpret Paul’s specific instructions to wives to be in keeping with his use of the words to describe other obedience relationships. Since Paul explicitly gives no such equivalent instruction to the husband the relationship logically must be hierarchical.”

    No, it doesn’t logically have to be a hierarchy. Are we instructed to obey the other Christians that we are submitting to in the prior verse? Where is the hierarchy that you believe must logically exist in Ephesians 5:21?

    NN – I suggest that you are missing one possibility. I suggest that Paul is turning submission on its head. Sure, Paul talks about hierarchical submission in other contexts such as government/citizen, and master/slave. But marriage and the body of Christ are far cries from those types of relationships. Certainly you would agree with that. Isn’t it possible that Paul is showing us in Eph 5 a different kind of submission, one that is mutual, unifying, and non-hierarchical?

    In order for marriage to be a hierarchy based on Eph 5:22, Christian to Christian relationships also are compelled to be a hierarchy. But we know, certainly, do we not, that Eph 5:21 is suggesting no such thing. Paul certainly is not saying, after two chapters about unity in the Body, that we have authority over each other and that we have to submit each of us to the authority of another brother (or sister, I might add) who equally has authority and also must submit. What nonsense.

    Do you deny that the submission in Eph 5:21 between believers exists in a new paradigm, without any authority? Do you deny that the submission of wives is of like kind? I don’t know how you could based on the text. I agree with you (and disagree with many of my compatriots here) that the Eph 5 instructions are universal. But hierarchy is not what is at all in view. I believe Paul is saying that wives in particular have a universal problem (others think it merely cultural) with the new Eph 5:21 type of submission when it comes to their husbands. But that submission is not to an authority but to an equal. That submission is not obedience but cooperation. I think wives struggle with that because of the fall and I think Paul is remedying that in his instruction. But it does not confirm that the hierarchy that was brought on by the fall is correct. In fact, Paul’s subsequent instruction to husbands, to agape their wives, remedy’s another evil from the fall – husbandly authoritarian rule. Paul is not creating or even substantiating a god ordained marital hierarchy, he is destroying the the evil hierarchy introduced at the fall.

    It is tough for husbands to love. Paul says “get over it and do it”. It is tough for wives to have a submissive attitude in light of the evil that authoritarian male rule has imposed on them throughout time. Paul says “do it anyway”. What results if both spouses follow Paul’s instruction? Marriage ascends to the mysterious level of the Christ/Church relationship. Marriage goes back to what it was like in the garden, before sin tainted our behaviors and perspectives. That is why you can’t divorce this teachign from the Genesis account. Genesis 1 describes a perfectly equal relationship between husband and wife. Genesis 2 shows mutual love and submission melding two people into one flesh. Genesis 3 shows that relationship torn assunder. And what is the evidence of the rupture? Authoritarian rule of husbands over wives. What is the solution? Well, read Ephesians 5 and you will have it.

  246. To Cheryl re comment #260. Might I recommend you read your own advice back in comment 12 or TL’s in #143? No one (NN, Mark or myself) have said anything of the sort. You have stated that you are frustrated with the conversation so maybe that’s why you are reading into things, but either way, nothing like what you stated has been said.

    still intending to re join the discussion, just can’t believe how many comments there have been in a few hours time.

  247. NN,

    Are you confusing your blog entry at LJ titled, “The Question of Patriarchal Hierarchy as a Biblical Doctrine” in which you do use
    Col 3:18, Eph 5:22, 1 Pet 3:1 with the article under discussion here: “‘Mutual Submission’ – Submission in love: Agape & Eros” of which your thesis regarding “eros” has been challenged for lack of support?

    Hopefully this is an inadvertent mistep on your part, otherwise, it appears you are changing the focus of the discussion from your article “‘Mutual Submission’–Submission in love: Agape & Eros” and its thesis.

    Still patient,

  248. NN – “What could make this hypothesis untrue? Well if we misunderstood the nature of the instruction given – for instance if ‘hupotassoe’ didn’t really convey the ideas of obedience. Or if the command was given because of a specific cultural condition which is no longer true.”

    Exactly. In Eph 5:21, ‘hupotassoe’ does not convey the idea of obedience. Nor does ‘hupotassoe’ literly mean obey. Nor is the idea of obedience absent from Paul’s letter – it is explicit in the next chapter when his concludes his trilogy of relationships. If Paul meant “wives obey your husbands”, why didn’t he just say that like he says it for children and slaves? The answer seems obvious: because he is not conveying the idea of obedience with wives.

  249. To SM (262)
    In my original post on “eros,” (http://nuallan.livejournal.com/53190.html) I note that this concept is underpinned by a previous post giving explicit proof for hierarchy (http://nuallan.livejournal.com/52878.html) – the proof for hierarchy came first; though you seem to have latched onto them in reverse order. That I am telling you that any discussion of hierarchy based on “eros” must first presuppose that hierarchy exists is something I have already said and should not be strange to you.

    But to clarify the nature of the other statement – we have a quote in physics:
    “But the real glory of [a conceptual model] is not that we can find the answer, but that we can find a way of thinking such that the answer is self-evident.”
    The concept of “eros” as explaining marital hierarchy is a model; but we must have a common understanding of the data before a model can possibly make any sense.

    This is what leads us back to the content of (239) – we must be mutually clear on the data before having a meaningful discussion of the model.

  250. As far as falsification.

    You could prove our theories false if Paul literally said “obey”, if Eph 5:22 was sufficiently divorced from 5:21, if it could be demonstrated that Eph 5:21 submission contained a hierarchy, if it could be demonstrated that agape is not exclusively selfless and service oriented – that it contained an aspect of authority, if the Greek “head” could be shown to include authority in anatomical metaphor (or “body” include obedience)… that’s just off the top of my head. I believe we have been asking for that all along.

    On the other hand, as I noted in my previous post, you acknowledge that your theory could be proven false if “‘hupotassoe’ didn’t really convey the ideas of obedience”. It does not in verse 21. Therefore, your theory is false. Thanks for the heads up.

  251. NN – Another thought. Your theory relies on explicit and narrow definitions of words from an author who is quite noteworthy for stretching the conventional meanings of words and using them in novel contexts. I believe I could say your theory is on shaky ground just by citing the numerous times Paul goes beyond tradition and cultural convention in his writing. To presume that Paul is being dogmatic with ‘hupotassoe’ really doesn’t give the aopstle his due as a thinker, informer, and teacher.

  252. NN – you said, “+ There are three possibilities regarding the differences” (239)

    True, but we are not restricted to these three or the combinations of these three that are possible. In fact you have not taken into account my reading of Ephesians that I offered as an alternative. Paul is addressing people in a particular culture about issues that stand above cultures, but he does so in a way relevant to their culture.

    I am glad you mention Ephesians, Colossians and 1 Peter because when we look at all three I think it helps us see that the Holy SPirit is trying to communicate something other than something distinct about marriage relationships, but rather something distinct about being in Christ and how this influences marriage AND parent/children AND slaves/masters.

    Finally, I find it interesting that people want to distinguish between a wife submitting, and a husband loving (like CHrist). For all you Calvinists out there (not trying to rekindle old discussions!) Calvin in his commentary on Eph 5:21 draws the connection with submission to love (as does Phil 2 of course, and John 3:16 etc etc). It is Paul in Romans 13 who says we have only one debt outstanding to one another – to love. Perhaps we do not want to say flat out that submission = love, and yet it would appear that for Paul it was a culturally sensitive way of expressing an ongoing truth about Christian marriage (and other Christian relationships).

    I would love your thoughts NN.

  253. (220)

    To Gengwall (219)

    “Authoritarian agape love is utterly paradoxical.”

    Both our proper love toward God and His love toward us is described by the word “agape” – yet He is in authority over us. Whether you think it paradoxical or not it clearly is possible.

    This is weird fundamentaly. It’s struck out at me. It’s possible of humans because it’s possible for God?

  254. Okay, I am completely naive but I am totally unaware of any pornography in which there is not some form of dominance, or objectification of one gender by the other.

    In any case, most pornograpy is well and adequately described as graphic representation of erotic activity in which one person dominates the other. I can’t imagine that most Christian women would participate in this willingly. I can hardly believe we are even discussing it.

  255. “To prove that we must examine the particular instructions give:
    Women are told to “hupotassoe” their husbands – this same general instruction is used by Paul in the same context to describe the proper actions of citizens toward their governments and slaves toward their masters.”

    Just reading this again, another anamoly jumps out. Marriage and the Body of Christ are decidedly not “in the same context” as the military, goverment and slavery/employment. How horrible if they were. Again, I think the complementarians here need to think outside the box a little. Paul is not drawing parallels to different forms of submission, he is making distinctions from them.

  256. NN (270),

    “In my original post on “eros,”….I note that this concept is underpinned by a previous post giving explicit proof for hierarchy… ”

    The only note to a previous post in the article under discussion here is how “wives be subject” is defined and is as follows: “However, as discussed previously, the instruction here given is the same as that given to servants toward their masters and citizens toward the ruling authorities – it is quite clear that this instruction does imply submission to authority.”

    In the article under discussion “Agape & Eros”, your thesis is that in
    Eph 5:22, “it becomes apparent that there is another sort of love operative here – “eros”….The presence of this type of love is distinctive of the marriage relationship….And if we recognize that this sort of love is between two inequivalent people *** THEN *** the hierarchical nature of the marital relationship instructed by Paul becomes evident…. And we see that in the marital relationship – when there is “Eros” that this leads to the specific instruction of the wife to submit to the husband AND the husband to take responsibility over this to exercise a sacrificial love to care for his wife.” (emphasis added)

    It is clear in context and with the conclusions you draw that your “eros” thesis was not supported by any claims or conclusions drawn from another article.

    NN: “the proof for hierarchy came first; though you seem to have latched onto them in reverse order.”

    I’m simply reading what you wrote.

    NN: “That I am telling you that any discussion of hierarchy based on “eros” must first presuppose that hierarchy exists is something I have already said and should not be strange to you.”

    I have not read you actually address the questions concerning your “eros” thesis until 239 after multiple requests by me and another commenter. Even then you backed off from your claim stating it was your hypothesis. However, in the next sentence (239) you claim “all the available evidence provided by scripture [you] have read” best fits your hypothesis, but you do not provide this evidence after multiple requests.

    NN: “But to clarify the nature of the other statement – we have a quote in physics:
    “But the real glory of [a conceptual model] is not that we can find the answer, but that we can find a way of thinking such that the answer is self-evident.””

    Again, this is a theological discussion, however it sounds like your physics quote is what theologians call reading into the text–reading the text with presuppositions.

    NN: “The concept of “eros” as explaining marital hierarchy is a model; but we must have a common understanding of the data before a model can possibly make any sense.”

    A model of WHAT!?
    What DATA informs the MODEL!?
    It is clear that the “simplicty of the gospel” has been forsaken.

    In order for a meaningful discussion to ensue, NN, you must explicate, substantiate, or retract your thesis in the article under discussion.

    NN, I’ve given you many chances to sell your claim.

    Barely patient,

  257. Sue – while technically, there can be pornography where both partners are “equal”, the appeal of pornography (at least for men) is control and power. Even if the actors convey a loving relationship (as happens with homemade porn), the observer gets a power rush because they feel like they have control over sex, to put it simply. So, in a sense, it is the observer who is being dominant, even if the actors aren’t. You are not naive; you may only have not been aware of how deep the deviancy goes.

  258. Sidebar – a definition of pronography which is well accepted in men’s forums that deal specifically with the subject is “ANY object, event, or act outside of the marriage relationship which either has as its universal intent or has for the individual the effect of sexual stimulation.” I will give an example of each while trying to avoid being explicit. Fettish porn is porn, not because it even necessarily shows any sexual act but because its intent is to sexually stimulate those who have the fettish. On the other hand, lets say that I find, I don’t know, raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens to be not only a couple of my favorite things but also sexually stimulating. I may be the only one in the world who has that particular reaction, but if I seek out those things for such stimulation, they are pornography for me.

  259. To SM (277)

    To reiterate – the content of (239) is essential to any concept of hierarchy based on ‘eros’ – therefore I do not plan on discussing it further until you respond to the content of (239).

    And on the matter of patience – I have taught physics to the intellectual equivalent of labradoodles before and they did not test my patience so much. I have asked repeatedly for you to respond to the content of (239) and you have made none – but since this is fundamental to the concept of eros it would be highly ill-advised to proceed without establishing the groundwork first. (Please understand, what you are asking for is the equivalent of asking someone to explain algebra to you – this is fine but only if you understand arithmetic first)

  260. “Which incidentally is exactly the approach that my original post details:
    >>A straightforward reading of passages such as Col 3:18, Eph 5:22, 1 Pet 3:1, etc. suggests a hierarchy implicit within the nature of the marriage relationship.”

    NN is attempting to claim the “straightforward reading” of scripture – problem is, he does not consistently follow his own method as he introduces, from thin air, the concept of “eros”.

  261. NN,

    Here is another example in the concluding paragraph wherein you reiterate your thesis:

    “The operation of eros within the marital relationship *****leads to**** an natural and God-made asymmetry of the relationship….”
    (emphasis added)

    Would you like to reword your thesis and any restatements i.e. the one above from the article under discussion? If so, how would you restate it?

  262. NN @ 280
    “the content of (239) is essential to any concept of hierarchy based on ‘eros’ -”

    Exasperating…..

    Here again your asserting what you wrote in 239 is essential to your *****concept of hierarchy being based on “eros”******.

    I’ve lost count, but let’s give it another go….

    From where do you get the concept of hierachy based on “eros”?

  263. To SM (282)
    Here at least I see where you have misunderstood.
    – “Leads to” this is a shorthand from scientific writing (and philosophy in general). My apologies, I am so used to it that I sometimes forget that most people are not. What this specifically means is that “If we presume ‘X’ then this has the logical consequences of ‘Y’: and the shorthand is that we say “‘X’ leads to ‘Y.'”

    (Realize first that my “blog” is not so much meant for the public as to record my thoughts for my own later reference [I state this at the top of my “blog”].)

  264. To SM (283)
    I’ve reiterated more times than I care to recall – I will not do so again.

    Once and only once you address the content of 239 we shall move forward.

  265. This concept of marital hierarchy based on sexual and erotic love (eros) is beginning to sound like a power paradigm. Some of the early church fathers who said things like: “the man has broad shoulders so is created for leadership and the woman has wide hips so is created for bearing children” had a similar view in mind. This may be part of the ideas that women are irrational (more emotional) and men are logical and rational (not emotional) which carries hints of men claiming to be more powerful and superior. Also, the Buddistic views that because of the shape of sexual organs and man being the giver/initiator, thus man is the more powerful and fit for leadership while women are to be receptive to male leadership. All of these concepts whirl around excuses to claim power to males. None of them are Biblical. It is not the way God thinks about things.

  266. Tiffany,
    You said:

    To Cheryl re comment #260. Might I recommend you read your own advice back in comment 12 or TL’s in #143? No one (NN, Mark or myself) have said anything of the sort. You have stated that you are frustrated with the conversation so maybe that’s why you are reading into things, but either way, nothing like what you stated has been said.

    Here is the problem…many of us have asked over and over again where the authority of the man over the woman is found in Genesis and no answer is given. But there is a control tactic going on saying that there will be no answers forthcoming unless SM can answer something first.

    So I am going to ask it another way and I would ask respectfully that either you or NN please answer. When did God institute the authority of the man over his wife? Was it in Paul’s day that this was instituted? If not, when was it instituted? I think that these are perfectly good questions and deserve to be answered. Why should we accept that there is a male authority resulting in a hierarchy of man over woman if such a distribution of authority from God cannot be determined? If we can know when the authority over creation was given, why cannot we know when authority over the woman was given?

  267. NN (284)

    “Leads to” was not lost on me.

    So let’s break down your restatement of your thesis: “The operation of eros within the marital relationship leads to an natural and God-made asymmetry of the relationship….”

    “X” leads to “Y”

    X= operation of eros within the marital relationship between two “inequivalent” persons
    Y=”an [sic] natural and god-made asymmetry of the relationship (hierarchy)

    “The operation of eros within the marital relationship leads to an natural and God-made asymmetry of the relationship….”

    Would you like to reword your thesis and any restatements i.e. the one above from the article under discussion? If so, how would you restate it?

  268. Is a husband really to exercise “lordship” over his wife? Are you really going there? Can he establish commandments? Can he force her obedience? Can he bring about her salvation? These are all aspects of Jesus’ lordship. Do you really believe husbands are even remotely qualified, let alone ordained, toperform such actions within the marriage?

    Great questions on “lordship”!

  269. Just because Jesus is Lord in some contexts doesn’t mean His lordship is being addressed by Paul in this passage. Such a universal approach to Jesus puts Jesus in a box. It says “Jesus always and only acts in this mode” or “Jesus is only capable of one relational paradigm”. Jesus, in fact, in the bible, when being spoken of in a marital context, and especially when head/body metaphors are in use, never exercises authority over the church. He does as High Priest and as brother, and God certainly does also as father, but never as husband. The marital paradigm in Jesus’ relationship with believers has a unique dynamic which does not mirror His relationship to believers (or the world) in other paradigms.

    And this is why he is not “head” of the world, but only his “body” the church!

  270. “And this is why he is not “head” of the world, but only his “body” the church!”

    Amen to that pinklight! This is why the big plan in Ephesians 1:10 is that all things (all of creation) will be brought into harmony with Christ as the head…and we see this in the church now, but wait for Jesus’ return to see it with all things.

    ps – I prayed for you!

  271. ” “X” leads to “Y”
    X= operation of eros within the marital relationship between two “inequivalent” persons?Y=”an [sic] natural and god-made asymmetry of the relationship (hierarchy)”

    NN, OK this is sounding more and more like a power paradigm. What is the inequivalence between husband and wife? The man is usually more powerful in body and the woman is the weaker vessel (body). What other inequivalence do you see. And how does one person being stronger than another create a natural hierarchy of authority?

  272. NN (285)
    “I’ve reiterated more times than I care to recall – I will not do so again.”

    You have not once substantiated your thesis other than claiming that as we turn to Eph 5:22 that “it becomes apparent that there is another sort of love operative here – “eros”? WHERE in Eph 5:22 in “Wives, unto your husbands…” is it apparent that “eros” is “operative”?

    If I missed it, as we are posting rapidly, will someone, ANYONE, point it out to me?

    Where has NN substantiated by listing “all available evidence provided by Scripture” (NN 239) that he believes supports his thesis under discussion?

  273. #239

    Regarding masters and slaves –

    1) The differences are purely prosaic & have no substantive meaning
    ~ This is implausible as the words used are quite different and non-parallel;

    2) The instructions are intended only a particular set of specific individuals or only to the specific culture being addressed and are not universal.
    ~ This in unsupportable due to in text commentary of the apostles on the matter; each time the apostle discusses the matter he makes no reference whatsoever to the particular circumstance or culture.

    3) The instructions are intended to be universal as part of the current created order (whether due to God’s original design or as a result of the Fall it is the proper order now)

    NN,

    Do you believe in natural slavery? Perhaps those humans with the intellect of Labradoodles should be slaves of physics instructors.

    PS. I would also like to know if you are familiar with the use of hupotasso in 1 Clement 38 as referenced in BDAG, and are you aware that Clement, Chrysostom and Calvin, for starters, all interpreted submission to a neighbour as NOT relating to authority. Since “love your neighbour as yourself” represents a truly symmetric relationship, and is the most important law of Christ next to loving God, and imposing your authority on anyone at all is not found in the Bible, I have to wonder if we are refering the same Bible, or if you have some other text.

  274. NN, even the quote I used in 294 was from within the article itself not from anything you have provided in this discussion to support your thesis.

  275. Since Paul explicitly gives no such equivalent instruction to the husband the relationship logically must be hierarchical.

    This logic is not necessary. The husbands of his day already had authority over their wives, so the logic doesn’t and wouldn’t matter.
    The question is did Paul reveal somekind of authority? And why would he? They alreayd had authority. But if your speaking in terms of “spiritual authority” the logic still wouldn’t matter, cause it still doesn’t follow.

    There is no “the relationship therefore logically must be hierarchal.” Must be my foot. There is no solid connection whatsoever that forces that conclusion. It’s just “belief” that cannot be proven.

  276. Or is it possible that we need a degree in physics to understand that the husband has an authority over his wife? Maybe that is why we don’t get it?

    Yet what I have seen from the Scripture is that God is very clear in the areas of sin so that we are warned to keep away from sin. If we reject the husband’s authority over their wives then wouldn’t that make us subject to sin? Yet it is never listed in the Scripture so that all can understand this. And no list of sins describes not taking authority over their wives as a sin. It is extremely odd if God indeed has delegated authority to husbands.

  277. To SM
    Is there a reason that you are so averse to commenting on the logical content of comment #239? – Here it is for your easy review – http://strivetoenter.com/wim/2010/05/23/authority-vs-submission-biblical-view/comment-page-3/#comment-12105

    I would quite like to discuss the idea of eros as operative within the marital relationship and its consequences – but any such discussion would be pointless without first establishing the common ground as I developed it in #239 (or alternately at the post on my “blog” prior to the one about “eros” in which I detailed the theoretical groundwork)

  278. This is the question comps cannot answer wherefore they must resort to the Divine Commandment Theory, i.e. it is right because God commands it, but the question whether God has actually commanded it, cannot be proven by such a theory.

    🙂

  279. NN, I’m not stupid, you’re not stupid, so let’s not treat each other like one is, ok?
    You wrote that a formal proof can be derived from an axiom. For the readers who may not know what an axiom means:
    “In traditional logic, an axiom or postulate is a proposition that is not proved or demonstrated but considered to be either self-evident, or subject to necessary decision. Therefore, its truth is taken for granted, and serves as a starting point for deducing and inferring other (theory dependent) truths.” (From wikipedia)

    I.e. you do not need to prove what the axiom (or first principle) is, for it is considered self-evident. As you also admitted, everyone has a different opinion as far as the first principle is concerned. And here’s the problem: you consider the man’s headship a self-evident truth which you do not need to prove and from this axiom you create your formal proof that the man has authority over the woman.
    If I would use this same principle, I could call myself a god. The axiom would be that a god can create and sustain life, and since I have just created a new human being which I sustain through the milk I create, I am a god. I.e. anyone could choose an axiom of their own and provide logical proof. For this very reason, in theology, we must all agree what the axiom is, e.g. God exists, and it must not only be logica, it must also be found in the Bible. So far I have asked you to provide a text which says God gave the man authority over the woman, but the only thing you have done is to provide formal proof that your axiom, which you cannot prove, is correct. It ain’t gonna work.

    Formal proof is any logical proof developed from axioms (’first principles’ – truly fundamental first principles, by definition cannot be proven). This is quite as true of science as of theology (though of course what each considers “first principles” are quite different)

    And as far as a hypothesis goes, I do not have a poor understanding of it. You do not begin with falsifying your hypothesis, you begin by seeingif you can show it to be correct. E.g. I begin with the question: If I eat a pound of candy every day, will I gain weight? The next step is to try it out, to eat a pound of candy each day and see what the scale shows, while controlling all the variables. If after a set amount of time, let’s say a week, I have gained weight, my hypothesis has been proven true. If I have not gained weight, my hypothesis has been proven incorrect and I need to modify it, or discard it. You must begin with an assumption, for the purpose of a hypothesis is to see whether your assumption was correct or not. In science, a hypothesis must be falsifiable to be considered strictly scientific. Since you cannot prove God exists, or that he does not exist, theology does not function in the same way as science. This does not mean that we cannot use the same principles, but we must remember that some things can be proven, others cannot. As far as the man’s headship is concerned, you have chosen to treat it as a first principle which cannot be proven, whereas I treat the subject as one needing more proof than just “God says” for I believe if Gof said it, I would find it in the Bible. This is where the whole debate hinges on. Either you prove to me that God says in the Bible that he gave the man authority in the Bible or I will consider you to have lost the debate.

  280. There is a childlike inability to understand a concept … without someone taking control of the discussion…theology is the same as mathematical processes…no answers will be forthcoming… inevitably you will be at a place where you can figure it out for yourself…the teacher’s task is done…you didn’t get it?…back to square one…you must be the problem…

    ROFLOL!!

  281. Cheryl (218)

    Let me say a few things. I have given you much to look at in Gen 1-3 before. As i recall, you have yet to deal with the grammatical issues i have raised…do you remember that! Why will i waste my time saying things over and over when you haven’t even dealt with past issues. Also you might wish to be careful of what you say, as if you are the only one ‘fearing’ God. Remember the tax collector’s prayer?

    Maybe one point that can help clear the issue. Where is one verse that tells husbands to submit directly to their wives? Since we know it does not exist, why the egal push to claim something the Bible never declares. Here lies the inconsistency, you reject male authority because there is no ‘explicit’ command of God in Gen 1-3 (while you reject or re-interpret everything showing it), yet you wish to promote an egal theology where a husband is never told to submit to his wife (but rather the command is always for the wife to submit). If you wish to be taken seriously you need to be consistent in your threads. You can’t demand something in Gen 1-3, but then do the reverse in the New Testament.

    By the way, i never had the intention to answer your or Susannah’s questions. I simply wanted to show that authority did exist in the pre-fall world.

    Final thought just to re-inforce. I want you to prove from scripture where a husband is told to submit to his wife explicitly- this way the issue should be solved. You can ‘disprove’ all the reverse passages as much as you want, but you must therefore show where a husband is told to submit to his wife. If you cannot do this, the point is proven- egals are teaching a false teaching, something not declared in scripture. Then for you to be consistent, show me the second or third witnesses from the Bible. I will wait for all eternity i assume!

  282. “And on the matter of patience – I have taught physics to the intellectual equivalent of labradoodles before and they did not test my patience so much.”

    This really doesn’t seem to resemble Christian charity.

  283. Mark,
    You said:

    Let me say a few things. I have given you much to look at in Gen 1-3 before. As i recall, you have yet to deal with the grammatical issues i have raised…do you remember that!

    No, where? Please give me a link to where you showed that God gave man the authority over the woman. I have never seen it but if you claim that you gave it, then please either repeat your argument or give a link so we all can read it.

    Why will i waste my time saying things over and over when you haven’t even dealt with past issues.

    I have never seen anything about God giving man authority over the woman that I haven’t dealt with. I have asked the question over and over again and never got an answer. If you think you answered, don’t you think it would be strange that I didn’t answer? This would be the place to give the answer since there are a good many people watching this blog article so your answer can go out to many more people. Maybe you can just summarize it, because honestly I do not recall seeing any place you showed a quote from God or other about a giving of authority in the original creation to the man to have over his wife. Perhaps you wrote it on another blog. Help me out guys, has anyone seen Mark’s argument where he shows the time when God gave the authority to the man to have over the woman?

    Also you might wish to be careful of what you say, as if you are the only one ‘fearing’ God. Remember the tax collector’s prayer?

    Pardon? Where did I say that I was the only one fearing God? And why would you accuse me of being a self righteous Pharisee?

  284. I answered #239 – finding fault with NN’s assertions that Paul’s teaching tells the husband and the wife different things, and these differences have to be either “purely prosaic” or “only cultural,” or “a universal part of the created order,” as follows:
    “NN– the principles of the Scriptures are timeless. But there are cultural assumptions being made all the time by the writers and original readers of the text, who shared understandings that we lack. The question is not, “are the instructions only cultural?” but “how would these instructions have been understood in their original culture?” I maintain that these instructions, in their original culture, would have been seen as instructions to husbands to lower themselves from the elevated position their culture gave them, and to raise their wives up as full equals in Christ.”
    The reason the apostle makes no reference to a particular culture is that the cultural norms were assumed by the apostle and his readers. If I tell a friend who lives across town that I’m coming over to her house, I don’t need to mention I’ll be driving my car. She and I both already assume this. Someone in a later century, who doesn’t understand our culture, might think that because I didn’t mention a car, it means I walked. But such an assumption would be erroneous, based on not understanding what my friend and I take for granted.
    Male authority over the female was assumed by Paul and his readers– but should that assumption be considered part of the timeless, universal truth he was conveying? Or do we, as modern readers, need to take the assumption into account so that we’ll understand what Paul’s readers would have understood?
    If male authority in the culture is taken as assumed, then the different things Paul told men and women make sense in that culture as changes to that state of affairs. Kenneth Bailey says in Jesus through Middle-Eastern Eyes, “An innovator in any age must deal with tradition. Some things are omitted. Some things are endorsed and left unchanged. Still others are revised through the introduction of new elements.” (p. 107) Paul’s writings do NOT show the endorsing of the traditional idea of marriage in that age by leaving it unchanged. Instead, he takes the traditional view of marriage and OMITS what would have been the expected, direct instruction regarding husbandly authority — speaking instead of the husband’s role as nurturer and provider for the wife. Then he REVISES the traditional view of marriage through the introduction of the concepts of mutual submission and husbandly emulation of Christ (not in taking authority over the church, but in laying down His high privilege and giving Himself up for her).
    In other words, there is a fourth choice that NN overlooked– the idea that differences in Paul’s instructions are not to be disregarded as “only cultural,” but ARE to be read in terms of what they meant in that culture, before we try to apply them to our own.

  285. So– having previously given an answer to NN’s post #239 which he said he wouldn’t proceed without, and now having expanded on it– does that satisfy you, NN?

  286. Cheryl,
    The only issue I have ever brought up in my comments in this thread is “wives submit to your husbands as the church does to Christ”. That the earthly marriage relationship is a model for the heavenly one and we as wives need to figure out what the relationship of Christ and the church is to look like and build our doctrine from there. That is the issue I have tried to address multiple times now. So no I haven’t attempted to prove anything from Genesis because I am speaking of Christ and the Church and the probative passages are in the NT. The only nod I have given to the discussion of authority is to acknowledge it can be used wrongly and damage people which was an awful thing.

    If I remember correctly a few hours ago (and about 100 comments ago) you addressed my comments on that. I am going to look for that response and respond to you. (and to genwall as well as he (?) has asked some very good questions.) But I don’t intend to jump into a separate conversation on genesis as I do not have the time for two topics. If this one gets finished out I might reconsider.

    As to your insistence of NN to do so, about 100 comments (208)ago he requested a “last call” if you will to him for any questions anyone felt to be of critical importance as he has other more pressing matters to address. SM (209) was the one that responded and he is the one that NN has been attempting to answer. He is not trying to hold the rest of the conversation in one spot, he is simply trying to address the question (albeit yet to SM’s satisfaction) that was put to him. You didn’t ask that question then and to be honest I don’t think he has read in entirety any comments that have dealt with other topics since his “last call.”

    You suggest in a comment above that “running out of time” is some sort of excuse given when comps. don’t have answers for you. Given that there have been 300 comments on this topic, over 100 of them just today, can you not realize that is a very legitimate concern whether the person feels they can answer you or not? Surely you have at times had to post pone or abandon web activity for things more pressing? And especially in a debate like this where there are 3 comps (who have all stated from the beginning that they aren’t trying to prove every objection you have to the theology) and by my count at least 10+ egals, that expecting everyone to stick around until you are convinced or they are isn’t reasonable? If someone says- “hey I’m out of time” why not just take them at their word instead of insinuating it is an excuse because they don’t have the answers.

    Now I am going to see if I can find your comment addressing my comments on Christ and the Church.

  287. “Where is one verse that tells husbands to submit directly to their wives?”

    Ephesians 5:1-21 is addressed to all Christians in Ephesus, and indirectly to all Christians everywhere. It is not necessary to make a list of all ages, nations, and classes of people that “all” includes. All/Everyone includes husbands and wives. This goes for verses 1-2 as well as verse 21. So even though Paul does not tell wives specifically to love their husbands and does tell husbands specifically to love their wives, this does not mean that wives don’t have to love their husbands in the same way that Christ loved and loves us. And when Paul says that that we “Christians” are to arrange ourselves under one another in the fear of the Lord, that includes all ages and all classes of people. And it has nothing to do with authority.

  288. Tiffany – I certainly endorse your view that human marriage and Christ/Church marriage are being paralleled, most notably because Paul says so. I would quibble that Christ/Church is the model, not earthly marriage, but I suspect you mispoke. And I would agree also that “we as wives [and husbands] need to figure out what the relationship of Christ and the church is to look like and build our doctrine from there.” The question remains though, is there only one relational paradigm between Christ and the Church? Is the Christ/Husband-Church/Bride relationship the same as the Christ/High Priest-Church/Flock relationship? I would argue that it is not at all. And so, I would amend your comment to read “”we as wives [and husbands] need to figure out what the MARRIAGE relationship of Christ and the church is to look like and build our doctrine from there.” when we are talking about marriage. And I would further argue that in that context of marriage, scripture never points to Christ as the authority over His bride.

  289. I guess wives are not supposed to love their husbands since the Bible never says explicitly “wives love (agape) your husbands.” It says phileo your husbands.” Of course the Bible says to all Christians: love another, but since there is no such explicit commandment, wives are exempted from loving their husbands with agape love.

  290. And Mark, if you have no intention to answer our questions, why are you here? If you want to do a monologue, I am sure there are plenty of places where you can do so.

  291. Mark,

    Concerning: “Where is one verse that tells husbands to submit directly to their wives? Since we know it does not exist, why the egal push to claim something the Bible never declares.

    It’s plain as day. There was a comment above that articulated it all so well. Can’t find it — i’ll try to recapture it:

    Ephesians 5:21-25

    verse 21: Paul states “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Plainer than plain that all are included in this statement, husbands, wives, slaves, masters, friends, co-workers,….

    verse 22: Paul tells wives to submit to their husbands. He doesn’t mention that wives are to love their husbands. Just because he doesn’t mention it are we to conclude they are excused from doing so? Of course not. It’s quite the given. Surely the least intuitive bone in the least intuitive person has to start tingling with recognition of the truth of this.

    verse 25: Paul tells husbands to love their wives. He doesn’t mention that husbands are to submit to their wives. Just because he doesn’t mention it are we to conclude they are excused from doing so? Especially in light of verse 21, of course not. It’s quite the given.

    Reading this as a whole as if for the first time (if only we could detox our brains), those least intuitive bones have to start tingling with recognition of the truth of this as well.

    We can get so tangled and twisted in analyzing and dissecting parts of the Bible (and flooding our minds with the analyses of others) that it becomes too convoluted for common sense. We miss the fact of the forest, trying to figure out the meaning of lichen and drops of sap.

  292. To Kristen (308)
    With regard to your dispute of the logic chain of (239) – your position falls within the scope of possibility 2 – you claim that the instruction was specific to the culture and not universally applicable.
    However, I presume that you grant that some instructions are universal and transcend ANY cultural institution:
    e.g. God exists, man is sinful, all men are instructed to repent from their wickedness and seek God through the atoning work of Christ, etc.

    Since you have sought to answer this, ask yourself this question:
    How can one tell the difference? Let us presume that Paul gave instructions which were specific to the culture and are no longer directly applicable to our culture and also that he gave instructions which were universal and transcend any specific culture. How can one biblically tell them apart.

    I quite agree that Paul was both wives and husbands radical things about marriage – I think that Paul was telling husband’s that, in Christ “authority,” is quite a different thing and to be used in an entirely different way than the world preaches. That it is about nurturing and sacrificing, quite the opposite of the self-centered power of the world.

  293. “I think that Paul was telling husband’s that, in Christ “authority,” is quite a different thing and to be used in an entirely different way than the world preaches. That it is about nurturing and sacrificing, quite the opposite of the self-centered power of the world.”

    LOL – well then it isn’t authority. If it looks like a sheep, and walks like a sheep, and bahs like a sheep, it certainly isn’t a duck.

  294. Tiffany,
    You said:

    The only issue I have ever brought up in my comments in this thread is “wives submit to your husbands as the church does to Christ”.

    Would it not be fair to add that your argument has been that the reason for the submission is because the husband has authority just as Christ as authority over his church? So the question about when did God authorize the man to have authority over his wife is really appropriate.

    So no I haven’t attempted to prove anything from Genesis because I am speaking of Christ and the Church and the probative passages are in the NT.

    Is it your position then that the authority that the husband has that models the authority of Christ over the church is not an authority that originated in Genesis but sometime after, perhaps in the New Testament era?

    The only nod I have given to the discussion of authority is to acknowledge it can be used wrongly and damage people which was an awful thing.

    Are you sure that you don’t believe that the husband has authority over his wife? In comment #234 you said:

    The prevailing thought seems to be that the Lordship isn’t an authority but a oneness where authority isn’t necessary. Rather that Christ and the church are going to be one in a way where authority is not applicable. I disagree with this. Thus I view the interaction of Christ and the Church differently and think it applies to the marriage relationship in a different manner.

    Seems to me that you are saying that in authority of Christ applies to the marriage relationship but in a different manner. Perhaps I have taken some of NN’s comments and assumed you agreed with him. Would you be willing to give your opinion on authority? After all this is what this post is about – authority vs submission.

    But I don’t intend to jump into a separate conversation on genesis as I do not have the time for two topics. If this one gets finished out I might reconsider.

    Sure, as you wish. I am just glad to have some complementarians here to interact with. You are free to comment on what you want and if you are not making claims, then you are not the one who would need to support something you are not claiming.

    As to your insistence of NN to do so, about 100 comments (208)ago he requested a “last call” if you will to him for any questions anyone felt to be of critical importance as he has other more pressing matters to address.

    I have not available much today even though I tried. If he is willing to take one question from me, mine is when did God give authority to the husband over the wife? Was in the time of creation, or later or in the NT? When?

    You suggest in a comment above that “running out of time” is some sort of excuse given when comps. don’t have answers for you.

    Actually I have found that complementarians don’t answer questions by several ways:
    1. They demand answers from us before they will answer the simple questions.
    2. They say they do not have time to deal with it.
    3. They just don’t answer and go on to something else.

    If we are to love the truth, then we should be willing to answer questions. I do understand that many people aren’t open to any other view than their own and so they don’t entertain questions. But for those people, I don’t know why they would bother to come on an egalitarian blog? It doesn’t make sense to me at all. There are some basic questions that everything else is built on and knowing when (and how) God gave special authority to Adam that he was to have over Eve is a basic question. Of course if God didn’t give authority at creation but gave it at another time, then perhaps Genesis isn’t applicable.

    Given that there have been 300 comments on this topic, over 100 of them just today, can you not realize that is a very legitimate concern whether the person feels they can answer you or not? Surely you have at times had to post pone or abandon web activity for things more pressing?

    Sure all the time. However the question I have been asking is a consistent one every time that authority is brought up and we have not yet had an answer from complementarians.

    And especially in a debate like this where there are 3 comps (who have all stated from the beginning that they aren’t trying to prove every objection you have to the theology) and by my count at least 10+ egals, that expecting everyone to stick around until you are convinced or they are isn’t reasonable? If someone says- “hey I’m out of time” why not just take them at their word instead of insinuating it is an excuse because they don’t have the answers.

    I guess the reason that I feel this way is because of lots of words written about things that are not in the Bible and non-Biblical arguments but no time for the very basic Biblical argument. It is so simple. Or is it? If we cannot identify when God gave an authority to Adam or to any other man, then why should we consider that there is a God-given authority? I don’t doubt that there is a man-centered authority that the world practices, but I think as Christians we need to base our doctrine on the bible and God’s word.

    Anyways, looking forward to reading what else you write. I know I have more to correspond to, but it is difficult for me to get everything done and for one person to answer everyone’s posts. I do try my best to do as much as I can.

  295. Maybe one point that can help clear the issue. Where is one verse that tells husbands to submit directly to their wives? Since we know it does not exist, why the egal push to claim something the Bible never declares.

    A verse where Paul says for *husbands* to submit to their *wives* does not exist.
    A verse where Paul says for all to submit to one another does.
    A verse in Genesis saying that Adam had authority over Eve does not exist.

    Here’s one way to describe the difference:

    “One another” encompasses husbands.
    “Helper” does not encompass the concept of “Adam’s authority”.
    Being created second does not encompass “Adam’s authority”.
    “Eve’s deception” does not encompass “Adam’s authority”
    There is nothing in Genesis that encompasses “Adam’s authority”.

    Conceptualy it is truly impossible to prove from the written word that Adam or husbands had spiritual authority over their wives. In other words within the words themselves that are penned there is no way to drawout “authority” of the husband.

  296. Trying to pull out “husband authority” from the written word is like to draw water from an empty well. There is nothing in there. What happens is that relative connections are made and in that way husband authority is be read into the text. But it surly ain’t there in the word itself.

    I’m glad it’s all written down. That’s what changes everything. So we don’t have concepts in space that we are trying to catch.

  297. “…especially in a debate like this where there are 3 comps… and by my count at least 10+ egals”

    Tiffany – please don’t see this as a 10 against 3 fight. If your counts are correct, we are 13 people all searching for truth. And don’t assume all of us egals are in lock step with Cheryl or each other. We all have our differences, and sometimes they are quite striking. In fact, since Cheryl keeps track of this much better than I, I bet she could remember times when every one of the 10 has differed from her, and certainly we differ from each other. There have been times when I have sided with Mark, and I acknowledged some agreement with pieces of NN’s view on the passage at hand. So, I hope we can all best view this as an exploration in which we all have something to contribute and something to learn.

  298. RE Cheryl #186 you state

    “Submitting to the Lord is clear – we are to submit “in the sincerity of heart”. In the same way we are to submit to our husbands in sincerity of heart. But the Bible doesn’t say that we are to submit as to Deity because that would be idolatry. In fact many women are guilty of idolatry by putting their husbands before the Lord.”

    you also say that is how the church submits to Christ. Could you elaborate some on what you mean by sincerity of heart? I think I understand you but would rather make sure before addressing that specifically.

    And you are quite right that we are not to submit as to deity. Truth is determined by Christ, not husbands. A husband can’t declare to a wife “I believe the sky appears green and you do too.” It is a truth that is outside of them, one which they need to find together ideally. Although the Bible makes provision if they don’t, telling believing wives to submit to unbelieving husbands. (I can’t copy and paste references now, I am one handed with a baby at the breast, I trust you know whereof I speak). So if the unbelieving wife is submitting it obviously isn’t to ideas of false truth. So how is she submitting? I think I know what your response will be but rather than assume I will wait for it.

    You state

    “But the question I would have for you, if a husband doesn’t take authority, then what good is his having authority? Most staunch complementarians will agree that the authority that belongs to the husband is a trump card that is to be pulled out whenever the wife’s will is different than the husband’s will. It (the authority) decides whose will, will be followed. If it (the authority) isn’t brought out then the marriage is following the egalitarian model for unused authority is no different in reality than no ultimate authority.”

    I am going to perhaps confuse things here and say that the husbands authority isn’t a trump card. In fact I would like to ignore husbands for minute. I would put that the issue of submission between husband and wife isn’t primarily about resolving conflict. Looking at the church’s submission to Christ it doesn’t seem that solving a fight is even a consideration. Rather as His bride it is the churches desire to serve Him, please Him, become more like Him (and yes follow His commands, but that should be a delight, not a forcing of the will). So my observation is that if you have gotten to the point where a trump card is needed that both husband and wife have already screwed up. That neither are operating by the rule of Christian love, that the husband isn’t loving and sacrificing as Christ did and that the wife isn’t seeking to submit (honor, please, etc) as the church. Now in human relationships the likelihood is that they are going to screw up at some point and then you come up to this idea of a trump card and the husband taking authority, but I think this is a symptom of something already gone wrong. So of course if the husband uses said trump card it is going to hurt both him and his wife. (I expect that you are going to disagree rather strongly with this idea of submission. I am not trying to lay blame or suggest specific sin on the part of anyone here. But rather explain how I don’t see “can the husband use his trump card to take authority” to be a question that has to be answered if we correctly understand other things first.)

    You are right that we are not under Christ’s authority as conquered subjects, but rather as joyful worshippers. And this is a oneness. But it is still oneness on Christ’s terms. He is still Lord. And there are still things required of us. It isn’t a 50/50 split oneness, or even a 51/49 split oneness, but a 100/0 split oneness. It is a good and joyful not forced freely given 100/0 split onesness. I think this is directly applicable to the marriage relationship. Much has been made of the idea that the mirror of the marriage of Christ and the church is about representing onessness. I am with you all on this, but I am putting forth that it is this sort of onessness and that is what the marriage relationship should reflect. Once again I suspect you are going to strongly disagree (and that there will be some on here who will be mad at the suggestion. I suspect that we agree on the type of oneness of Christ and the church but not on it’s applicability. If we don’t agree on the Christ/Church part I will elaborate with references. Once again I am one handed and trying to only type what I must.) I will wait however to answer specific objections as they come up rather than a pre-emptive strike.

    I think that is all the main question you had for me in 186. If I missed something please feel free to point it out.

    Gengwall (if you are reading this) I am going to try and answer your questions next.

    To all- I had opportunity to respond today as much as I did due to my ankle. If I wake up tomorrow and can comfortably function as normal there is a good chance I won’t respond again until tomorrow evening. Just giving fair warning.

  299. We miss the fact of the forest, trying to figure out the meaning of lichen and drops of sap.

    lol

  300. wow, there were 10 comments just as I was trying to write mine.
    Cheryl-I think I address your questions about my views on authority in my comment. If not let me know.

    gengwall- not seeing it as a fight, but simply a numbers = time issue. If there are three times as many people asking questions on one *side* than the other it is simply going to be difficult to keep up. I don’t assume that everyone agrees with each other on here who is egal, which will actually make for more questions and more time. Ok, off to find your comments to me….

  301. Mark,
    It is quite like you to ask questions instead of answer them. You may not mean it this way, but it comes across as being evasive.

    I was going to answer once again when I see pinklight has just responded to you in summary that is wonderful:

    A verse where Paul says for *husbands* to submit to their *wives* does not exist.
    A verse where Paul says for all to submit to one another does.
    A verse in Genesis saying that Adam had authority over Eve does not exist.

    Here’s one way to describe the difference:

    “One another” encompasses husbands.
    “Helper” does not encompass the concept of “Adam’s authority”.
    Being created second does not encompass “Adam’s authority”.
    “Eve’s deception” does not encompass “Adam’s authority”
    There is nothing in Genesis that encompasses “Adam’s authority”.

    Great summary!

    Mark, you said:

    By the way, i never had the intention to answer your or Susannah’s questions. I simply wanted to show that authority did exist in the pre-fall world.

    You had no intention on answer our questions? Why am I not surprised?

    Final thought just to re-inforce. I want you to prove from scripture where a husband is told to submit to his wife explicitly- this way the issue should be solved. You can ‘disprove’ all the reverse passages as much as you want, but you must therefore show where a husband is told to submit to his wife. If you cannot do this, the point is proven- egals are teaching a false teaching, something not declared in scripture. Then for you to be consistent, show me the second or third witnesses from the Bible. I will wait for all eternity i assume!

    All of us (including husbands and wives) are part of the one another’s that are to submit to each other:

    Ephesians 5:21 (NASB)
    21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.

    1 Peter 5:5 (NASB95)
    5 You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.

    Galatians 5:13 (NASB95)
    13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

    1 Corinthians 16:16 (NASB)
    16 that you also be in subjection to such men and to everyone who helps in the work and labors.

    Now what Scripture can you give to show where God delegates authority to the man to be the authority over his wife?

  302. Context, context, context!!

    Eph 5:1-3
    Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. NKJV

    All Christians are told to live a life of love AS CHRIST HAS LOVED US AND GIVEN HIMSELF TO US! I.e. ALL Christians should live as Christ, loving each other (John 13-17), and to love with self-sacrificing love (agape) which is God’s love for us. It is not just for husbands to imitate Christ, Paul even says “imitate me as I imitate Christ,” we should all be like Christ, which is why we are called Christians. (Now that is an axiom, if nothing else is! LOL)

    Hey Cheryl, I think we won the debate (doing the victory dance…), for you know you have won when the opposing party gets nasty (rule #1 in debating: the one who gets mad has already lost). If the foundation of Mark and NN’s theology is that the Bible never says explicitly that a husband ought to submit to his wife, then egals are right, for it is the weakest argument that exists and is disproven in about three seconds. As far as Gen 1-3 is concerned, Grudem & co all agree that it does not mention the man’s headship which is why they have to go to the NT to find it (which is equivalent of saying the Constitution affirms slavery three thousand years from now).

  303. To Gengwall (318)
    So your claim is that “authority” is not nurturing, self-sacrificing or centrally focused on the good of others.

    What then are the implications of raising children as described in the Bible? What then shall we call the actions of a parent who nurtures their child by disciplining them for getting into the medicine cabinet? Or insists that they do need to finish their homework despite the pressing allure of a video game? (fortunately my children are still young)

    Are these actions characteristic of “authority?” – Absolutely
    Is this type of authority rightly nurturing, self-sacrificing and centered on the good of others. – Completely
    Is this the type of authority that God exercises over us as His children. – Most assuredly

  304. Tiffany,
    You asked:

    you also say that is how the church submits to Christ. Could you elaborate some on what you mean by sincerity of heart? I think I understand you but would rather make sure before addressing that specifically.

    I have highlighted three Scriptures below that I believe show the way in which we are to submit. It is not insincere to forced or coerced but in sincerity of heart:

    Ephesians 6:5 (NASB)
    5 Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ;

    1 Peter 1:22 (NASB95)
    22 Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,

    Colossians 3:22 (NASB95)
    22 Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.

    You said:

    Truth is determined by Christ, not husbands.

    I couldn’t agree with you more! Yeah! Agreement!

    It is a truth that is outside of them, one which they need to find together ideally.

    This is the basis of egalitarian-style marriage. Working hard together to be a unity of two operating in agreement.

    Although the Bible makes provision if they don’t, telling believing wives to submit to unbelieving husbands.

    Believers are told to witness to their unbelieving husbands through their chaste and reverent behavior. Because Christ gives women freedom, it was thought that Christianity would cause women to be against their husbands, but thoughtful caring women who respected their husbands and loved Christ could soften their hearts toward Christianity.

    So my observation is that if you have gotten to the point where a trump card is needed that both husband and wife have already screwed up. That neither are operating by the rule of Christian love, that the husband isn’t loving and sacrificing as Christ did and that the wife isn’t seeking to submit (honor, please, etc) as the church.

    That is exactly my point. If a comp couple live a life together of honor and respect and love, they will have the exact same model as an egalitarian couple who live a life together of honor and respect and love.

    So what’s the difference? The only difference will be when there are differences of wills. If the wife submits each time and gives up her will and the husband is not given the opportunity to give up his will for her, then it is not a truly sacrificial marriage for him.

    Now in human relationships the likelihood is that they are going to screw up at some point and then you come up to this idea of a trump card and the husband taking authority, but I think this is a symptom of something already gone wrong. So of course if the husband uses said trump card it is going to hurt both him and his wife.

    I agree that the husband using the trump card of taking authority over her will, will hurt both him and his wife. But it is not necessarily something gone wrong, just that God created us with different wants and likes and passions and at times these will clash when we care the most.

    And this is a oneness. But it is still oneness on Christ’s terms. He is still Lord.

    Yes, it is indeed a oneness. And the “terms” that Christ has set out are shared authority. Although he is the one who will judge and He said that not even the Father will judge, we are invited to judge with Him. His heart of love for His bride shows a consistent loving sharing of everything that He has with her.

    It isn’t a 50/50 split oneness, or even a 51/49 split oneness, but a 100/0 split oneness.

    I don’t know what you mean by this. We are joined with our Lord, but we don’t disappear. I am confused by what you mean by 100/0 split oneness.

    The question I have from what you have written, is how do comps affirm husbandly authority when it is sin that would cause him to take his authority over her will? You said that if he does this then it will hurt them both. That is how we see it too. That is why egalitarians work hard to not have one person take authority over the other. I causes a deep hurt that is not meant to be there in the marriage. And if there is no authority that is taken over another person’s will, then an unused authority is just as good as no authority at all. If I am wrong about this, then how do you see an authority that is not used over the other person as a viable, real authority? And why would God created an authority for man that wasn’t meant to be used? I am quite unsure of your views because your husband sounds way more like a complementarian than you do. I am not trying to cause an offense, just making an observation perhaps from the lack of information?

  305. Susanna,
    You said:

    Hey Cheryl, I think we won the debate (doing the victory dance…), for you know you have won when the opposing party gets nasty (rule #1 in debating: the one who gets mad has already lost).

    It was interesting that Mark came out swinging even though he has not been a major part of this discussion so very little has been addressed to him. I was surprised in one way but not surprised in another way. I think I understand why he comes across in anger. If one cannot respond to the questions and your position is something that you have a strong emotional attachment to, then when your security blanket is being pulled on, you will react aggressively. Anger is a good cover for other emotions.

    Mark just doesn’t have the answers, although he has convinced himself that he does, without actually giving those answer to us. But I am starting to get to know Mark a bit and I think he is a good guy at heart and in the basic Christian doctrines we are in agreement and likely he could be one of our good friends if we knew him face to face. But he gets hot when he is challenged and some of his conversation is less than charitable. My first thought is, boy he must be really insecure in his position to throw out shots like that, but then another part of me has a lot of sympathy for him because I know that he is showing discomfort because of the challenge. I know that it takes a big man to change one’s position and sometimes it takes years, but if we keep acting in love even when we are mocked, we are following what we have been called to do by our Lord. I trust the Lord that he can get through to Mark. I believe that Mark’s heartfelt desire is to stay right where he is theologically. Who will win in that battle will depend on the two of them.

    Now to Mark, I agree with Susanna. When you attack the person instead of dealing with the argument, it will be seen as a sign that you lost the debate. If there is anything you need to work on to make you more effective in your argument, it is to work on the charitable nature which I am sure is there within you. Fair enough?

    As far as Gen 1-3 is concerned, Grudem & co all agree that it does not mention the man’s headship which is why they have to go to the NT to find it (which is equivalent of saying the Constitution affirms slavery three thousand years from now).

    It amazes me that they don’t seem to think this one through. What happened for all the years before the New Testament was written? What happened during the years that the apostles were teaching the church but they were still using the Old Testament? How did they appeal to the Scriptures that God had assigned a “role” of authority to only the husband over his wife? Now we are back to an authority that is never given by God according to the Scriptures.

  306. One more thought on the concept of eros love: where do you think we find the concept that a relationship between a man and woman must consist of inequality? It is not from the Bible, that’s for sure; it comes straight from Aristotle’s Nicomachean ethics where he argues that although two men can have a friendship of equality, the relationship between a man and a woman consists always of inequality, the woman being by nature inferior to the man.
    Food for thougth: why do you thin Islam is patriarchal? It is not because of the prophet Muhammad. It is because Islamic scholars studied Aristotle for centuries (they called him “the Philosopher”, as did Jewish scholars. It is ironic that the one thing the crusaders brought back from the east was Aristotle’s writings, which scholastic theologians synthesized with medieval theology. That the man should rule is found in all religions and philosophical movements and it is not a coincidence.

  307. Cheryl, I agree that Mark would one of those guys you would just be dying to be friends with and I feel for him because I used to get really mad in debates too until I realized that it just doesn’t work, you have to learn to separate your own worth (which is infinite and should never be questioned) from the worth of your argument (which may be debated freely). I think NN falls into the same category although I think he has the same problem that I have: he is far too intellectual. It is a good thing when you have to solve a problem which is theoretical, but it does not work when it comes to a problem which is theological. Anyways, I wanted to affirm their contributions here, which are more than welcomed, while at the same time reminding our opponents that the argument better be good for we have listened too long to answers that produce only more questions.

  308. NN (239)
    NN: “The above logic chain proves that the differentiation between men and women is a truth which transcends particular culture – but it does not prove that it is hierarchical.”

    I do not believe Paul or Peter’s address to wives and husbands was an attempt to “differentiate between husbands and wives.” There already existed within the culture a very clear demarcation between the genders. This was a reality, not a truth, whose negative implications, as well as any positives, have been felt by cultures throughout human history.

    The authors may very well be instructing the original audience how to best live within their current cultural climate given their station in life. They may be explaining how the gospel informs their station in life in practical ways. Specifically, because of the differentiation that existed in the culture, for wives for whom it was already a cultural mandate to not only submit but obey, the gospel elevates their societal obligation by impressing upon wives to “submit as unto the Lord,” but even more remarkable in a society consumed by status and prominence was the instruction to all—regardless of status or prominence–(men included) to “submit to one another” (Eph 5:21, etc.).

    I agree that nothing in the logic chain proves that culturally mandated differentiation is hierarchical. However, the differentiation that existed within the culture was assumed and so was hierarchy. I suspect it was a climate completely foreign to our modern sensitivities.

    NN: “To prove that we must examine the particular instructions give:”

    So you are now trying to prove hierarchy apart from “eros” which is in contradiction to your thesis in your article under discussion on this thread.

    NN: “Women are told to “hupotassoe” their husbands – this same general instruction is used by Paul in the same context to describe the proper actions of citizens toward their governments and slaves toward their masters. Furthermore, we are instructed by the Christ that we are to obey the governing authorities (”render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s”) so we must interpret Paul’s specific instructions to wives to be in keeping with his use of the words to describe other obedience relationships.”

    It’s already been said, but the verb for vs 22 is borrowed or implied from vs 21, so if hierarchy is in vs 22 then it is in vs 21. NN, are you saying that everyone is to obey everyone else? Even if “obedience” was in view in vs 21, the call for wives to “obey” out of reverence for Christ elevates the aberrant societal obligation imposed on them because of gender differentiation that was not present in the Beginnings.

    Also, the coin had Caesar’s insignia, so it belonged to Caesar. Jesus’ wit—gotta love it! I see no relevance of giving to Caesar what is his and Paul’s instruction to wives in Eph.

    Because there is no explicit equivalent instruction to the husbands the relationship logically must be hierarchical? Really? There is no specific instruction for women to “agape” their husband? Should they? Of course! There is no specific instruction for husbands to respect their wife? Should they? Of course!

    NN: “Since Paul explicitly gives no such equivalent instruction to the husband the relationship logically must be hierarchical.”

    In your article under discussion here, you claim when we look at Eph 5:22 “it becomes apparent that there is another sort of love operative here – ‘eros’… The presence of this type of love is distinctive of the marriage relationship….And if we recognize that this sort of love is between two ‘inequivalent’ people then the hierarchical nature of the marital relationship instructed by Paul becomes evident.” You continue, “[a]nd we see that in the marital relationship – when there is “Eros” that this leads to the specific instruction of the wife to submit to the husband AND the husband to take responsibility over this to exercise a sacrificial love to care for his wife.” You also add, “[t]he operation of eros within the marital relationship leads to an natural and God-made asymmetry of the relationship…” which you conclude is patriarchal hierarchy.
    You are now claiming that the seemingly absence of an equivalent instruction specific to husbands is the basis for hierarchy.

    You presume “X” where X=absence of an equivalent instruction specific to husbands
    Logical consequence is “Y” where Y=hierarchy

    NN, is this now your position and do you want to retract your thesis:– patriarchal hierarchy is a natural and God-made consequence of “eros” between two “inequivalent” people in marriage?

    NN, I have been more than generous with my time to interact specifically to your comments and questions. Now, I eagerly await “all the available evidence from the scriptures” that supports your “eros” thesis, unless of course you are retracting it.

  309. NN (328)

    Do wives nurture, self-sacrifice, promote the welfare of their husband? If so, is this “authority” when these virtues are performed by a wife or is it called something else?

    Is there any virtue a husband performs or any guiding principle a husband lives by that should not, according to scripture, be performed or employed by the wife? If so, what and what scriptures do you have for support?

  310. NN (317)

    “I quite agree that Paul was both wives and husbands radical things about marriage – I think that Paul was telling husband’s that, in Christ “authority,” is quite a different thing and to be used in an entirely different way than the world preaches. That it is about nurturing and sacrificing, quite the opposite of the self-centered power of the world.”

    That is not unlike what I and gengwall have been saying to you.

  311. NN said:
    “With regard to your dispute of the logic chain of (239) – your position falls within the scope of possibility 2 – you claim that the instruction was specific to the culture and not universally applicable.”
    Well, sort of– but I don’t think you are entirely getting my point. I didn’t say the instruction, by being specific to the culture, was therefore not universally applicable. You seem to be thinking inside a kind of box where it has to be either one or the other. I think it’s both. The Bible by its very nature is both culturally specific and universally applicable. The trick is not to say, “Which one is this particular passage?” but to say, “What is the timeless truth being conveyed in this passage that was written from within a specific cultural understanding?”
    NN continues: “However, I presume that you grant that some instructions are universal and transcend ANY cultural institution:
    e.g. God exists, man is sinful, all men are instructed to repent from their wickedness and seek God through the atoning work of Christ, etc. Since you have sought to answer this, ask yourself this question: How can one tell the difference? Let us presume that Paul gave instructions which were specific to the culture and are no longer directly applicable to our culture and also that he gave instructions which were universal and transcend any specific culture. How can one biblically tell them apart. ”
    You’re right that if you try to separate them out– “this one’s no longer directly applicable, but this one is”– you can end up with a very inconsistent hermeneutic. Some people take THIS passage as timeless and THAT passage as not applicable; and other people take the first passage as not applicable and the second passage as timeless; and there is often very little rhyme or reason as to why.
    Scot McKnight, in his book The Blue Parakeet, offers an alternative: Read the entire Bible with a view to authorial intent and the cultural understandings of the original writer and the original audience, and then– rather than dismissing any of it as no longer applicable– use those understandings to try to find the timeless principle within every passage.
    The thing is that pretty much every book of the Bible begins with some kind of statement along the lines of “this is the message that came to such and such a person during such and such a period of time, in such and such a place.” I submit that those are not there just for extraneous detail, but that God inspired them to be there just as much as the rest of the Scriptures– and He did it for a reason. That reason was to alert the reader that each message was first of all a message to a particular people, bound within a certain time and place– and that therefore we should pay attention to those specifics in trying to understand the passage.
    Now, when it comes to those truths that are related to the eternal nature of God, or to humanity’s relationship with God– such as sin, repentence, atonement, obedience– because the topics themselves are eternal and God-related, there’s going to be far fewer humanity-related cultural assumptions that need to be taken into account. This is why it’s far easier to ascertain the timeless principle being conveyed. But when it comes to human relations (such as marriage), those historical/cultural understandings become much more important. In any event, if we always take into account the cultural/historical settings in which the various books of the Bible were written, our hermeneutic becomes much more logical and consistent– we needn’t worry about “when does this apply to me and when doesn’t it?” Instead we ask “What is the truth principle being conveyed by this passage?” And then we apply that principle to our own lives.
    I can even give a Scriptural foundation for this type of Biblical interpretation, for Paul himself used it. He said that when the Law said “Do not muzzle the ox while it’s threshing the grain,” it was not the time-bound specifics of the ox and the grain that were important– it was the timeless principle being conveyed that “a laborer is worthy of his wages.” If the Scriptures themselves espouse this principle-approach hermeneutic, I think it can be considered a safe hermeneutic to use.

  312. To SM (337)
    Actually if you read (318) & (328) – it is apparently quite the opposite of what Gengwall has been saying. Though if you read what I have said previously (76) – it is what I have been saying all along…

  313. N #328 “So your claim is that “authority” is not nurturing, self-sacrificing or centrally focused on the good of others.”

    You are trying very hard to somehow morph & equate “authority” into/with self-sacrifice. Hmmm…won’t happen – these two different things are not synonymous.

    NN:”What then are the implications of raising children as described in the Bible? What then shall we call the actions of a parent who nurtures their child by disciplining them for getting into the medicine cabinet? Or insists that they do need to finish their homework despite the pressing allure of a video game? ”

    You must be unfamiliar with the term ‘parental guidance’. Why do you try to put “authority”

    NN:”(fortunately my children are still young)”

    Wives do not = children

    NN:”Are these actions characteristic of “authority?” – Absolutely”

    No, they are not. A person with ‘authority’ can also have the characteristics of ‘nurturing’, etc, but they are NOT synonymous.
    (ie.Hitler, Saddam Hussein)

    NN:”Is this type of authority rightly nurturing, self-sacrificing and centered on the good of others. – Completely”

    Again, there is no such thing as that “type of authority.” A person can be both “in authority” and “self-sacrificing”, but they are not the same thing.

  314. To Kristen (338)
    I understand entirely what you are saying and did the first time. What I pointed out is that the venn diagram set of possibilities which I constructed was a complete set spanning all possibilities. And your claim fit in category 2.

    To illustrate Deut 17:16 instructs the kings of Israel that they are not to “multiply horses to themselves.” Does this mean that current kings shouldn’t own ranches? (how about Presidents?) Of course if you understand the culture ancient Israel – “multiply horses” was a means of waging war. Multiplication of horses was a means to “rely on your own political strength” and not God (multiplication of wives for a king was much the same). And you can see this if you read the biblical text carefully – horses are repeatedly used as an indicator of war and military might. So we see a transcendent truth – “rely on God and do not seek to create reliance apart from Him” find particular cultural expression which is no longer true of our culture (we don’t use horses for military might). But we note at the same time that the “10 commandments” were spoken into exactly the same culture – and yet we view these as transcendent of cultural particulars.

    And this brings us back to the question: How can you tell? When Paul says “all christians should submit one to another” you say ‘that’s a transcendent truth of the christian faith” when he says to exactly the same group “wives submit to your husbands” you say ‘well, that’s just a result of the culture that he was speaking to.’ But how do you think you can know? Especially, how can you be sure that you aren’t simply reading the biases of your own culture into the text? (and egalitarianism is certainly a culturally popular idea now, ever since the French Enlightenment)

    So, if Paul were talking about marriage as universal human relationship, transcendent of particular culture – how would you know?

  315. To Kay (340)
    You are quite right to point out that “authority is not the same thing as self-sacrificing;” let me rephrase for clarity –
    This is the type of exercise of authority to which christians are called. Authority can be used properly or wrongly – the Bible teaches that the proper use of authority is to be nurturing, self-sacrificing, etc. Just as we see in the parental relationship described in the Bible – which we can all agree is one of authority (at least to parents of relatively young children).

    Or do you disagree? Do you think that when we find ourselves in a position of authority (for whatever reason) that the Bible teaches that we should use it in some other way?

  316. “Or do you disagree?”
    I disagree – it is a responsibility not an “authority.” It’s love in action.

    “Do you think that when we find ourselves in a position of authority (for whatever reason) that the Bible teaches that we should use it in some other way?”

    Of course not – we can’t invalidate “love thy neighbor” simply because we might be occupying a position of authority.

  317. “And this brings us back to the question: How can you tell? When Paul says “all christians should submit one to another” you say ‘that’s a transcendent truth of the christian faith” when he says to exactly the same group “wives submit to your husbands” you say ‘well, that’s just a result of the culture that he was speaking to.’ But how do you think you can know?”

    NN,
    Are you saying that you don’t believe “submit to one another” includes husbands? Just because Paul states that it includes “wives to husbands,” how does that exclude husbands?

  318. NN:”(fortunately my children are still young)”

    NN,
    I hear that! Thankfully, my children are adults now with children of their own.

  319. NN,
    At some point (and probably sooner than you think), you’ll find that physical force is no longer an option in exacting obedience from your children. Not without repercussions harmful to them, you and any relationship you may hope to have with them when they are adults. You must love and nurture them in such a way that they willingly follow you…Jesus doesn’t force us to follow Him.

  320. NN(339)

    NN: “Actually if you read (318) & (328) – it is apparently quite the opposite of what Gengwall has been saying. Though if you read what I have said previously (76) – it is what I have been saying all along…”

    I’ve read multiple times (318) & (328) & (76). So far, I am keeping up with you.

    I was very aware when I made my last comment of your distinction—the use of quotes to set off the word authority which can indicate it is a foreign word or that the word has a special or peculiar meaning to the writer. It could be you had another intention altogether which is really irrelevant because you end the paragraph by defining your concept of authority which is actually the virtue love explicitly stated and described in the biblical text:
    NN: (317) “I quite agree that Paul was both wives and husbands radical things about marriage – I think that Paul was telling husband’s that, in Christ “authority,” is quite a different thing and to be used in an entirely different way than the world preaches.That it is about nurturing and sacrificing, quite the opposite of the self-centered power of the world.”

    Gengwall: (318)
    “LOL – well then it isn’t authority. If it looks like a sheep, and walks like a sheep, and bahs like a sheep, it certainly isn’t a duck.”

    Right. I understand you are using the word authority in place of the action “agape.”

    You are using a noun (authority) and not an action. The action entrusted to husbands in Eph 5 is “agape”. Husbands ( action ). Husbands “agape”. Husbands nurture. Husbands sacrifice. Husbands care. Husbands cherish. Husbands love like Christ. Not…. Husbands authority.

    NN (76): “Paul tells husbands in Ephesians 5 – in Christ, “authority” is not about my comfort, it is not about the fact that I would really like a glass of iced tea right now…”

    Paul is not telling in Eph 5 what authority is not, but what “agape” is.

    NN, do you agree that husbands are to “agape” their wives. If so, do you agree that “agape” looks like how Christ loved the church and that to “agape” your wife means to nourish her and to sacrifice for her benefit?

    If so, can we agree to use the word “agape” from the text to mean husbands are to nourish, care, and sacrifice for their wives?

  321. To summarize how NN and Mark come to their conclusion:

    1. NT does not say explicitly “husbands submit to your wives”
    2. Inference: the Bible says implicitly “husbands have authority over your wives”
    3. Inference: Gen 1-3 teaches God gave husbands authority at creation
    4. Inference: Eph 5.21 excludes husbands from submitting to their wives

    In other words, their entire theological structure is based on infrence.

  322. Kristen, your comment about principle approach hermeneutics was excellent. You laid it out very well. This is something I’ve been trying to relay to my Bible groups. I’ll be using the term “principle approach” from now on. I also appreciated McKnight’s approach in The Blue Parakeet.

  323. NN wrote:

    “And this brings us back to the question: How can you tell? When Paul says “all christians should submit one to another” you say ‘that’s a transcendent truth of the christian faith” when he says to exactly the same group “wives submit to your husbands” you say ‘well, that’s just a result of the culture that he was speaking to.’”
    I certainly never said that “wives submit to your husbands” was just a result of the culture. Wives should submit to their husbands in the same way all Christians submit to one another. Said submission does not convey authority. Complementarians so often seem to think egalitarians are against wifely submission. We aren’t. We’re against the concept of authority being read into a passage where the author wasn’t talking about authority at all.
    I thought I made it clear how when you take the cultural understandings into account, it becomes clearer to see what the author actually meant. It’s puzzling to me that though you say you understand what I’m saying, your response shows that we still aren’t connecting. There is no need to ask “how do you tell?” Once you read each passage with a mind to finding the principle being conveyed, “how do you tell?” becomes a moot point, because once cultural understandings (in EVERY passage) are taken into consideration, the actual truth principles being conveyed can be seen, and those principles are what we’re supposed to be following in the first place.
    As far as cultural bias is concerned– I think many of us as Christians need to understand that that we may have counter-cultural biases– that is, that we may not understand that certain aspects of modern culture are actually in tune with, and historically rooted in, Christian principles, and that in our rejection of “the world,” we may be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Full female equality is one of these areas, in my opinion.

  324. Clarification: when I said,
    “We’re against the concept of authority being read into a passage where the author wasn’t talking about authority at all” — I meant that authority was being assumed,, and thus the point of the passage was Christian relationships of mutual submission within those assumed authority structures– thus, authority was not the point, but mutual submission was; and the concept of mutual submission is essentially an anti-hierarchical concept.

  325. To Susanna (348)
    You say “inference” as if it were a bad thing. But inference is the very core of logical reasoning.

    E.g.:
    Premise: The Bible is inspired & authoritative as the Word of God
    Premise: The Bible says to “love your neighbor”
    Inference: “I should love my neighbor”

    To quote C.S. Lewis discussing how a thing is known:
    Logic! What do they teach in schools these days?

    (as an aside your ‘logical outline’ of what is supposedly my thought omits pretty much all critical elements pertaining to the logical reasoning)

  326. To Kristen (350)
    Let us apply the reasoning which you just outlined to a parallel passage of scripture, we’ll pick 1st Peter:
    1 Pet 2:13 ~ “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme”
    1 Pet 3:1 ~ “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”

    Applying the same reasoning we say that “wives should submit to their husbands in the same way that christians are to submit to human governance. But this is quite different than your proposed reading of Ephesians. And since two contradictory statements CANNOT both be true (again a fundamental axiom of logic) – we must find a hermeneutic which produces a consistent understanding for both passages.

    Which leads us back to my question, but let me rephrase it for you: For any command given – it is a transcendent principle being applied to a specific context. How do you distinguish between the transcendent principle itself and the particular adaptation of the principle to the present context? And, as a sub-question – how do we tell this without forcing our own present cultural biases onto the text.

  327. BTW, a closer look at the Ten Commandments shows that we DO interpret it by taking into account the cultural/historical understandings of the time. For instance, when it says “You shall not make for yourselves any graven image” — even though no one in our culture (to my knowledge) actually carves idols and bows down to them, we still consider the Commandment applicable today. We simply follow the principle that we don’t worship an image of anything created by giving it more importance than God in our lives– even though the current “images” that people tend to worship nowadays bear no resemblance to the ancient idols carved from wood.
    We do this in order to keep the Ten Commandments fresh and applicable to our lives today, rather than relegating “you shall make no graven image” to the distant past.

  328. To NN – regarding 353– I agree that the two passages convey different principles, but not that they are contradictory. But I don’t have time to detail my reasons for this just now. I’ve got to go to work. I’ll get back to you later.

  329. NN,
    Are you saying that you don’t believe “submit to one another” includes husbands? Because Paul states that it includes “wives to husbands,” how does that exclude husbands?

  330. To SM (335)
    My thanks that you have attempted to comment on (239). Clearly we were not on the same page, and this is why it was so vital to address this before moving on – without finding common ground of agreement no dialogue can ever be clearly communicative.

    Regarding your comments I will start only with the most basic element to seek to establish common ground:
    I did not say that Paul “attempted to differentiate between husbands and wives” – I said that Paul’s instructions did differentiate between husbands and wives. That is, he addressed both individually and gave them different instructions. This is in the text directly. (You keep trying to jump ahead to what you presume my argument will be without following the argument itself – one must always read an argument for what it actually is.) If you refuse to acknowledge this then I fear no further progress can be made. In fact you yourself acknowledge this “differentiation” but attribute it to culture – that’s a valid hypothesis, but to even make such a hypothesis you first must acknowledge differentiation. Until you can actually do that nothing else that I can say will make sense.

    So, can we agree on this point?
    >>The apostle Paul gave different and distinct instructions to husbands and wives.

  331. NN,

    NN article and quoted here re Eph 5:22: “But now we move on to the instruction which Paul gives to wives… And as we do so it becomes apparent that there is another sort of love operative here – “eros””

    Do you agree that nowhere in Eph 5:22 is “eros” explicitly or implicitly addressed?

    NN article and quoted here re Eph 5:22: “And we see that in the marital relationship – when there is “Eros” that this leads to the specific instruction of the wife to submit to the husband AND the husband to take responsibility over this to exercise a sacrificial love to care for his wife.”

    Do you agree that nowhere in Eph 5:22 does Paul address or seem remotely concerned with “eros” as a condition for the instruction he is giving wives to submit to their husband?

    Do you agree that nowhere in Eph 5:22 or through the end of the chapter for that matter that Paul addresses or seems remotely concerned with “eros” as a condition to any instruction given to husbands?

    Do you agree that nowhere in Eph 5:22 or through the end of the chapter Paul specifically instructs husbands to “take responsibility over this”, whatever “this” is?

    Do you agree Paul was instructing husbands to “agape” their wives in the manner in which Christ “agapes” His Bride?

    NN article and quoted here: “The operation of eros within the marital relationship leads to an natural and God-made asymmetry of the relationship”

    Do you agree that Eph 5:22 and the whole of scripture never address, explicitly or implicitly, a notion that a “natural and God-made asymmetry of the relationship” is the consequence of the “operation of eros within the marital relationship”?

  332. To SM (358)
    Quick note: I use ‘eros’ because it was used in ancient Greek as one of the four common words for ‘love’ and because in a more modern sense it was used by Lewis to describe the romantic love between a man and a woman. The word itself is never used in Scripture. But I hope that we can agree that there exists a romantic love between a man and wife which is distinct from other sorts of affection.

    But again – to develop an understanding of the concept itself we will first need to find common ground for communcation – so back to (357 http://strivetoenter.com/wim/2010/05/23/authority-vs-submission-biblical-view/comment-page-3/#comment-12223):

    Can we agree on this point?
    >>The apostle Paul gave different and distinct instructions to husbands and wives.

  333. From SM 358:

    “NN article and quoted here re Eph 5:22: “But now we move on to the instruction which Paul gives to wives… And as we do so it becomes apparent that there is another sort of love operative here – “eros””

    Do you agree that nowhere in Eph 5:22 is “eros” explicitly or implicitly addressed?

    NN article and quoted here re Eph 5:22: “And we see that in the marital relationship – when there is “Eros” that this leads to the specific instruction of the wife to submit to the husband AND the husband to take responsibility over this to exercise a sacrificial love to care for his wife.

    Do you agree that nowhere in Eph 5:22 does Paul address or seem remotely concerned with “eros” as a condition for the instruction he is giving wives to submit to their husband?

    Do you agree that nowhere in Eph 5:22 or through the end of the chapter for that matter that Paul addresses or seems remotely concerned with “eros” as a condition to any instruction given to husbands?

    Do you agree that nowhere in Eph 5:22 or through the end of the chapter Paul specifically instructs husbands to “take responsibility over this”, whatever “this” is?

    Do you agree Paul was instructing husbands to “agape” their wives in the manner in which Christ “agapes” His Bride?

    NN article and quoted here: “The operation of eros within the marital relationship leads to an natural and God-made asymmetry of the relationship”

    Do you agree that Eph 5:22 and the whole of scripture never address, explicitly or implicitly, a notion that a “natural and God-made asymmetry of the relationship” is the consequence of the “operation of eros within the marital relationship”?

    (NN 359) “The word itself is never used in Scripture. ”

    Common ground!

    NN, thank you for finally helping put to bed your thesis concerning eros as the basis for hierarchy as a biblical concept. We have found common ground in that scripture never addresses explicitly or implicitly a notion that a “natural and God-made asymmetry of the relationship” (patriarchal hierarchy) is the consequence of the “operation of eros within the marital relationship.”

  334. To SM (360)
    Concerning most of your misconceptions I shall bite my tongue since you are apparently unwilling to work through a formal logic chain point by point.

    Let me ask you only one question with regard to your conclusion:
    Do you believe in the “Trinity”? Pray tell, where is that word used in Scripture?

    (… rhetorically and for the sake of charity I would like to leave it at that and presume that you can see the flaw in what you have concluded – but I should probably be extra careful to be crystal clear and not leave such things presumed. If you believe in the “Trinity” then you believe that concepts are found in the Bible which are never mentioned as such. This is in direct contradiction to your claim concerning my conclusion.)

  335. ”Applying the same reasoning we say that “wives should submit to their husbands in the same way that christians are to submit to human governance. But this is quite different than your proposed reading of Ephesians. And since two contradictory statements CANNOT both be true (again a fundamental axiom of logic) – we must find a hermeneutic which produces a consistent understanding for both passages.”
    NN,
    That shouldn’t be too difficult. It’s called reading what is written in context. Reading in context means reading before the subject verse and sometimes after in order to find and follow the flow of thought of the author. It DOES NOT MEAN reading what is written in another letter on a different subject.

    Reading from Ephe. 5:1-21, but specifically from around vs. 17 will give us the context of what attitudes Paul wants the wives to carry into their marriage. It not about government and law, which is truly quite a different subject. It is that as Christians we are to carry holiness, godly sacrifical love, being filled and directed by the Holy Spirit, thankfulness in prayers and honoring one another before God, forward with us into marriage. Our Christian lives as married people should look the same in marriage or out of marriage, as children or as parents, as slaves or as masters. There are no boundaries where the godly spiritual behaviors of a spirit filled person don’t apply.

  336. “NN article and quoted here re Eph 5:22: “And we see that in the marital relationship – when there is “Eros” that this leads to the specific instruction of the wife to submit to the husband AND the husband to take responsibility over this to exercise a sacrificial love to care for his wife.”

    NN,
    It doesn’t matter if there is ‘eros’ or not. Every Christian is admonished to love others in the same type of sacrificial love in which Christ loved us and gave Himself for us. This means that in all types of relationships, everyone, whether married or not is to love others in this way. Being married does not exclude the importance of living this type of unselfishness toward the spouse. Paul felt it important to say it over and over reminding us because it is important.

    Ephe. 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

  337. NN,

    NN (357) “I did not say that Paul “attempted to differentiate between husbands and wives” – I said that Paul’s instructions did differentiate between husbands and wives. That is, he addressed both individually and gave them differentinstructions…”

    I know. I am keeping up. To your assertion at 239 that your “logic chain proves that the differentiation between men and women is a truth which transcends particular culture – but it does not prove that it is hierarchical,” I responded at 335:

    (335) “I do not believe Paul or Peter’s address to wives and husbands was an attempt to ‘differentiate between husbands and wives.’ There already existed within the culture a very clear demarcation between the genders.”

    It appears you are reading the Eph text with the presupposition that Paul is establishing a set of behaviors intended to differentiate (“to tell between”, “to distinguish”, “to discriminate”, “to set apart”) husbands from wives. Given your presupposition you read Paul’s text as if his intention is to give wives a mode of behavior that is intended to set them apart (differentiate them) from husbands. In your view, since the instruction is based on an intention to differentiate between husbands and wives, only wives are to submit because a husband is not a wife and a wife is not a husband.

    I am telling you that the clear lines of demarcation were already assumed in the culture, and that Paul was using the gospel to inform how wives and husbands live within their current situation not teach some type of behavior incumbent upon women to tell between wives and husbands.

    NN, do you mean to use a word other than differentiate or do you mean something else altogether?

    NN (357): “(You keep trying to jump ahead to what you presume my argument will be without following the argument itself – one must always read an argument for what it actually is.)”

    You give me too much credit.

    NN (357): “In fact you yourself acknowledge this “differentiation” but attribute it to culture – that’s a valid hypothesis, but to even make such a hypothesis you first must acknowledge differentiation. Until you can actually do that nothing else that I can say will make sense.”

    Again, there existed a differentiation in the culture between men and women, husbands and wives. It was assumed by the culture. We do not agree that the Apostle Paul was establishing behavioral standards for wives in order to differentiate them from husbands.

    NN (357): “ So, can we agree on this point? >>The apostle Paul gave different and distinct instructions to husbands and wives.”

    Because of the differentiation that was assumed by the culture, Paul shows how the gospel informs their lives according to their station. The gospel elevates their societal obligation by impressing upon wives to “submit as unto the Lord,” but even more remarkable in a society consumed by status and prominence was the instruction to all—regardless of status or prominence–(men included) to “submit to one another” (Eph 5:21, etc.).

    So, do you agree that in Eph 5:21-22 the early Christians, both male and female and married and single, who were concerned with status and prominence are instructed to submit to one another out of reference for Christ and the societal obligation of women at the time is elevated by invoking a disposition as unto the Lord?

  338. I am telling you that the clear lines of demarcation were already assumed in the culture,

    How many times does this need to be said? What is the problem with responding to this NN? The obvious has been pointed out but seems to be just ignored. Why?

  339. To NN,
    Logic. Yes, we should use logic, but logic alone is not sufficient.
    a) a god can create and sustain life
    b) women can create and sustain life
    c) women are gods
    How do you find out whether the above statement is true? Not by using logic, but by using dialectic investigation and checking what the further requirements for being a god are. We find that a god must be omnipresent.
    a) a god must be omnipresent
    b) women are not omnipresent
    c) women are not gods.

    Inference can be used in theology but not to create a foundation for other beliefs. The first thing that must be done is the building of a complete picture of the subject at hand and an exact understanding of any and all statements and ideas as they are intended. Only after this is done can new ideas be derived from the basic premise, and the inferences can either be accepted or rejected based on proof. Concerning the subject at hand, the complete picture would include such statements as “the creation account does not say God gave man authority,” “the law does not say God gave man authority,” “the Gospels do not say God gave man authority.” The basic premise includes now three statements which contradict the inference that the man should have authority over the woman wherefore it is rejected as invalid.
    There are two kinds of inferences: one which is logically necessary and the other which is not logically necessary in which case it is possible to accept a statement while rejecting the inference. Since the statement “a husband is never told to submit to his wife” is categorically negative, it can have only one inference, a complete converse, which is also logically necessary. It is here that the greatest risk for error comes in to the picture, for what is the complete converse of “a husband is never told to submit to his wife”? Comps say it “a husband is told to have authority over his wife,” but this statement depends on our understanding of the word “hypotasso.” If the antonym of “hypotasso” is “epitasso” (command) the statement is correct; if it isn’t, the statement is incorrect. The antonym of “hypotasso” is “antitasso” (to resist), which does not carry the meaning of giving commandments, wherefore the above conclusion is incorrect and the inference is rightly rejected. The complete converse of “a husband is never told to submit to his wife” is “a husband is told to resist his wife.” This is an unbiblical statement and is also rightly rejected. Thus the only conclusion which is left is that the husband should submit to his wife as she submits to him.

    I noticed that you like C.S. Lewis. I went to school in a country not too far from his and received the same classical education he did. A word of advice: never underestimate your opponent.

  340. Gengwell RE #154:

    “Tiffany – would you also agree that the bible is very clear that all Christians are to mutually submit to one another (Eph 5:21)? Moreover, would you agree that Eph 5:22 is very clear that the submission of the wife to her husband is of the same kind and in the same manner as that of all Christians to one another? If so, then what does that say about a wife’s submission – is it obedience or something else? And what does that say about authority – is it present in the relationship?

    Yes, I do believe the Bible is very clear that all Christian are to submit one to another. And that vs 22 is speaking of the same type of submission. However I think that in the verses following vs 22 were are show how the submission that everyone offers one another (including husbands and wives) is that the wives submission is characterized by the Church/Christ model of submission. That the nature of that submission that a Christian wife offers her husband is a model/type/shadow/representation of the sort of submission the Church is to offer Christ. That this representation is unique to the husband/wife relationship and is in no way in conflict with the idea of all Christians submitting to each other (including husbands to wife).

    As to my thoughts on if it is obedience or something else and if there is authority present in the relationship I think you will find them in comment 323. Cheryl asked some follow up questions which is what I intend to address in the next post. You also addressed me in comment 235, and I think my 323 post should answer your questions as well, and if not I am rather certain my follow up one will. If not, please just ask.

    Thank you for your patience as it has taken me until 200 comments later to get back to your very good questions.

  341. + The apostle tells the wife and the husband different things. (This is indisputably in the text itself – the sentences which Peter & Paul address to “husbands” and “wives” are different)

    Yes, he tells the wife and the husband different things, but he also tells then the same thing – submit (v21). So?

  342. Inference can be used in theology but not to create a foundation for other beliefs.

    And inference is one of the poorest and weakest things that could be used as a foundation. It’s just so weak, I just could not touch it myself.

  343. Cheryl RE #329 you state

    “Believers are told to witness to their unbelieving husbands through their chaste and reverent behavior. Because Christ gives women freedom, it was thought that Christianity would cause women to be against their husbands, but thoughtful caring women who respected their husbands and loved Christ could soften their hearts toward Christianity.”

    I would put forth that it is possible for a believing wife to submit in to an unbelieving husband because she isn’t to submit to him in matter of truth, but rather in every thing else. Obviously if their husbands hated Christianity and forbid them to be Christians they could not submit. If they told them in what manner to behave otherwise they could. It was ok for them to desire to please their husbands, to know their husbands preferences and act accordingly, to align themselves with their husbands in all things expect the nature of Ultimate truth that the husbands were denying.

    you state:

    “So what’s the difference? The only difference will be when there are differences of wills. If the wife submits each time and gives up her will and the husband is not given the opportunity to give up his will for her, then it is not a truly sacrificial marriage for him.”
    (and later) “I agree that the husband using the trump card of taking authority over her will, will hurt both him and his wife. But it is not necessarily something gone wrong, just that God created us with different wants and likes and passions and at times these will clash when we care the most.”

    I disagree with this. I think you will see quite clearly where and why when I clear up my thoughts for you regarding the oneness of Christ and the Church. But just let me say I think that it is the idea that the different wants, likes and passions clashing that would be occasion for the trump card that I see as one of the largest issues here.

    You state:

    “I don’t know what you mean by this. We are joined with our Lord, but we don’t disappear. I am confused by what you mean by 100/0 split oneness.”

    You are quite right that when the Church (the bride) is joined with Christ (the bridegroom) we don’t disappear. But rather we will have been completely, utterly and wholly transformed to His image. It is a 100/0 split because it is Christ who has created the parameters for oneness. Unless we are completely made new in His image we can’t be one with Him. Lest you think I am suggesting we are going to be “stepford wives” -our will and intimate selfs completely destroyed without our consent,desire, or participation- I am saying nothing even remotely of the sort. But rather our love for Christ, our desire to submit fully to Him, will make it so we (our true and complete selves) couldn’t imagine not desiring everything that He desires. To give a practical example- you discuss how we will judge the angels as the bride of Christ beside our Lord in oneness. We will do this not as a 50/50 spilt where the Church and Christ discuss the options, not as a 51/49 split where we reach agreement when we can but Christ gets the ultimate say, but rather in a true and ultimate oneness of 100/0 because we will desire all that Christ desires and the Church will be incapable of judging the angels any differently than Christ will judge the angels.

    Now it has been said many times by others on here that the distinction Paul is making in Eph 5 about the marital relationship representing the Church/Christ relationship is about oneness. What I am saying is that yes, it is about oneness. The sort of oneness I spoke of in the preceding paragraph. With that view in mind authority almost becomes a moot point within marriage. It is certainly there, but not in the way that egalitarians are concerned it is going to be.

    I suspect this should clear up my thoughts on submission and marriage and how mutually submitting to each other (al a Eph5:21) is not exclusive of a distinctive submission talked about in the following verses between husbands and wives. It should also give a clear idea of my ideas on the place of authority in marriage. If you find it incomplete or confusing please first go back and re-read my original post as I did not restate much from that post in this one. See if we can cut down on some of the back and forth to save us all a little time. 🙂 I also suspect it will give you a lot to disagree with. Hope to be back on after the children are in bed to answer any follow up questions/disagreements.

  344. That the nature of that submission that a Christian wife offers her husband is a model/type/shadow/representation of the sort of submission the Church is to offer Christ.

    Tiffany,
    Do I understand you correctly – how wives (are to) submit to their husbands, is how the church is to submit to Christ? Is that what you are saying? If this is correct then you are saying that the church can learn how to submit to Christ by seeing how christian wives submit to thier husbands? So wives aren’t to submit as the church submits to Christ really, but rather the church is to submit to Christ as wives submit to their husbands??

  345. pinklight- other way around- the wife is to learn how to submit to her husband by knowing how the Church is to submit to Christ. And that in so doing will be a beautiful shadow (and convey truth to all who see it) of the relationship that is to come after the Church (the Bride) is joined to Christ (her bridegroom).

  346. NN, your example from 352 –

    “Premise: The Bible is inspired & authoritative as the Word of God
    Premise: The Bible says to “love your neighbor”
    Inference: “I should love my neighbor””

    When the Bible says, “love your neighbour” it is not an inference that “I should love my neighbour”. It is a direct instruction. That is logic!

  347. Tiffanny, since my conversation on this thread has been mostly one-sided today, I’ll venture into this one.

    At 372 what do you mean by “that is to come after the Church (the Bride) is joined to Christ (her bridegroom)”?

  348. NN, your logic chain is fundamentally flawed (illogical!). Why do you still insist people interact with it? If you want to start there to get some base for communication you need to interact with the criticism of it. There are more options than you give with your three. You have not even allowed for combinations of the three. I said this earlier, though I should not complain about having to repeat one thing once I guess!!

    I would argue that Paul is saying fundamentally the same thing to both husbands and wives, but allows for the cultural differences of the time that reflected a difference between husbands and wives.

    * Verse 21. We are all told to place ourselves in a position of service to one another. Why? Fundamentally because of Christ (what he did and who he is – love).

    * Verses 22-24. Wives are to do this also – remembering Christ’s relationship with the church (who he is and what he did – love).

    *Verses 25-31. Husbands are to do this also – being like Christ who put himself in a position of service for His body (being and doing Jesus – love).

    As I said earlier, Calvin saw the connection in this passage between submission and love. Love is the motive, submission is love being worked out. It has nothing to do with authority, but in ANY cultural context love is worked out through submission – placing ourselves in a position of service.

    Please note that submission does not = subordination, where there is no choice, but due to hierarchy one is below another. That is NOT at play in this passage. It is not even inferred!

  349. Quote NN : “The operation of eros within the marital relationship leads to an natural and God-made asymmetry of the relationship”

    I agree with NN and I think its in Ephesians 5 quite clearly. Doesn’t make husband or wife inferior or superior, but they are different and the instructions to each are different .

    Click Here for a photo of “one flesh” (don’t worry, its nothing inappropriate).
    How did that happen?
    Methinks eros might have had a part.
    Who will “nourish and cherish” the “one flesh” by nature and design”as her own body”?
    OTH, Who, according to Ephesians 5, is instructed to CHOOSE to nourish and cherish his wife as his own body NOT by nature and desigh but by decision of the will?

  350. To Susanna (366)
    Logic acting upon axiomatic premises is the ONLY method of acertaining provable truth.

    Your first syllogism is not formally valid, you have committed the formal fallacy of affirming the consequent. Since formal validity is the most basic concept of basic logical inference may I humbly suggest that your grasp of logic is rather more tenuous than you might hope. (oh, and actually the converse of a true statement is not logically necessarily true, only the contrapositive is)

    To show the problem your syllogism is equivalent to:

    > If a being is a god then it can sustain life (If p then q)
    > Women can create and sustain life (q)
    -> Therefore – Women are gods (Therefore p)
    Though you could also look at it as an improper commutation of conditionals depending on which error you wanted to use

    In addition what you call “dialectic’ here is simply a definition of terms – you are proposing axioms.

    With regard to your second “logical reasoning” – I will recast it into logical forms (and include the premises you did not for clarity):
    > [If God says in the Bible that a thing is true then it is true]
    > The Bible (creation account, law, gospels, etc.) do not say that God gave man authority
    -> Therefore, God did not give man authority.
    … This one is actually a form of denying the antecedent. (There are two fundamental types of binary logical fallacies – you have now managed both.) An equivalent invalid syllogism would be:
    > [If God says in the Bible that a thing is true then it is true]
    > The Bible (creation account, law, gospels, etc.) do not mention the “Trinity”
    -> Therefore, the “Trinity” is does not exist.

    Might I suggest that Lewis’ lament for the state of the educational system was not unjustified.

    May I close by stating that I am quite certain that I have not underestimated an opponent – but I also hope that there is no need for you to be an “opponent.” Debate should not be a competition – but an exploration; not about “winning” but about ascertaining truth. (http://nuallan.livejournal.com/34685.html)

  351. In your comment #239, I agree with 1, 2, and 3 (for 3, male rule is clearly a result of the Fall. The male and female were both given equal dominion/AKA authority in Gen 1:26-28.)

    However, here is where I think you are missing some pieces:

    QUOTE NN: The above logic chain proves that the differentiation between men and women is a truth which transcends particular culture – but it does not prove that it is hierarchical. To prove that we must examine the particular instructions give:
    Women are told to “hupotassoe” their husbands – this same general instruction is used by Paul in the same context to describe the proper actions of citizens toward their governments and slaves toward their masters. Furthermore, we are instructed by the Christ that we are to obey the governing authorities (”render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s”) so we must interpret Paul’s specific instructions to wives to be in keeping with his use of the words to describe other obedience relationships ENDQUOTE

    NN, The hupotasso verbs used in Ephesians 5 are all PASSIVE
    http://interlinearbible.org/ephesians/5.htm
    (with the exception of the one added to Eph 5:22 in the Textus Receptus- which is an interpretational addition muddying the waters IMO). So Eph 5:21-22 reads “BEING SUBJECT to one another… wives to husbands” and Eph 5:24 reads “wives ARE SUBJECT to their husbands in everything just as….”

    Its the same concept as Douglas Wilson observed about “the husband IS the head of the wife” http://nuallan.livejournal.com/6888.html . The wife IS subject to her husband. I think “vulnerable” conveys the meaning. Wives are vulnerable to their husbands in a way which does not go vice versa. To me, eros seems to be a kind of object lesson of this.

    Charis

  352. Charis,

    I ama bit confused by your comment 379, “Wives are vulnerable to their husbands in a way which does not go vice versa. To me, eros seems to be a kind of object lesson of this.”

    How odes eros reflect a vulnerability that only goes one way, if that is what you are saying? I woud have thought that eros was designed to operate in an environment where BOTH parties are vulnerable.

  353. To SM Re#374

    At 372 what do you mean by “that is to come after the Church (the Bride) is joined to Christ (her bridegroom)”?

    That 1. (an assumed premise that Christ has redeemed His people)
    That 2. Christ is continuing to sanctify his people
    so that 3. He might present Her (the Church) to Himself as blameless
    That 4. The oneness which will be between the Church and Christ is not yet complete and will not be until after the marriage supper of the Lamb.

  354. 376 Charis,

    Quote NN : “The operation of eros within the marital relationship leads to an natural and God-made asymmetry of the relationship”
    “I agree with NN and I think its in Ephesians 5 quite clearly.”

    NN has acknowledged that eros was never used in scripture (359). No one has said that just because eros is not in the scripture that it is taken out of marriage.

  355. Tiffany, thank you for the response.

    (381)
    “That 1. (an assumed premise that Christ has redeemed His people)
    That 2. Christ is continuing to sanctify his people
    so that 3. He might present Her (the Church) to Himself as blameless
    That 4. The oneness which will be between the Church and Christ is not yet complete and will not be until after the marriage supper of the Lamb.”

    I thought that might be what you meant.

    (372) “the wife is to learn how to submit to her husband by knowing how the Church is to submit to Christ. And that in so doing will be a beautiful shadow (and convey truth to all who see it) of the relationship that is to come after the Church (the Bride) is joined to Christ (her bridegroom).”

    Tiffany, the beautiful shadow of wifely submission) is to convey truth to whom after the marriage supper of the Lamb?

  356. NN, you wrote: “Logic acting upon axiomatic premises is the ONLY method of acertaining provable truth.”
    So you are saying that we need to have a first principle, a self-evident truth, as the basic premise from which we deduct our conclusion? That is precisely what I said, i.e. you cannot use an inference as you premise. You can only create inferences from a premise and accept them or reject them according to proof. But here’s the real pickle when it comes to theology: how do you determine what the first principle is? How do you prove God’s existence? How do prove God is good? By using logic? That was the fallacy of the ontological argument of Anselm of Canterbury. He argued that since the mind could not conceive of anything greater than God, it proved the existence of God. But as has pointed out, this makes God’s existence dependent on the mind, i.e. what the mind cannot perceive does not exist, which is a false assumption.

    You wrote: “Your first syllogism is not formally valid, you have committed the formal fallacy of affirming the consequent.”
    I wonder where you studied logic… The following is from Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
    “A good argument is one whose conclusions follow from its premises; its conclusions are consequences of its premises. But in what sense do conclusions follow from premises? What is it for a conclusion to be a consequence of premises? Those questions, in many respects, are at the heart of logic (as a philosophical discipline). Consider the following argument:
    1.If we charge high fees for university, only the rich will enroll.
    We charge high fees for university.
    Therefore, only the rich will enroll.
    There are many different things one can say about this argument, but many agree that if we do not equivocate (if the terms mean the same thing in the premises and the conclusion) then the argument is valid, that is, the conclusion follows deductively from the premises. This does not mean that the conclusion is true. Perhaps the premises are not true. However, if the premises are true, then the conclusion is also true, as a matter of logic. This entry is about the relation between premises and conclusions in valid arguments.” (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/logical-consequence)
    I.e. If a god can create life and a woman can create life, it follows that a woman is a god. The conclusion is not true, but it is valid.

    You wrote: “oh, and actually the converse of a true statement is not logically necessarily true, only the contrapositive is”
    This is what I said too.

    You wrote: “Might I suggest that Lewis’ lament for the state of the educational system was not unjustified.”
    I graduated from High School in Finland, which is considered the best educational system in the world in all international comparisons (US is solidly at the bottom when 8th graders are compared).

    To your last comment: there is always an opponent in a debate. An opponent does not mean that we are in a competition; it means that there are two parties in the debate.
    Better luck with your next post.

  357. SM- the truth is conveyed now to the whole world (a shadow and never able to fully to convey every nuance, but a representation none the less), and the marriage super of the lamb comes later. All will know the truth at that point.

  358. To Susanna (384)
    Your quotation from The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is correct: “A good argument is one whose conclusions follow from its premises; its conclusions are consequences of its premises.” The point is that an formally invalid argument DOES NOT follow from its premises.

    Your arguments are not formally valid. There are two valid syllogism forms:
    1) Modus Ponens – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modus_ponens
    2) Modus Tollens – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modus_tollens

    There are two formal logical fallacies for syllogisms:
    1) Your first syllogism committed Affirming the Consequent – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affirming_the_consequent
    2) Your second syllogism committed Denying the Antecedent – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denying_the_antecedent

    Hope these help

  359. NN, You misread my text, I wrote: “Since the statement “a husband is never told to submit to his wife” is categorically negative, it can have only one inference, a complete converse, which is also logically necessary.”
    I did not say that a complete converse is logically necessary. I said that because the above statement is categorically negative, the inference must be logically necessary to be valid. A statement such as “a husband should sometimes have authority over his wife” is not valid since it means the husband ought to submit to his wife sometimes, which then negates the first sentence. Only a logically necessaty statement such as “a husband is always told to have authority over his wife,” allows the first mentioned to remain true.

    Perhaps you should be more careful when you read my posts and make sure you understand what I say instead of assuming I do not know what I’m talking about.

  360. Dave (380)
    When I was pondering NN’s eros hypothesis:

    “The operation of eros within the marital relationship leads to an natural and God-made asymmetry of the relationship….”

    Indeed! Women are the only ones who get pregnant, which is extremely asymmetrical. (Some factions of our egalitarian culture have ways of attempting to erase this particular asymmetry.)

    SM (382) Yes, and the tone of some replies to him distressed me. Just because the Greek word never appears in Scripture, that does not mean the concept of eros has no bearing on understanding Ephesians 5. What does “one flesh” mean within marriage?

  361. I never said I was trying to make a statement which was formally valid. There are many types of logic in philosophy and the so called “formally valid” is only one of many. I made a logical statement using the logic that the consequence always follows its premise. That was the entire point. You said that formally valid logic is basic stuff. Not so. Everything in philosophy is “basic stuff.” It all depends what you are trying to prove.

  362. To SM (364)
    I am afraid that if we cannot find common ground on a simple factual true/false statement:
    >> The apostle Paul gave different instructions to husbands and wives. (Eph 5:22-30, Col 3:18&19, etc.)

    Then I really can’t figure out what what common there is at which we can start this discussion.

    I shall make one parting remark since you keep talking about ‘how the word eros is not in the Bible.’ And seem to have missed my response on the matter (361) –

    Do you believe in the “Trinity”? Pray tell, where is that word used in Scripture?… Of course it isn’t, so there must be cases in which we believe concepts to be Biblical even when the word itself is not used in Scripture. [a more formal discussion of this was given in (377)]

    Before closing I wish to recommend something for your consideration (you may do with it as you please) about methods of Bible study that was once recommended to me by one of the Christians who I most respect. – It is often very easy to ready a sentence and get very caught up in our prior presumptions about theology and miss the content of the sentence itself. It is often very useful to simply diagram the sentence: what is the subject, what is the verb, what is the direct object, etc. This will often keep us more centered upon the text itself, and has very curative effects upon cultural and personal biases from creeping in.

  363. Do you believe in the “Trinity”? Pray tell, where is that word used in Scripture?… Of course it isn’t, so there must be cases in which we believe concepts to be Biblical even when the word itself is not used in Scripture.

    The explicit definition of the Trinity is found in the Scripture. Jesus is God. The Father is God. The Holy Spirit is God. There is only one God.

    This is different than attaching an express definition of romantic love which is not in the passage. Two totally different animals and I am quite surprised that you tried this tactic. This reasoning is common in the cults but not common in Christianity so I am very surprised you used it.

  364. NN wrote: “It is often very easy to read a sentence and get very caught up in our prior presumptions about theology and miss the content of the sentence itself.”
    Amen brother! It is so easy to read Eph 5 and see only authority-obedience, when in fact it speaks of love and devotion. The words “authority” and “obedience” are not even present in the text, but are assumed to exist.

  365. Charis, (388)

    You are correct that only women can get pregnant.

    However, within the context of NN’s article his thesis was that in Eph 5:22 it is apparent that eros is “operative” in the instruction to wives and that the presence of eros in marriage constitutes hierarchy. NN’s use of symmetric interchangeably for hierarchal informs his definition of asymmetric. In the following posts, direct quotes from NN’s article and comments on this thread were used by multiple commenters and the blog host, and he was given opportunities to clarify or correct: 4, 18, 34, 113, 120, 137, 170, 177, 183, 185, 189, 193, 195, 197. There are many more, but I hope this will suffice.

    Even at 289 I give NN another opportunity:
    Begin Quote
    X= operation of eros within the marital relationship between two “inequivalent” persons
    Y=”an [sic] natural and god-made asymmetry of the relationship (hierarchy)

    “Would you like to reword your thesis and any restatements i.e. the one above from the article under discussion? If so, how would you restate it?”
    End Quote

    NN, never took this or the many opportunities to refine his thesis that hierarchy (asymmetry of the relationship) is based the presence of eros.

    Charis: “Just because the Greek word never appears in Scripture, that does not mean the concept of eros has no bearing on understanding Ephesians 5.”

    NN’s claim was not that eros bore on his understanding of Eph 5. My best guess is that is probably the truth. But, it is just a guess.

    He was given opportunities to qualify his thesis. I said in this thread at 227 and elsewhere that if he intended to claim observation, experience, or anecdotal evidence to support his claim to do so, but he stood by his claim at 239 saying it “fits best with all available evidence provided by Scripture that [he had] seen”.

  366. NN,
    Re 391
    NN: “It is often very easy to ready a sentence and get very caught up in our prior presumptions about theology and miss the content of the sentence itself.”

    This is exactly the concern I expressed to you at 364:

    “It appears you are reading the Eph text with the presupposition that Paul is establishing a set of behaviors intended to differentiate (“to tell between”, “to distinguish”, “to discriminate”, “to set apart”) husbands from wives. Given your presupposition you read Paul’s text as if his intention is to give wives a mode of behavior that is intended to set them apart (differentiate them) from husbands. In your view, since the instruction is based on an intention to differentiate between husbands and wives, only wives are to submit because a husband is not a wife and a wife is not a husband.”

  367. Tiffany,
    You said:

    I would put forth that it is possible for a believing wife to submit in to an unbelieving husband because she isn’t to submit to him in matter of truth, but rather in every thing else.

    I think you actually mean she doesn’t submit in matters of sin. If he wants he to stop practicing her Christian faith, that would be a matter of sin and she would never do that.

    You are quite right that when the Church (the bride) is joined with Christ (the bridegroom) we don’t disappear. But rather we will have been completely, utterly and wholly transformed to His image. It is a 100/0 split because it is Christ who has created the parameters for oneness. Unless we are completely made new in His image we can’t be one with Him.

    I completely disagree with this. We are to be conformed to His image so that we can be perfect. When we are then transformed into His image we become 100/100 with Christ. We are then who we were created to be in complete perfection and ready to take our place in ruling and reigning with Him. If we say that it is 100/0 then it is all Him and no transformed image in us. But because it is 100/100 we are truly a new creation fit for Him as a bride without spot and wrinkle.

    If you take this view of 100/0 to the husband and wife oneness, the wife in essence would have to be absorbed to become a zero.

    But rather our love for Christ, our desire to submit fully to Him, will make it so we (our true and complete selves) couldn’t imagine not desiring everything that He desires.

    That is why it needs to be 100/100. A 100/0 doesn’t show an equal desire.

    To give a practical example- you discuss how we will judge the angels as the bride of Christ beside our Lord in oneness. We will do this not as a 50/50 spilt where the Church and Christ discuss the options, not as a 51/49 split where we reach agreement when we can but Christ gets the ultimate say, but rather in a true and ultimate oneness of 100/0 because we will desire all that Christ desires and the Church will be incapable of judging the angels any differently than Christ will judge the angels.

    Again you give a very poor example that can’t help but show one being absorbed into the borg. No, it has to be 100/100 for us to be in perfect unity.

    Now it has been said many times by others on here that the distinction Paul is making in Eph 5 about the marital relationship representing the Church/Christ relationship is about oneness. What I am saying is that yes, it is about oneness. The sort of oneness I spoke of in the preceding paragraph. With that view in mind authority almost becomes a moot point within marriage. It is certainly there, but not in the way that egalitarians are concerned it is going to be.

    I don’t understand. How is authority there if there is no difference of opinion?

    Let’s take a look at God for example. There is no submission in the Trinity since there is no difference of opinion for one to submit to the other. I am talking about the actual Trinity now, not the incarnation.

    Also in the Trinity one member does not have authority over the others since they are completely in unity.

    So tell me, how does an authority manifest itself in marriage if there is unity?

    I suspect this should clear up my thoughts on submission and marriage and how mutually submitting to each other (al a Eph5:21) is not exclusive of a distinctive submission talked about in the following verses between husbands and wives.

    I don’t see how you can even pull out a distinct submission when there is only one word “submit” used in only one verse? If Paul had wanted to express a difference, he would have had to either use another word or reuse the word “submit” and add something to it. But he did not do that. There is a unity here with only one word used to describe each submission. To break apart one word in this passage would require one to approach the passage with a preconceived idea of differences. I am unwilling to do that.

    It should also give a clear idea of my ideas on the place of authority in marriage.

    No, it actually makes me more confused. I don’t see authority in the marriage relationship defined and 100/0 example honestly is too borg-like for words. I know that you must realize that since you mentioned that you might be misunderstood, but you didn’t give anything to show where a husband’s authority is practically practiced so I still don’t understand. Perhaps you can give an example of a husband taking authority over his wife where you believe it is God-given.

    In comment #323 you said:

    Much has been made of the idea that the mirror of the marriage of Christ and the church is about representing onessness. I am with you all on this, but I am putting forth that it is this sort of onessness and that is what the marriage relationship should reflect.

    I strongly disagree that our oneness with Christ is 100/0 but is rather 100/100 so the thought that our marriage should be 100/0 makes me see the borg image where the woman is assimilated. It is a very unhealthy thought, in my opinion, and the number relationship shows that only the husband is important and she needs to become a clone of him as if he knows that is good for her. Since he is not her lord and her master, I can tell you right now that he does not know what is the best for his wife. Only the Lord Jesus knows what she needs and that is why the woman has only one Lord.

    Looking forward to your further explanation.

  368. So, NN… since the antonym of “hypotasso” is “antitasso” (Rom 13, Jas 4, 1 Pet 5), how do you suggest that the husband has authority over the wife? If the opposite of “submit” is “resist” how can you read into the text the notion of submission-authority?

  369. Here is the opinion of C S. Lewis. I don’t agree with him fully on the authority of husband over wife as intended by God, but I do agree with his conclusions, and who cannot?

    “I believe in political equality. But there are two opposite reasons for being a democrat. You may think all men so good that they deserve a share in the government of the commonwealth, and so wise that the commonwealth needs their advice. That is, in my opinion, the false, romantic doctrine of democracy. On the other hand, you may believe fallen men to be so wicked that not one of them can be trusted with any irresponsible power over his fellows.

    That I believe to be the true ground of democracy. I do not believe that God created an egalitarian world. I believe the authority of parent over child, husband over wife, learned over simple to have been as much a part of the original plan as the authority of man over beast. I believe that if we had not fallen, Filmer would be right, and partiarchal monarchy would be the sole lawful government. But since we have learned sin, we have found, as Lord Acton says, that “all power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The only remedy has been to take away the powers and substitute a legal fiction of equality. The authority of father and husband has been rightly abolished on the legal plane, not because this authority is in itself bad (on the contrary, it is, I hold, divine in origin), but because fathers and husbands are bad. Theocracy has been rightly abolished not because it is bad that learned priests should govern ignorant laymen, but because priests are wicked men like the rest of us. Even the authority of man over beast has had to be interfered with because it is constantly abused. (C.S. Lewis, “Membership,” from The Weight of Glory, pp. 168-7)

  370. Ok, finally getting back to this:
    NN said:
    “Let us apply the reasoning which you just outlined to a parallel passage of scripture, we’ll pick 1st Peter:
    1 Pet 2:13 ~ “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme”
    1 Pet 3:1 ~ “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”
    First of all, I don’t know if you realize that your tone comes across as condescending. “We” didn’t pick 1st Peter, you did. I think perhaps you are accustomed to presenting your point of view in a teaching, rather than a discussion, format. I prefer the courtesy of: “I would like to pick 1st Peter, if you don’t mind.” Thanks for your consideration.
    But leaving that aside and going on to your point:
    “Applying the same reasoning we say that “wives should submit to their husbands in the same way that christians are to submit to human governance. But this is quite different than your proposed reading of Ephesians. And since two contradictory statements CANNOT both be true (again a fundamental axiom of logic) – we must find a hermeneutic which produces a consistent understanding for both passages.”
    The two passages are different, but reading Ephesians in terms of mutual submission is not contradictory with 1st Peter. Keeping in mind that both are written to Christians living in a Greek-speaking culture in which authority of husbands over wives, and of the emperor over everyone, are assumed, the two books still have completely different focuses. Peter makes it clear what his purpose in writing is, in 1 Peter 2:11 – “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims. . . [have] your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works which they observe, glorify God. . .” It is from there that he goes on to tell these “sojourners” to “submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake.” He then goes on to speak of slaves who are under the control of non-Christian masters, and how the slaves should behave as Christ did, even when their masters are unjust. It is then that he goes on to say, “Likewise, wives, be submissive to your own husbands.” Peter is addressing how Christians are to behave towards those non-believers who are in authority over them. Wives are to submit to their husbands due to the governing authority husbands were considered by the culture to have over wives. The passage then goes on to talk about how unbelieving husbands (“who do not obey the word”) will be influenced by this kind of submission on the part of their believing wives.
    Paul’s letter to the Ephesians has an entirely different focus. His whole letter is about what it is to be “in Christ.” The relationships that Paul focuses on are not about Christians-to-unbelievers, but about Christians-to-Christians. Though Paul also assumes the existence of the cultural authority of husbands over wives (as he does also the authority of masters over slaves, etc.), he is NOT talking about relating to those worldly authority structures– he is talking about how Christians “in Christ” should relate to one another. Christian-to-Christian relationships, then, are to be characterized by mutual submission in which those in power lay down their power, and those who are not in power are elevated. Christian relations to the world, and Christian relations to one another, are different. This does not mean they are contradictory with one another. In one passage husbands and wives, masters and slaves, who are all assumed to be Christians, are told to “submit to one another.” In the other passage wives and slaves, who are assumed to be living in a hostile culture, are told (along with all other Christians who are “sojourners” in this culture), to submit themselves to the governing authority of husbands and masters just as Christians submit to all worldly governing institutions. If the husband is not Christian, he cannot be expected to let go of his cultural privilege and lay down his life, submitting even to death, for his wife. If the master is not Christian, he cannot be expected to “treat in the same way” their slaves as their slaves have just been told to treat them. Therefore, this kind of mutual submission is not mentioned in 1st Peter.
    Going on to your last question:
    “Which leads us back to my question, but let me rephrase it for you: For any command given – it is a transcendent principle being applied to a specific context. How do you distinguish between the transcendent principle itself and the particular adaptation of the principle to the present context? And, as a sub-question – how do we tell this without forcing our own present cultural biases onto the text.”
    It is of course always difficult to avoid forcing our own present cultural biases onto the text– whether they are biases that come from modern secular culture, or biases that come from modern Christian counter-cultural responses. But I would say that the best way to distinguish between the transcendent principle and the adaptation of the principle to the present context, is to study to learn about the original context. An understanding of the original context will help us understand original authorial intent– and when the authorial intent is God-inspired, understanding that intent will lead to an understanding of the transcendent principle.

  371. Re-reading my post, I’m not sure I was entirely clear. 1st Peter does mention that only “some” husbands are unbelieving– but Peter istalking within the context of Christian submission to the world’s authority structures. Paul in Ephesians, on the other hand, is talking about Christian relationships to one another within those worldly authority structures– and that Christian relationships are not about authority-subordination, but about mutual submission and those in the high places laying down their privileges, even as Christ laid down His.

  372. Thanks for the reply Charis.

    In 379 you said that wives were vulnerable to their husbands.
    In 380 I asked how eros makes the wife vulnerable.
    In 388 you respond to me by referring to asymetry in relationships because they get pregnant.

    I cannot understand how the wife being the one who gets pregnant makes her vulnerable. Please understand, I am not saying some societies and cultures do not prey on pregnant women or that being a single mum is not more difficult than being a single man. But how, in an eros relationship (i.e. a LOVE relationship) can one be more vulnerable? You have not answered this. Your link in your next comment to me did not answer this question either.

    1 Cor 11:11 suggests that we are interdependant – even in marriage!

  373. To Kristen (399-400)
    Your argument for the difference is then that Paul’s address to the “Ephesians has an entirely different focus… he is talking about how Christians “in Christ” should relate to one another [Christian-to-Christian relationships].”
    You are saying that Paul’s instructions in Ephesians to husbands and wives should actually be read as “wives submit to your husbands if they are a christian” – since you claim Paul is talking about only about christian-christian relationships.

    Of course this is not what Paul actually says, and it is interesting that this is the same general instruction (‘hupotassoe’) which is offered to wives in Col 3, 1 Pet, Titus 2, etc. – regardless of the circumstances of who is being talked to.

  374. Dave,

    I think she is more vulnerable because of her anatomy and because of the consequences of the Fall. And I think, as NN suggested in 239

    3) The instructions are intended to be universal as part of the current created order (whether due to God’s original design or as a result of the Fall it is the proper order now)

    The consequence of the Fall for women involves multiplication of and pain in childbirth, as well as “her desire shall be for her husband and he will rule over her”. This is not a command any more than Adam’s consequence is a command to sweat and deal with thorns. Its a condition.

    To the woman he [God] said,
    “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing;
    with pain you will give birth to children.
    Your desire will be for your husband,
    and he will rule over you.”
    Genesis 3:16

    Not “command” but “condition”
    Not “prescription” but “description”

    Likewise- Ephesians 5:24 “wives [subject] to their own husbands in everything”

    Not “command” but “condition”
    Not “prescription” but “description”

    What happened in Gen 3:16 is not called a “curse”.

    God did not “curse” Eve (or Adam).

    They received consequences, and the consequences recorded in Gen 3:16 are redemptive in that they create a level of pain which causes one to turn from what has become an idol and see God.

    1. Before the Fall, they were eternal beings so if they had children they would not need to have many of them

    2.Most animals only mate seasonally. Among animals (besides humans) a female “desire” for the male generally does not exist and there is no mating outside the season of fertility. Why are humans different when a rare “season” like animals would work fine for fulfilling “be fruitful and multiply”? For redemptive purposes IMO.

    3. In the immediate context of Gen 3:16, multiplication of childbirth and pain in it is mentioned- two mentions of pregnancy, which is a result of sex

    4. This one is anecdotal, but my mother always referred to menstruation as “the curse” and it does come with such unpleasantries as PMS and menopause so I rather think it was not part of Eve’s garden experience

    5. There is no record that Adam “knew” Eve nor did she conceive before the Fall. People ASSUME that means I consider sexual pleasure an evil along the lines of Augustine who thought they would multiply with no pleasure. Not true. Sex was God ordained by “be fruitful and multiply” and God designed it pleasurable. But I believe their total intimacy with God and one another was extremely satisfying and pleasurable in a way we only see in a mirror dimly (if we are so blessed) and they were not focused on sex like we are. They were, perhaps, quite young and it was not time for that yet- Eve had not come into season

    6. Gen 3:16 indicates that Adam would now “rule over her”. Testosterone is the hormone which drives male aggression. So, perhaps just as Eve had a huge hormonal change upon the Fall, so did Adam.

    7. Husband “rule over” goes right along with “wives are subject” and that is in the PASSIVE voice. My experience is that my husband DOES “rule over” me, I AM “subject to him” in a way over which I have absolutely no control. He has the power to wilt me with a few sharp words or to make me bloom with some nourishing and cherishing.

    DESIRE and RULE can be so very destructive, but they can also be REDEMPTIVE, bringing the marriage relationship into closer resemblance with garden intimacy.

  375. CHERYL #392) The explicit definition of the Trinity is found in the Scripture. Jesus is God. The Father is God. The Holy Spirit is God. There is only one God.

    This is different than attaching an express definition of romantic love which is not in the passage. Two totally different animals and I am quite surprised that you tried this tactic. This reasoning is common in the cults but not common in Christianity so I am very surprised you used it.

    Are you suggesting that NN and those who believe eros has a bearing on properly understanding Eph 5 are heretics?

    I’m gonna be blunt. Such judgments are why I unsubscribed from the blog and don’t hang around here much anymore. Instead of feeling that my perspectives were heard and really considered and weighed, I felt unheard and judged.

  376. Charis,
    You asked:

    Are you suggesting that NN and those who believe eros has a bearing on properly understanding Eph 5 are heretics?

    No, I am not suggesting that NN is a heretic. I said that I was surprised that he would use an invalid argument that typically those who are in the cults use. I am still surprised. He shouldn’t argue this way.

  377. I was also reading yesterday from something that came into my inbox and it was about female mutilation. The world has made eros love unequal and hierarchical by mutilating young girls so that only the male will have pleasure. I find it quite interesting that it is the world that creates a hierarchy and would just as well have women “evolved” into non-pleasured beings. But this is not the way that God created mankind. I also do not believe that Adam and Eve did not have a physical union in the garden. If they didn’t have a union, then God would not have had to increase her ability to conceive after the fall.

    I do believe that whatever God does is good. Whatever sinful mankind does to what originates from God is a distortion to God’s plan. It is just the world that we live in and thank God that He has set us free to be what He originally created us to be in Him.

  378. I do believe that women are naturally vulnerable. I just watched Human Trafficking on TV a few days ago. Tragic. I also believe that it is a desecration of the temple for men to have any rights over women in any way at all, so I find the combination of hierarchy and eros to be harmful and traumatizing. Perhap not heretical though. I don’t know about that. However, I do think this teaching falls in the same category as violent pornography and should be repudiated by Christians as completely wrong. I am surprised we have to do this at all. I am shocked actually.

  379. “I’m gonna be blunt. Such judgments are why I unsubscribed from the blog and don’t hang around here much anymore. Instead of feeling that my perspectives were heard and really considered and weighed, I felt unheard and judged.”

    Charis, I’m glad you are being blunt. It is important to state important feelings. However, feelings are not always truthful or filled with truth. Sometimes, feelings are fueled by some true past injustices from long ago that deeply wounded our psyche and then we forward on the feeling and pain where it doesn’t belong. I’ve been there, done that. And I’ve seen you do the same.

    Your perspectives have been heard and considered. Some of them were great, some not so great. Just like the rest of us. If someone doesn’t agree with you, it should not be taken as a personal discounting of your person. Do not require people to have to agree with you in order to feel respected. KNOW that you are respected by many EVEN though they don’t tell you so and EVEN though they may disagree with you on some things. Let me tell you plainly, you are respected by myself and many other fellow workers in the Lord. Consider my experience on this thread. Only a couple people have bothered 🙂 to respond to anything I’ve said. I could easily think the same thing you said. But I know and understand that I am respected and sometimes other’s just click in communication and in God’s economy, it isn’t my turn. Nothing more.

    I personally, have observed you mature in the Lord, and I’m blessed by your desire to study and search the Scriptures for truth. You are a great example of how a woman can be a good wife and mother and also be her own person and also be a good student of God’s Word. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. And don’t let the pains of your past tell you otherwise either. You are loved on the online blogs and forums you post on much more than you realize, even on the places you’ve thought you weren’t welcome.

    Cyber hugs….

  380. TL, fixed.

    As a side note, I think that some people have a difficult time with passionate discussion and some people don’t like it if their ideas aren’t commented on. I can’t speak for everyone, but I myself don’t have time to respond to each person’s comments and sometimes it is the ones that I disagree with most on that get my response. It is what it is and I don’t think one should read into it more than what is clearly said.

    Charis,
    I really liked that you asked me first if I was judging a person as a heretic before assuming that I was and walking away. I think that good communication should strive to understand first especially if there are hard feelings. This gives the person an opportunity to correct any misconceptions or apologize for being insensitive, etc. None of us are completely innocent that we never cause offense. But the love that we are to have for each other will overlook offenses or ask about them so that we can keep a good relationship. I am not perfect myself, but I try my very best and I am trusting that where I fail that God will continue to work with me until He births that sinless nature within me. What a wonderful time that will be, eh?

  381. The dreaded question “why?” People are so used to absorbing info without thinking it through. People also absorb mostly info that affirms what they already believe, which is why Augustine said so famously, “faith before reason,” for one must decide what one wants to believe (have faith) before one believes a fact (use reason). This is so very true about theology. Scholastic theologians turned around and said “reason before faith,” wherefore we now demand proof before we can believe. But this causes a problem: you can present any and all facts and people still won’t believe what you say.
    I also agree that NN and Mark like to lecture, but make no mistake! they consider everything we write, but do not comment on the facts they cannot answer for they do not want to admit defeat. So far NN’s arguments have all been defeated, are there any left?

  382. I am going to address a few people and a couple of topics in this response-

    SM & Gengwall: I am hoping by the lack of further questions that I was able to answer those you had. (I am not assuming you agree with me, but just that I answered your questions what I believe). I am really hoping to wrap my end of this all up either today or tomorrow and I just wanted to check. I’ll take silence as a yes. 🙂

    Cheryl- re: 100/100 vs 100/0 split.
    You can not have a “100/100” split. You can have two separate entities that are both individually at 100. Or you can have a unified group of two individuals which make up “one”. If we are saying Church/Christ and Husband/Wife are to be one, they can be 50/50 if you want to convey equality but 100/100 is nonsensical. (I mean nothing mean by that word, or insulting, simply that it is a concept that doesn’t make sense – all basic percentages must add up to 100) Let’s just discuss this before I address your questions. Although let me say (for I have no idea how many times now) I have not now, nor in the past ever said the husband has a God given right to take authority over his wife. Stop asking me to defend the concept or give an example of it. It is not what I am saying, it is not what I believe. If for some reason you think I do I suggest you go back and re-read my comments.

    Cheryl- re “eros”. I am not getting in the eros/hierarchy/etc discussion but I would like to jump into this idea of word/definitions in the Bible you have put forth. It is your contention that we can use the word Trinity to describe the Godhead because we see it clearly defined in scripture even though the word itself is never used. I would agree with you. You then seem to be saying that eros can not be used because no definition of it exists. Ever done a study of Song of Solomon? It is a textbook picture of eros (the word used in the Hebrew is “dowd”) in all it’s aspects between a husband and wife (mental, emotional, physical). If you want to say that there is not hierarchy in marriage even though eros is there then that is perfectly fine and the discussion can proceed from there. To suggest a definition of eros used is “a cult like tactic” and “an invalid argument” when the exact same principles were applied to the word Eros as you do to Trinity does not work.

    Charis- I have had the same experience on this blog. I had however forgotten. I intend to finish out (I hope) the discussion parts I have gotten myself involved in but hope not to make this mistake again. I really appreciate reading your thoughts on Genesis/curse/etc. Hoping to have time to think about it more and maybe talk to you some about it. Do you have a blog I can find you on?

  383. To Cheryl (392 & 405)

    I think perhaps you mistook the meaning of my argument. It was simply in response to the repeated statements to the effect that:

    Since the word “eros” is not in the Bible, the concept is not Biblical.

    The argument which I made simply demonstrated that this is false and gave the concept of the Trinity as an example: We believe in the concept of the Trinity though the word is not itself in the Bible. Now, when I say this, realize that this argument is both valid and true. The argument does NOT prove that the concept of “eros” is Biblical. It simply disproves the argument that others had offered against it.

    (as a closing aside, may I ask what concept exactly you think is in view in the Song of Songs if it is not the specific romantic love between a husband and wife?)

  384. Charis and Tiffany, I agree with TL: you must be able to separate the worth of yourself from the worth of your argument. It is not that people here do not care for you or your opinions; the question is about the arguments themselves. To be a good debator, one must always learn to divorce onself and one’s worth from one’s arguments.

  385. “The argument which I made simply demonstrated that this is false and gave the concept of the Trinity as an example: We believe in the concept of the Trinity though the word is not itself in the Bible.”

    Tiffany, I think you took Cheryl’s statement out of context of what she was expressing. It isn’t the concept of eros that is not Biblical, but the concept that in Ephesians Paul was addressing eros in marriage or that Paul was addressing eros in marriage as an authority versus submission paradigm. Something like that. We have to be careful that in our desire to be concise in quoting that we eliminate the real intent of the author.

    Actually, there is no real relationship to the lack of use of Trinity in Scripture to the lack of use of eros in Scripture, specifically in Ephesians 5. There is no parallel IMO.

    Romantic love and sexuality are not actually equal to the covenant devoted communion of a man and woman committed in the oneness bond of marriage. Certainly they love each other, but romantic love and sexuality is actually at the low end of the relationship or should be even though it needs to be included. Romantic love should not be the driving factor of a godly marriage.

  386. On the contrary TL, NN was showing that we have an understanding of the concept of the trinity and freely use that word to explai things in the Bible. NN was attempting to find common ground with SM by showing that a concept can be Biblical and used to understand concepts in the Bible even if the word is never used. Eros is clearly in the Bible as a concept. And Biblically eros should only exist between husband and wife, it is a distinction of that relationship. Using eros to describe a relationship in the Bible is no different than using trinity if we adhere to the parameters that cheryl set forth.

    Incidentally you quoted NN, not me, but addressed your comment to me. If you go back and read my comment you will see that I have no interest what so ever to get into the discussion on eros/hierarchy/etc but rather was pointing out that using eros was valid if we applied cheryl’s requirement of what made the use of trinity valid.

  387. sorry about confusing the two of you Tiffany. 🙂

    “NN was attempting to find common ground with SM by showing that a concept can be Biblical and used to understand concepts in the Bible even if the word is never used. Eros is clearly in the Bible as a concept. “

    This is quite true. The problem is that romantic love was not being described in Ephe. 5 by Paul. I would agree with you (both) if we were talking about Song of Solomon.

  388. NN said:
    “You are saying that Paul’s instructions in Ephesians to husbands and wives should actually be read as “wives submit to your husbands if they are a christian” – since you claim Paul is talking about only about christian-christian relationships.”
    Honestly, NN, it’s getting frustrating that you tell me what I just said, and it isn’t what I said at all.
    Paul is talking to Christian husbands and Christians wives. He tells them that within the assumed societal structure of male authority, there is mutual submission among Christians. Paul tells the wives to go ahead and submit to their (Christian) husbands. He tells the husbands what their “submission” (he just used that word to ALL CHRISTIANS) in v. 21) should look like– that as Christ was in the high position and came down low in submission to glorify his Bride, so should they. He is not saying “only submit to your husbands if they are Christians” because he is not addressing the issue of non-believers at all– Peter does that, but Paul is talking about what things should look like if you are “in Christ.” Obviously some women in Ephesus were married to unbelievers, and some husbands in Ephesus were married to unbelievers. Since the Epistles were circulated throughout the churches, the Christians in Ephesus would also at some point have heard Peter’s letter, which addresses the issue specifically. But a woman in Ephesus who was married to an unbeliever would still hear that she is to submit to her husband “as unto the Lord” — not meaning “as if he was your Lord” (that would be heresy and idolatry), but that she should consider her submission to him to be submission to the Lord. But her unbelieving husband, not being present at the reading of the letter, would not hear Paul’s instructions to lay down his privilege for his wife. Paul’s instruction could still carry her through, though, because the advice to wives in either case is the same– submit.
    In both cases, wives are under cultural authority structures which include husbandly rule. But in Ephesians, Paul is focusing on the fact that “in Christ,” submission should be mutual. Husbands are told to emulate Christ in submission, not to emulate Christ in authority.
    So– if both Peter and Paul assume social authority structures, and counsel Christians on how to live within those social structures rather than rebelling against them– does that mean that we, living now under social structures that look a lot more like what Paul said Kingdom living was all about (equality for servants who are no longer owned by their masters, government by rulers who no longer consider themselves divinely above those they lead, and equal empowerment for husbands and wives), should go back to first-century marital authority structures, as though Paul and Peter were commanding them instead of assuming them?

  389. Tiffany,

    I have done my best to make you feel welcome here and gone out of my way to express Christian charity and acceptance. If you feel that you are not welcome until your views are accepted, you may have too high an expectation.

    I find that some people are just too sensitive to enter into passionate dialog on a secondary issue. They take things personally when the comments are about issues not people. It is okay to make judgment calls about issues when giving clear reason why you judge things as unacceptable to you. It is not okay for people to judge other people’s hearts and this is what I try hard not to do or allow on my blog.

    If you think that my blog is not kind or accepting to complementarians, let me give you an example of a complementarian blog that I occassionally post on that allows all kinds of attacks against the few egalitarians that dare to post. This is what one comp fellow posted just today. He had made a comment that egalitarians are divisive church splitters. When an egalitarian made this comment concerning where church splits come from:

    It is the inability for Christians of differing viewpoints on non salvic issues to love one another with the love of Christ.

    Within a comment or two after that the complementarian posted:

    The above reflects the thought processes of a passive-aggressive egalitarian personality seeking the high ground by claiming false victimhood.

    This is the kind of interaction from complementarians that is typical on many complementarian forums. But it is not the typical comments on my blog because I don’t allow people to attack one another here. If you think that I am not doing a good enough job of keeping the peace and making complementarians know that they are welcome here and are loved as dear brothers and sisters in Christ, then perhaps you could instruct me on what it is that I need to do to do a better job. And when you visit a complementarian forum that regularly roasts egalitarians, then maybe you will reconsider so that you can understand that passionate argument on one’s beliefs vs another’s beliefs is not a personal attack, but attacks on a person’s motives is such an attack.

    Lastly the issue of truth that is debated here will not likely change an opponent’s mind immediately. This is why I believe we need to follow the Scripture’s command to love one another and to defend our faith with respect towards those who oppose. If they cannot see Jesus in us, they are unlikely to consider our argument as an argument coming from the heart of God.

    I would like to remind all that patience is a virtue and it is okay if another person does not accept your view. The work of persuading of truth is really the Holy Spirit’s work and we are just instruments that are useful to Him as He does His work.

  390. NN,
    You said:

    I think perhaps you mistook the meaning of my argument. It was simply in response to the repeated statements to the effect that:

    Since the word “eros” is not in the Bible, the concept is not Biblical.

    I didn’t hear the argument being made that the concept is not Biblical. The understanding that I clearly got from the arguments that others were making is that you cannot just add the concept of “eros” into a passage without justification. Although it was said that the word is not in the Bible, I didn’t hear anyone claim that the sense of a sexual unity is not in the Scriptures. The challenge for you was to prove that eros is meant in Ephesians 5.

    It would be the same thing with the Trinity. When Jesus said that he was thirsty while he was on the cross, we cannot take that statement and say that the Trinity was saying that they were thirsty even though the concept of the Trinity is true and it is found in the Scriptures. What is true is not