Politely challenging church leaders on marriage

Scott on his new blog writes about Politely challenging Church leaders.

From what I’ve seen in my discussions with “egalitarians” about marriage they tend to fall into a few categories.

  1. The belief that authority itself as a structure is a bad thing. God wouldn’t allow a husband to have authority over the wife because that’s bad. A fundamental misunderstanding of authority because of our cultural disrespect of authority.
  2. Jesus came to break curses. Authority/headship was a curse in the garden, and it’s broken so now husbands and wives are equals (Greek: “exousia” versus “isos”).
  3. Men and women are equal. This is a bit different than #1 and it’s a fundamental misunderstanding of “respect” versus “honor” (Greek: “phobeo” versus “timao”).
  4. The belief that “serving” and “submission” are the same thing. Obviously, they aren’t. Jesus served His disciples, the Church. Jesus does not submit to the Church. (Greek: “diakonia” versus “hupotasso”).
  5. The belief that headship is not authority (Greek: “kephale” versus “exousia”).

Sometimes egalitarians will argue many of these points together, but you need to understand that distinguishing between these arguments helps substantially to understand where people are coming from.

For example, one of my test questions if I want to know what someone thinks about authority especially in marriage is along the lines of asking “Do you believe that Adam had headship over Eve before the fall.”

The correct understanding of authority, headship, and other power structures is that they are inherently good as they are created by God. However, being placed within a particular structure is neither good or bad. They have their own value and cannot be compared to each. Thus, positions are intrinsically good and their extrinsic value is incompatible with comparison.

Even the hint of thought about “comparison” of positions within such a structure is sinful in respect because they all lead in evil thoughts and expectations such as covetousness or favoritism. Those under authority want the authority for themselves because they believe that the position above them is “better” or “superior.” Those in “higher positions” are looked upon more favorably than those in “lower positions.” The Scriptures condemn both of these.

Women, in general, I think tend to fall more prey to this because their sin tendency is hypergamous. They want the fame, power, status, or monetary value associated with such “positions.” Hence, they place a “superior” value on being in a position or claiming it for themselves. Obviously, men are not exempt but this is where women tend to struggle more.

Semantic games

The reason why I have been denoting specific words with quotation is that language matters a lot. We use certain words to convey the value that we place on certain positions. Namely, in the above paragraphs the value words that denote our thoughts on what is “better” and what is “worse” are the ubiquitous terms such as “higher” and “lower” and “inferior” and superior.” We also denote things according to our belief of intrinsic value such as “good” and “bad” which is similarly an incorrect value judgment.

The very fact that wives become dissatisfied with their place in a marriage means they invariably have become deceived or deluded in their understand of the value of the role of the wife. God created wives to be helpmeets, and God created humans to be very good. Thus, the roles he created for us are also very good. It follows naturally that wives who are dissatisfied with their roles or usurping the role of the husband clearly do not understand the inherent value to which God has assigned to their role in the family.

This is not unlike many other modern Christian women who want families but decide to put them off for the careers, for travel, for missionary work, and the like. It is clear that either misunderstanding, deception, or delusion that the do not place a high value on the family. Obviously, that is their choice, but from what I have seen many often regret their choices for not actively attempting to find a husband when they were younger as they remain single into their 30s and 40s.

Parsing the rationaliziations

Parsing out the semantics that egalitarians use for their arguments is extremely annoying unless you pay extra careful to the wording that they use. It’s quite obvious that none of their positions are supported as a whole in Scriptures, yet it is easy to pick out versus such as mutual submission when cherry picking.

In general, egalitarian Christians use emotional arguments instead of Scripture and logic just as feminists and other leftists do. The reason for this is typically because in their pasts they have encountered situations that have left a bad impression on them of authority or other related power structures. I discussed how some of this may occur in behavior cycles and identity.

Essentially, what happens is that if someone has a bad experience with authority they typically come to believe that authority is implicitly bad. Emotions and feelings are more instinctual than logic and thoughts, so the emotions and feelings tend to overpower the logic and thoughts. When this happens the brain naturally rationalizes everything in the context of the base feelings.

For instance, let’s say Jack and Jill both grew up in a so-called Christian household but their father was an angry drunk. Our fathers tend to influence how we understand our heavenly father, so Jack and Jill may believe that the Christian God is often uncaring and angry with them. This also leads them to believe instinctively that both “fathers” and “authority” are naturally bad. This leads to two diverging paths given the different sexes of Jack and Jill.

Jack naturally does not want to grow up to be like his father. Hence, he will try to be in every way like his father was not. He may succeed or fail as there are two paths for him. One path leads to him repeating the same patterns as his father. The other path leads him to totally changing. Obviously, if he repeats the same patterns then he passes it down like a generational curse: he becomes an angry drunk to his kids too. However, if he avoids the cycle it is likely he believes in his heart that “authority” and “fatherhood” are bad. Hence, he becomes more passive and is very unlikely to become a man that walks in his masculinity with women. Such men are likely to marry a dominant woman and get steamrolled in marriage.

Likewise, Jill will end up naturally diverging on two similar paths. If she has stockholm syndrome and cannot escape the cycle then she will tend to end up married to a man like her father. She will end up married to a man that is an angry drunk or is like an angry drunk. On the other hand, she may decide that she never wants to marry a man like that and will thus become untrustworthy of men that she is interested in. She will only want to marry a man she can control because she couldn’t control her father from being angry to her. Hence, she will be dominant in the relationship and end up acting in a masculine manner. Eventually, she will wonder how she ended up in a seriously unhappy marriage, and she will most likely divorce her passive husband.

Coming to an understanding is more important than arguments

It is rare that you encounter a so-called “egalitarian” who actually listens to rational and logical Scriptural arguments. I’ve discussed many of them before and how they can be countered in the above links if you want to go that route.

However, in regard to discussing those entrenched in emotional rationalizations the true key is to keep going deeper. You don’t argue the belief that “egalitarianism is good and headship is bad.” Instead, you ask why they believe that. If they say one of the arguments above then ask them why do they feel that way about it? Chances are if you can dig enough to the memories and experiences of those who are egalitarians you can help them come to terms with why they believe the way they do. This can allow them to ponder and potentially “exorcise” their past demons so to speak.

In reality, it’s not really about them understanding an argument but understanding themselves better. The interesting compounding effect is that because you are actively trying to understand them they know you care about them, and it should in most cases bring you both closer together. If it doesn’t perhaps you have planted some seeds that God can work with.

From my experience those who truly will be convinced solely through rational arguments are very few and they’re usually men. They are typically ones who know that their true identity is in Christ, and are humble and want to learn and understand better. This type of person can be rarely found within today’s society.

Obviously, in the context of Church leaders there are a few additional things to consider. Namely, how much do they care about God versus man (or women in this case) and how much do they care about money. These are the main two overriding factors which may cause many Church leaders to crumble:

  • If they are afraid of the reaction of the men and women in their Church more than the truth in Scripture.
  • If they are afraid of families leaving their church and hence tithes going down more than the truth in Scripture.

In both of these cases, you can really only point out the obvious even when they agree with you and hope God works. That is the duty of Christians through Matthew 18. Otherwise, it may be best to leave if they continue to be disobedient to the Word and find a Church that is obedient to God.

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23 Responses to Politely challenging church leaders on marriage

  1. Pingback: Politely challenging church leaders on marriage | Manosphere.com

  2. donalgraeme says:

    Excellent analysis DS.

  3. Kevin Wayne says:

    The issue of equality in the “Brethren” at large seems to be missing here. The primary texts we should be using to guide human relationships are ones that Jesus spoke, but is rarely considered: Matt 20:25-28, 23;1-12. While it’s true that Jesus “served” the church without being in submission to it, it’s also clear that both diakonos>/i> and doulos are used to describe the way in which kingdom people are to relate to one another.

    While I’m not full on with the egalitarians, I think they raise several good issues. Even an eminent Greek scholar such as Spiros Zodhiates, whom I don’t think would be a dyed in the wool CBE-ite, is correct I think in that the Timothy and Titus passages used to say women can never serve in ministerial positions in the church are better rendered as “The wife shall not teach or exercise authority over her husband” (aner andgune And when you put that in the context that Jesus said no one is to teach or exercise authority over ANYONE (Matt 23,) the path becomes more illumined. Thus, properly balanced and Biblical marriages are going to look strikingly like egalitarianism, though they may finally may not be as such. Add to the mix that in Christ there is no Male or Female and that husbands are to listen to their wives at the risk that God might not listen to them, and we get an even clearer picture.

    I don’t think Jesus intended a church to be governed by text or tradition, but ultimately be Spirit-led – with the caveat that the Bible and History can be good guides to help us understand what a people ruled 1st and foremost by Jesus himself will look like. I think it’s a matter of historical record tht the church became more corrupt the more it evolved into being centralized and organized by human effort. I think you’e right that squabbling over position can lead to jealousy and sin, but I find your expression of this to be more than a little legalistic in tone.

  4. @ Kevin Wayne

    Of the brethern yeah. We are all one in Christ.

    In marriage it’s clear that the husband is supposed to have authority in headship. Same with some of the Church positions.

    Many egalitarians pervert the fact that we are all one in Christ to undermine the clear message of structured authority in homes and the Church though. That doesn’t fly.

    Also note that this post is only talking about marriage given the title which is why I didn’t talk about any other aspect.

  5. Scott says:

    Thanks for the link back.

    Interesting direction you took this and I like it.

    Maybe should put ME on the couch.

  6. Jacob says:

    Interesting post, thanks. Your post on mutual submission wasn’t all that clear.

    Not to rehash that discussion here, just to note: Scripture is clear that Christians are to submit to each other in the fear of God (Eph 5:21). This is the governing submission. The Scriptures are also clear that this is achieved in marriage by submission of the wife to her husband as head, and by the husband loving his wife as his own flesh. I find nothing in Scripture to indicate God is pleased when these roles are reversed or that mitigating circumstances exist when a husband or wife is disobedient or weak.

    If a wife fails to submit to her husband, or a husband fails to love his wife, they are by default failing to submit to each other as Christians. Those who believe submitting to each other as Christians means God is pleased when marriage roles are reversed do not have a Christian view of either submission or marriage. Obedience by a spouse is never a pre-requisite for one’s own obedience, although one might hope and pray for it.

  7. Tom Arrow says:

    Cool!

    I know God exists, but I do not believe that he is Christian or that he wrote the scripture.

    Nonetheless, this makes sense. Very clear and logical. I like it.

  8. theasdgamer says:

    Since we are all one in Christ, there should be no authority at all in the Church–no pastors, no people who hold the money, no teachers, etc. Great point!

  9. theasdgamer says:

    You won’t convince him without an argument against absurdity using agree and amplify.

  10. theasdgamer says:

    The wife submits to her husband, not the other way around. The husband doesn’t submit to the wife–he is to serve her. Christ doesn’t submit to the Church–He serves her.

  11. theasdgamer says:

    I should add, that Eph. 5:22ff is not an exegesis and exploration of the preceding verses, but a rabbit trail. Paul uses 5:21 to segue into a new area.

  12. theasdgamer says:

    How did Jesus argue? What were His methods? What does Paul say about persuading? How did Paul argue?

  13. jonakc1 says:

    at least egalitarians are honest about their beliefs
    times have changed..

    complementarians are the worst
    they are like snakes deceiving
    but you see their fruit
    all their marriages are egalitarian.. no difference in male and female…

  14. @ jonakc1

    at least egalitarians are honest about their beliefs
    times have changed..
    complementarians are the worst
    they are like snakes deceiving
    but you see their fruit
    all their marriages are egalitarian.. no difference in male and female…

    That’s actually a very interesting thought.

    It’s true that the hypocrites are indeed the most deceptive and destructive about it. It’s easy to misguide people that way.

  15. @ Jacob

    If a wife fails to submit to her husband, or a husband fails to love his wife, they are by default failing to submit to each other as Christians. Those who believe submitting to each other as Christians means God is pleased when marriage roles are reversed do not have a Christian view of either submission or marriage. Obedience by a spouse is never a pre-requisite for one’s own obedience, although one might hope and pray for it.

    Disagreed here although it’s subtle.

    Paul first discusses the body of Christ: the Church and how they are to act according to one another. Next, Paul discusses specific circumstances such as the family: husband and wife. Then in Ephesians 6 he discusses the differences of parents and children.

    The specialty subsets override the general commands of the body of Christ because the husband and wife are one flesh. It is not two Christians acting in submission toward one another: it is one flesh acting in accordance with its own.

    If that isn’t enough evidence later Paul discusses wifely submission in Colossians 3 and Titus 2. Likewise, Peter discusses submission in 1 Peter 3. Nowhere else is there any confusion about “mutual submission” in regard to the body of Christ, and the overriding theme is headship and submission.

    Therefore, there are differences between the bonds of the unity between one flesh (physical and spiritual unity) and that of the body of believers being one in Christ (spiritual unity).

    That should make it clearer.

  16. theasdgamer says:

    I find your expression of this to be more than a little legalistic in tone.

    Meh, mangina feminine shaming. We’ve never seen that before.

  17. Pingback: Understanding Godly value | Christianity and the manosphere

  18. Kevin Wayne says:

    Meh, mangina feminine shaming. We’ve never seen that before.

    Meh, unable to take constructive criticism. We’ve never seen that before. 😉

  19. Kevin Wayne says:

    @Deep Strength

    In marriage it’s clear that the husband is supposed to have authority in headship. Same with some of the Church positions

    I don’t think Church positions are described as such at all. But to understand Male Headship in the home, ask yourself: Do you honestly think a husband has authority over his wife in the same way as Christ has over the church?

    Really? That he has a right to kill his wife, as God does one of his own creation?

    Or in the same way Christ has authority to call a Christian to martyrdom on His behalf?

    There actually is no verse that says “Husbands exercise authority over your wives in the same manner as Christ has authority over the church.” Christ has a right to make us fully disposable and to do his full bidding. Not one of the verses in the Bible that talk about husband/wife relations describe it as such. For example “The LORD hates divorce and cruel men.” (Mal 2:16) But YAHWEH reserved the right to divorce Israel.

    Again, start with Christ: Matt 23:1-12, Lk 22:24-30. Those guide all human relationships.

  20. jonakc1 says:

    Adam name Eve
    naming someone indicated authority…
    Christ could not love us if he did not have authority…

    women cannot submit or obey their husbands as the bible outlines if their husbands had no authority…

    you must just be a typical CBMW/Chandler christian
    adapt to the culture
    men lead by submitting to their wives and running the home…

  21. Hugo Stiglitz says:

    Kevin,

    What greater love is there than one who gives his life for his brother.

    It does in fact state to love your wife as Christ loved the church, even to the point that he died for her. If to that extreme we are to be like Christ is to the church, then yes we have authority… God over Christ, Christ over husband, and husband over wife. How difficult is that. You must be one that has perverted authority to equal cruel.

    My questions to you is how would you:
    You become a christian, your wife does not. She doesn’t not in any way want to divorce you. How do you wash her in the word if she is in rebellion? What did Jesus say to the churches in Revelations? In no way am I saying that man sets him self up to be “Christ”, however Corinthians makes it clear husband husband has authority to the point that she is to remain silent and ask her husband at home.

  22. Pingback: Authority is Good Part 2 | Christianity and the manosphere

  23. @ Kevin

    Aside from the other comments I answered it in another post since I wanted to elaborate more.

    https://deepstrength.wordpress.com/2015/10/20/authority-is-good-part-2/

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