How do wives petition or win their husbands

As many of you know, I’m always a fan of practicalities. Being made new is a process that involves removing the old and putting on the new. If you simply remove the old then your habits will resurface and you will eventually start putting back the old on again. The same is true spiritually as Jesus discusses.

Matthew 12:43 “Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came’; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation.”

As I discussed in shades of rebellion, Dalrock has posted recently about many areas where evangelical “complementarians” advocate a twisted sense of rebellion and call it godly. Here are some, but not all, of them which you can read on your own time.

Let’s talk about some of the issues.

Red herrings

Part of the discussion that has cropped up in these posts is a peripheral argument that always comes to the forefront namely,

“Should wives submit to a husband that leads or commands her to sin.”

This question is indeed a red herring in the sense that it promotes unwarranted fear. The vast majority of so-called Christian husbands aren’t leading nor commanding their wives to sin. However, this question is used as a strong arm tactic to undermine the authority of headship. In particular, the fear questions legitimate authority and sows the seeds of discontent and discord within relationships that lead ultimately toward covert or overt rebellion.

The discussion itself focuses on actions and actually misses the mark of what God consistently is aiming at in the Scriptures. Since this is actually not clear to many people, I want to bring up the actual examples from the Scriptures.

The preeminent verse and example is brought up in 1 Peter 3 on how wives are to win their husbands:

1 Peter 3:1 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2 as they observe your chaste and [a]respectful behavior. 3 Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; 6 just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right [b]without being frightened by any fear.

The first part of the passage is straight forward. If a wife claims to be Christan then even if her husband is not a Christian she should act in the proper manner to win her husband:

  • Chaste Attitude
  • Respectful Attitude
  • Gentle Spirit
  • Quiet Spirit
  • Submissive [to their husbands]

As you can see from the Keller’s example of busting up China in Dalrock’s posts that is being touted as a Christian example, this is completely and utterly false. The reason why God commands chaste and respectful attitude, a gentle and quiet spirit, and submission is because that is able to win the hearts of their husbands. Confrontation through strife is not a way to win the heart of the husband, and if he is a man that backs down to confrontation and does what the wife wants it is an inversion of sex roles. She has taken the head over the relationship through rebellion.

Sarah

The example given is Sarah to Abraham. The example of Sarah to Abraham answers the question “Should I obey my husband if he leads me into sin.” Let’s look at two specific situations.

Genesis 12:10 Now there was a famine in the land; so Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land. 11 It came about when he [j]came near to Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, “See now, I know that you are a [k]beautiful woman; 12 and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife’; and they will kill me, but they will let you live. 13 Please say that you are my sister so that it may go well with me because of you, and that [l]I may live on account of you.” 14 It came about when Abram came into Egypt, the Egyptians [m]saw that the woman was very beautiful. 15 Pharaoh’s officials saw her and praised her to Pharaoh; and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. 16 Therefore he treated Abram well for her sake; and [n]gave him sheep and oxen and donkeys and male and female servants and female donkeys and camels.

17 But the Lord struck Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. 18 Then Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her for my wife? Now then, [o]here is your wife, take her and go.” 20 Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him; and they [p]escorted him away, with his wife and all that belonged to him.

Abraham goes down to Egypt, and tells a “white lie” and tells his wife to be complicit with his “white lie.” Sarah, or Sarai at this point, is obedient to Abraham. However, in the passage as the story develops obviously you can see that none of the blame falls onto Sarai but solely onto Abraham. This is the power of headship as a covering. That which a wife does under her husband’s authority is not her responsibility but his for commanding it. Likewise,

Genesis 20:1 Now Abraham journeyed from there toward the land of the [a]Negev, and [b]settled between Kadesh and Shur; then he sojourned in Gerar. 2 Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” So Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. 3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is [c]married.” 4 Now Abimelech had not come near her; and he said, “Lord, will You slay a nation, even though [d]blameless? 5 Did he not himself say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my [e]hands I have done this.” 6 Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that in the integrity of your heart you have done this, and I also [f]kept you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her. 7 Now therefore, restore the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.”

8 So Abimelech arose early in the morning and called all his servants and told all these things in their hearing; and the men were greatly frightened. 9 Then Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, “What have you done to us? And [g]how have I sinned against you, that you have brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? You have done to me [h]things that ought not to be done.” 10 And Abimelech said to Abraham, “What have you [i]encountered, that you have done this thing?” 11 Abraham said, “Because I thought, surely there is no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife. 12 Besides, she actually is my sister, the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife; 13 and it came about, when God caused me to wander from my father’s house, that I said to her, ‘This is [j]the kindness which you will show to me: [k]everywhere we go, say of me, “He is my brother.”’”

Abraham does not learn his lesson and trust God the next time the same situation pops up. He does the same exact thing again with Abimelech. The same exact scenario occurs.

The important thing to note is that both times Sarah is delivered from each situation by God. She did not choose to rebel against Abraham and refuse to do what he said even though lying is obviously a sin. God delivers her both time from her situation because she was in the right — chaste, respectful, gentle, quiet, and submissive to her husband — even in his doing wrong.

Abigail

Of course, there is only one other example in the Scriptures where a wife is disobedient to her husband and God honors her.

1 Samuel 25:2 Now there was a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel; and the man was very [a]rich, and he had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. And it came about while he was shearing his sheep in Carmel 3 (now the man’s name was Nabal, and his wife’s name was Abigail. And the woman was [b]intelligent and beautiful in appearance, but the man was harsh and evil in his dealings, and he was a Calebite), 4 that David heard in the wilderness that Nabal was shearing his sheep. 5 So David sent ten young men; and David said to the young men, “Go up to Carmel, [c]visit Nabal and greet him in my name; 6 and thus you shall say, ‘[d]Have a long life, peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have. 7 Now I have heard that you have shearers; now your shepherds have been with us and we have not insulted them, nor have they missed anything all the days they were in Carmel. 8 Ask your young men and they will tell you. Therefore let my young men find favor in your eyes, for we have come on a [e]festive day. Please give whatever you find at hand to your servants and to your son David.’”

9 When David’s young men came, they spoke to Nabal according to all these words in David’s name; then they waited. 10 But Nabal answered David’s servants and said, “Who is David? And who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants today who are each breaking away from his master. 11 Shall I then take my bread and my water and my meat that I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men [f]whose origin I do not know?” 12 So David’s young men retraced their way and went back; and they came and told him according to all these words. 13 David said to his men, “Each of you gird on his sword.” So each man girded on his sword. And David also girded on his sword, and about four hundred men went up behind David while two hundred stayed with the baggage.

14 But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, saying, “Behold, David sent messengers from the wilderness to [g]greet our master, and he scorned them. 15 Yet the men were very good to us, and we were not insulted, nor did we miss anything [h]as long as we went about with them, while we were in the fields. 16 They were a wall to us both by night and by day, all the time we were with them tending the sheep. 17 Now therefore, know and [i]consider what you should do, for evil is plotted against our master and against all his household; and he is such a [j]worthless man that no one can speak to him.”

18 Then Abigail hurried and took two hundred loaves of bread and two jugs of wine and five sheep already prepared and five measures of roasted grain and a hundred clusters of raisins and two hundred cakes of figs, and loaded them on donkeys. 19 She said to her young men, “Go on before me; behold, I am coming after you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal. 20 It came about as she was riding on her donkey and coming down by the hidden part of the mountain, that behold, David and his men were coming down toward her; so she met them. 21 Now David had said, “Surely in vain I have guarded all that this man has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belonged to him; and he has returned me evil for good. 22 May God do so to the enemies of David, and more also, if by morning I leave as much as one [k]male of any who belong to him.”

23 When Abigail saw David, she hurried and dismounted from her donkey, and fell on her face before David and bowed herself to the ground. 24 She fell at his feet and said, “On me [l]alone, my lord, be the blame. And please let your maidservant speak [m]to you, and listen to the words of your maidservant. 25 Please do not let my lord [n]pay attention to this [o]worthless man, Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. [p]Nabal is his name and folly is with him; but I your maidservant did not see the young men of my lord whom you sent.

26 “Now therefore, my lord, as the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, since the Lord has restrained you from [q]shedding blood, and from [r]avenging yourself by your own hand, now then let your enemies and those who seek evil against my lord, be as Nabal. 27 Now let this [s]gift which your maidservant has brought to my lord be given to the young men who [t]accompany my lord. 28 Please forgive the transgression of your maidservant; for the Lord will certainly make for my lord an enduring house, because my lord is fighting the battles of the Lord, and evil will not be found in you all your days. 29 Should anyone rise up to pursue you and to seek your [u]life, then the [v]life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living with the Lord your God; but the [w]lives of your enemies He will sling out [x]as from the hollow of a sling. 30 And when the Lord does for my lord according to all the good that He has spoken concerning you, and appoints you ruler over Israel, 31 this will not [y]cause grief or a troubled heart to my lord, both by having shed blood without cause and by my lord having [z]avenged himself. When the Lord deals well with my lord, then remember your maidservant.”

32 Then David said to Abigail, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me, 33 and blessed be your discernment, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from [aa]bloodshed and from [ab]avenging myself by my own hand. 34 Nevertheless, as the Lord God of Israel lives, who has restrained me from harming you, unless you had come quickly to meet me, surely there would not have been left to Nabal until the morning light as much as one [ac]male.” 35 So David received from her hand what she had brought him and said to her, “Go up to your house in peace. See, I have listened to [ad]you and [ae]granted your request.” 36 Then Abigail came to Nabal, and behold, he was holding a feast in his house, like the feast of a king. And Nabal’s heart was merry within him, for he was very drunk; so she did not tell him anything [af]at all until the morning light. 37 But in the morning, when the wine had gone out of Nabal, his wife told him these things, and his heart died within him so that he became as a stone. 38 About ten days later, the Lord struck Nabal and he died.

The most interesting aspect about this story even though Abigail goes against the wishes of her husband is the way in which Abigail does it. Now, this type of action is on the complete opposite end of the spectrum that many advocate in the supposed scenario of a husband leading a wife into sin. Most of those who advocate disobedience if the husband is leading to sin never suggest that:

  • Prepares a gift and goes out to meet David
  • Gets down and bows to the ground (chaste and respectful attitude and actions)
  • Is willing to accept the blame for her husband’s actions
  • Tells of her ignorance for what happened
  • Offers the gift
  • Again asserts willingness to accept blame for the transgression
  • Begs for mercy over judgment
  • Points out that shedding blood, even justly, may cause grief

Giving a gift, having a humble, chaste and respectful heart, willingness to accept blame that is not hers, begging for mercy over judgment, and using facts to show how adding a weight to the soul is unnecessary are all good ways to show a heart for righteousness instead of evil.

Of course, those who advocate disobedience do not really have good intentions and are trying to undermine authority in the first place. It’s to be expected that they are advocating evil instead of righteousness.

Esther

The story of Esther is probably the best example of how to petition a husband that is a non-Christian [or disobedient to the Word.] First, we have the story of Vashti:

Esther 1:10 On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and Carkas, the seven eunuchs who served in the presence of King Ahasuerus, 11 to bring Queen Vashti before the king with her royal crown in order to display her beauty to the people and the princes, for she was beautiful. 12 But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command delivered by the eunuchs. Then the king became very angry and his wrath burned within him.

13 Then the king said to the wise men who understood the times—for it was the custom of the king so to speak before all who knew law and justice 14 and were close to him: Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media who [e]had access to the king’s presence and sat in the first place in the kingdom— 15 “According to law, what is to be done with Queen Vashti, because she did not [f]obey the command of King Ahasuerus delivered by the eunuchs?” 16 In the presence of the king and the princes, Memucan said, “Queen Vashti has wronged not only the king but also all the princes and all the peoples who are in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus. 17 For the queen’s conduct will [g]become known to all the women causing them [h]to look with contempt on their husbands by saying, ‘King Ahasuerus commanded Queen Vashti to be brought in to his presence, but she did not come.’ 18 This day the ladies of Persia and Media who have heard of the queen’s conduct will speak in the same way to all the king’s princes, and there will be plenty of contempt and anger. 19 If it pleases the king, let a royal [i]edict be issued by him and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media so that it cannot [j]be repealed, that Vashti may no longer come into the presence of King Ahasuerus, and let the king give her royal position to [k]another who is more worthy than she. 20 When the king’s edict which he will make is heard throughout all his kingdom, [l]great as it is, then all women will give honor to their husbands, great and small.”

21 This word pleased the king and the princes, and the king did [m]as Memucan proposed. 22 So he sent letters to all the king’s provinces, to each province according to its script and to every people according to their language, that every man should be the master in his own house and the one who speaks in the language of his own people.

Disobedient wives curry the anger and judgment of their husbands. Whether the king was right or wrong for wanting to display his wife’s beauty (whatever that meant) before his people, the fact that she was disobedient shows the vast majority of husbands will be in the face of a rebellious wife. Specifically, angry, discontent, wanting a righteous judgment, and the like. Is it no wonder that 1 Peter 3 speaks to wives to be:

 

  • Chaste Attitude
  • Respectful Attitude
  • Gentle Spirit
  • Quiet Spirit
  • Submissive [to their husbands]

However, we have Esther who is later promoted to be queen. She becomes queen, and then finds out about Haman’s plot against the Jews. She also knows that she will be breaking the laws of the land, or in other words sinning. The breaking the laws of the land and the punishment of sin are both death.

Esther 4:9 Hathach came back and related Mordecai’s words to Esther. 10 Then Esther spoke to Hathach and ordered him to reply to Mordecai: 11 “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that for any man or woman who comes to the king to the inner court who is not summoned, he has but one law, that he be put to death, unless the king holds out to him the golden scepter so that he may live. And I have not been summoned to come to the king for these thirty days.” 12 They related Esther’s words to Mordecai.

13 Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not imagine that you in the king’s palace can escape any more than all the Jews. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?”

15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, 16 “Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maidens also will fast in the same way. And thus I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish.” 17 So Mordecai went away and did just as Esther had commanded him.

Esther 5:1 Now it came about on the third day that Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king’s palace in front of the king’s [a]rooms, and the king was sitting on his royal throne in the [b]throne room, opposite the entrance to the palace. 2 When the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, she obtained favor in his sight; and the king extended to Esther the golden scepter which was in his hand. So Esther came near and touched the top of the scepter. 3 Then the king said to her, “What is troubling you, Queen Esther? And what is your request? Even to half of the kingdom it shall be given to you.” 4 Esther said, “If it pleases the king, may the king and Haman come this day to the banquet that I have prepared for him.”

5 Then the king said, “Bring Haman quickly that we may do [c]as Esther desires.” So the king and Haman came to the banquet which Esther had prepared. 6 [d]As they drank their wine at the banquet, the king said to Esther, “What is your petition, for it shall be granted to you. And what is your request? Even to half of the kingdom it shall be done.” 7 So Esther replied, “My petition and my request is: 8 if I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and do [e]what I request, may the king and Haman come to the banquet which I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do [f]as the king says.”

Esther 7:1 Now the king and Haman came to drink wine with Esther the queen. 2 And the king said to Esther on the second day also [a]as they drank their wine at the banquet, “What is your petition, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to half of the kingdom it shall be done.” 3 Then Queen Esther replied, “If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me as my petition, and my people as my request; 4 for we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed and to be annihilated. Now if we had only been sold as slaves, men and women, I would have remained silent, for the [b]trouble would not be commensurate with the [c]annoyance to the king.” 5 Then King Ahasuerus [d]asked Queen Esther, “Who is he, and where is he, [e]who would presume to do thus?” 6 Esther said, “A foe and an enemy is this wicked Haman!” Then Haman became terrified before the king and queen.

What is Esther’s righteous response?

  • Fasting for three days, and inviting others into her fast. I imagine they prayed as well.
  • Obeying proper protocol for approaching the king
  • Dressing up beautifully in her royal clothes
  • Coming to the king and not demanding anything but rather giving a banquet instead
  • Only after the banquet is underway does Esther present her request

She seeks God. She obeys proper etiquette. She makes herself beautiful. She thinks of giving before getting. She makes sure the king is happy with food and drink before requesting of him.

One last thing I want to note about Esther’s situation that I have thought about but never made a post on. “Equality” is such a major issue in our culture. However, what the king offers Esther because she pleased him is essentially equality: “Whatever you ask for up to half my kingdom.” Esther didn’t ask for it, but the king was willing to give it. Wives win their husband’s hearts through doing what the Scriptures say not demanding it.

Headship as a covering

The purpose of headship as authority and as the patriarchy is to protect wives and women. Headship and authority in the respect of those under it can be thought of as a covering of protection around them. Indeed, the blood of Jesus is a protective covering around us that shields us from the judgment that we are supposed to receive from our sin, and instead we receive Jesus’ mercy.

Numbers 30:1 Then Moses spoke to the heads of the tribes of the sons of Israel, saying, “This is the word which the Lord has commanded. 2 If a man makes a vow to the Lord, or takes an oath to bind himself with a binding obligation, he shall not violate his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.

3 “Also if a woman makes a vow to the Lord, and binds herself by an obligation in her father’s house in her youth, 4 and her father hears her vow and her obligation by which she has bound herself, and her father [a]says nothing to her, then all her vows shall stand and every obligation by which she has bound herself shall stand. 5 But if her father should forbid her on the day he hears of it, none of her vows or her obligations by which she has bound herself shall stand; and the Lord will forgive her because her father had forbidden her.

6 “However, if she should [b]marry while [c]under her vows or the rash statement of her lips by which she has bound herself, 7 and her husband hears of it and says nothing to her on the day he hears it, then her vows shall stand and her obligations by which she has bound herself shall stand. 8 But if on the day her husband hears of it, he forbids her, then he shall annul her vow which [d]she is under and the rash statement of her lips by which she has bound herself; and the Lord will forgive her.

9 “But the vow of a widow or of a divorced woman, everything by which she has bound herself, shall stand against her. 10 However, if she vowed in her husband’s house, or bound herself by an obligation with an oath, 11 and her husband heard it, but said nothing to her and did not forbid her, then all her vows shall stand and every obligation by which she bound herself shall stand. 12 But if her husband indeed annuls them on the day he hears them, then whatever proceeds out of her lips concerning her vows or concerning the obligation of herself shall not stand; her husband has annulled them, and the Lord will forgive her.

13 “Every vow and every binding oath to humble herself, her husband may confirm it or her husband may annul it. 14 But if her husband indeed says nothing to her from day to day, then he confirms all her vows or all her obligations which are on her; he has confirmed them, because he said nothing to her on the day he heard them. 15 But if he indeed annuls them after he has heard them, then he shall bear her guilt.”

The protective nature of headship is shown clearly in the Law of Moses. Men, widows, and divorced wives are all held accountable to themselves and under the binding of their vows. If a daughter or wife acts rashly with a vow, the father or husband respectively can overrule it before it becomes binding. The husband can annul them after he hears them and allowed them to slide, but he will bear her guilt instead. This is one of the fundamental mischaracterizations of patriarchy and headship. The reason why it’s there is not meant to limit or hold back. Rather, the reason why it’s there is to act as a protection. The important point is this. If a wife disobeys her husband she steps outside of the bounds of his God-given protective authority. When she does this she heaps the nature of judgment for her decision solely onto herself. However, if she obeys even in sin then the blame falls onto the husband and not her like the situation with Abraham, Sarah, and Pharaoh and Abimelech. This is why saying a wife should disobey her husband even if he leads her into sin is precarious advice. A wife that does so heaps judgment onto herself because she is walking out from the protective covering over her.

Conclusions

I’ll reiterate the previous section because it’s important realize the consequences for decisions that involve rebellion.

If a wife disobeys her husband she steps outside of the bounds of his God-given protective authority. When she does this she heaps the nature of judgment for her decision solely onto herself. However, if she obeys even in sin then the blame falls onto the husband and not her like the situation with Abraham, Sarah, and Pharaoh and Abimelech.

This is why saying a wife should disobey her husband even if he leads her into sin is precarious advice. A wife that does so heaps judgment onto herself because she is walking out from the protective covering over her.

There are quite a few righteous ways to approach situations in which a wife may need to petition her husband, especially if she is played in a sinful or no-win situation.

Sarah — Obedience to her husband even in his sinful lies. She is delivered by God Himself and is commended for her faith and obedience in Abraham in 1 Peter 3. Has a chaste and respectful attitude, a gentle and quiet spirit, and is submissive to her husband.

Abigail — Goes against her husbands wishes. However, prepares and gives a gift to the one who presides over her judgment, explains her ignorance, declares her willingness to accept blame for her husband’s actions twice, begs for mercy over judgment, and presents a reasonable argument for why judgment is worse than mercy. God honors her.

Esther — Fasts and likely prays for 3 days. Obeys the proper protocol for approaching the king. Makes herself beautiful. Prepares to give first rather than receive and request. Makes sure her husband is happy and satisfied with food and drink before she makes a request.

As you can see, there is no real “one size fits all” way that wives in the Scripture can petition their husbands or their accusers. However, in each various example every wife was commended for the righteous way they approached the situation. You’ll notice many of the themes are:

  • Chaste Attitude
  • Respectful Attitude
  • Gentle/Humble Spirit
  • Quiet Spirit
  • Submissive [to their husbands]
  • Willing to accept blame that is not theirs
  • Begging for mercy over judgment
  • Presenting reasonable arguments
  • Making themselves beautiful for their husband
  • Focus on giving rather than receiving
  • Ensure that the husband’s needs are met before asking

All of these can be traced back to the heart. The heart of the wife is not set against the husband but rather for him. She is looking to please him and not go against him even if the situation was sinful.

The goal of a wife in each situation is not to do the right actions (e.g. not sin) because there multiple righteous paths. Even Sarah who walked in Abraham’s sin was commended for her righteousness and obedience and delivered by God. The goal is to win hearts for God through the example of the fruits of the Spirit and righteous behavior.

 

 

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47 Responses to How do wives petition or win their husbands

  1. Pingback: How do wives petition or win their husbands | Manosphere.com

  2. Samuel E. Hancock says:

    What you have written is a priceless outline of the way a Christian woman is to act towards her husband. Sadly today, most pastors and churches will not condone this as a proper attitude. They have been co-opted either by the feminist mind-set or the rampant secularism of the world. But allow me to add that a God fearing husband who loves his wife is not going to compromise her standing by asking / demanding that she sin against Him.

  3. Randy says:

    There is another scenario, likely far-fetched: the case where a woman wants to use submission as an excuse for sinful behavior she desires anyway. (If she manipulates her husband into “leading” her into the desirable sin, we’re back to rebellion.) The case I am envisioning is the husband leading the wife into sin that the wife finds desirable and agreeable. While I agree with the husband’s greater culpability in this case as well, is the wife covered because of her submission, or accountable for her embrace of the sin?

  4. @ Randy

    There is another scenario, likely far-fetched: the case where a woman wants to use submission as an excuse for sinful behavior she desires anyway. (If she manipulates her husband into “leading” her into the desirable sin, we’re back to rebellion.) The case I am envisioning is the husband leading the wife into sin that the wife finds desirable and agreeable. While I agree with the husband’s greater culpability in this case as well, is the wife covered because of her submission, or accountable for her embrace of the sin?

    Full accountability. That would appear to the case with Ananias and Sapphira. Sapphira had full knowledge of the deceitful acts and blatantly lied about it herself.

    Acts 5:1 But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2 and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife’s [a]full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? 4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not [b]under your control? Why is it that you have [c]conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” 5 And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last; and great fear came over all who heard of it. 6 The young men got up and covered him up, and after carrying him out, th, esey buried him.

    7 Now there elapsed an interval of about three hours, and his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter responded to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land [d]for such and such a price?” And she said, “Yes, [e]that was the price.” 9 Then Peter said to her, “Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out as well.” 10 And immediately she fell at his feet and breathed her last, and the young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 And great fear came over the whole church, and over all who heard of these things.

    Note the attitude and heart are in stark contrast to the three examples in the OP, especially Abraham and Sarah. They basically wanted to show how “generous” they are to the Church with their money. It’s not unlike the Pharisees.

  5. Randy says:

    Ah. I suspected it would still be determined by her heart in the matter. I agree. Good exposition, thanks!

  6. Dragonfly says:

    This is great DS… very thorough and I love how you talk about multiple women getting it right in different scenarios.

    I looked more into Abigail over Thanksgiving this year, and it was wonderful to really study her response and actions! http://girlwithadragonflytattoo.com/2015/11/29/abigail-the-scandalous-wife/
    http://girlwithadragonflytattoo.com/2015/11/27/abigail-the-heart-of-the-matter/

    If we ever have a daughter, these biblical women and their examples are going to be fun and wonderful stories to relate to them.

  7. Marie says:

    This makes submission even more confusing for me.

  8. gunner451 says:

    Love for my wife to read this but she consistantly refuses to read what I suggest but rather reads ALL those Christian feminist authors. Needless to say my life is a living hell.

  9. Dragonfly says:

    Marie, what is confusing to you about submission?

  10. donalgraeme says:

    As before, we are in disagreement on this DS. Your position leads to some logical absurdities if carried to its natural conclusion. For example, if a husband were to tell his wife to stop being a Christian- and thus no longer carry out what is mentioned in 1 Peter 3. In that situation, how is she supposed to win him over?

    Set aside how likely (or unlikely) this is. It isn’t about probabilities, it is about logical soundness. And that position just isn’t logically sound.

    The logical conclusion (and Church teaching on the matter) is that a wife is to be obedient in all piety to her husband- that is, she is to obey unless the husband asks her to commit a clear mortal sin.

    The reason she is obedient to her husband is out of obedience to God. Violating the latter, to serve the former, makes no sense. Further, there are plenty of scriptural examples of those who were under authority who disobeyed because they were ordered to disobey God.

    And, in anticipation of the always brought up point- no, the wife does not decide what is and isn’t a sin. The Church does.

  11. Marie says:

    Ds states that it’s a red herring argument to ponder whether or not a wife should obey if her husband has commanded her to sin. He states a good Christian man won’t do that. I’d argue that doesn’t matter. Any man is a sinner and capable of choosing to walk away from God. They have free will. So it’s not so much a question of will he, but could he. And the answer is yes, he could ask his wife to sin. Now I’m not talking about something the wife feels is sinful, but something actually wrong like an abortion, three way (Sarah’s daughter has a post about a husband who asked that). God never says “obey unto everything and if it’s sin I will always deliver you and always place the blame on the man.” With Sarah he did, but sapphira he didn’t. What was sapphira supposed to do? Make sure she disagrees? Acts 5:4 states Ananias conceived the deed in his heart, not both of them. So as I understand the writers position sapphira would have been saved had she made known to her husband she disagreed but obeyed anyway?

    And Abigail is a really confusing example. She lies and takes full responsibility. You can call that sacrificial and I’ll agree that’s noble. But she knew her husband said no and did it anyway. She didn’t obey into sin. She disobeyed and eve called her husband worthless (v25). That’s pretty disrespectful. So is this a proper response only because she sought to save her husband, even though she was disrespectful and disobedient?

    It seems that from this post, the only thing that matters is the wife’s attitude and heart. It’s not so much that she obeys unto everything but that as long as she is truly trying to please God she is ok. Which seems like a feminized version of submission and why it’s often confusing. Cane has a post on why no one needs to teach submission and I’d argue they clearly do.

    My husband expects submission unless it’s a sin. Luckily for me he’s easygoing and fantastic. But here’s an example, my husband likes to family plan. I think birth control is wrong but not necessarily a sin so I submit. So which example fits? Number 1, I obeyed God will deal with my husband if bc is a sin? 2. I should pray, if it is a sin, then I should disobey my husband and it’s ok because my heart is wanting to please God, or three, obey but I had better know it’s a sin, state such and obey and then I’ll be ok?

  12. Dragonfly says:

    Marie, you have great points and questions! What I have to offer may or may not be helpful for you, but I’ll try to answer some of them from my perspective so take it as you will. I don’t know everything or all situations so my advice or words may not always apply to what you may be thinking of.

    “Ds states that it’s a red herring argument to ponder whether or not a wife should obey if her husband has commanded her to sin. He states a good Christian man won’t do that. I’d argue that doesn’t matter. Any man is a sinner and capable of choosing to walk away from God. They have free will. So it’s not so much a question of will he, but could he. And the answer is yes, he could ask his wife to sin”

    ^^I think you’re right on here, everyone has free will, and a Christian husband may very well ask his wife to sin. There are so many instances where this could happen, even though he is or was a good man. The “could he” is very valid and should be brought up.

    “Now I’m not talking about something the wife feels is sinful, but something actually wrong like an abortion, three way (Sarah’s daughter has a post about a husband who asked that). God never says “obey unto everything and if it’s sin I will always deliver you and always place the blame on the man.” With Sarah he did, but sapphira he didn’t. What was sapphira supposed to do? Make sure she disagrees? Acts 5:4 states Ananias conceived the deed in his heart, not both of them. So as I understand the writers position sapphira would have been saved had she made known to her husband she disagreed but obeyed anyway?”

    ^^Yes, Christian husbands have asked their wive’s to have abortions – it’s happened when a couple isn’t financially ready for a baby, I’ve known one example of this personally, and it devastated their marriage afterward. And because of the abortion, the wife became infertile. So they were never able to have children after that sin, which just points to the fact that abortions are risky, and can sometimes cause infertility. There are other women who had abortions that didn’t become infertile right afterward as well. I love SD’s blog and have rarely seen anything I disagree with from her posts, but I admit I haven’t read the one you’re talking about.

    I do think if Sapphira hadn’t outright lied when asked, she would have been spared from the actions of her husband. The difference between her and Abigail is that Abigail didn’t condone or play along with Nabal’s foolish insults and actions toward David, whereas Sapphira did play along.

    “And Abigail is a really confusing example. She lies and takes full responsibility. You can call that sacrificial and I’ll agree that’s noble. But she knew her husband said no and did it anyway. She didn’t obey into sin. She disobeyed and eve called her husband worthless (v25). That’s pretty disrespectful. So is this a proper response only because she sought to save her husband, even though she was disrespectful and disobedient?”

    I wouldn’t say that Abigail necessarily “lied,” but that she may have earnestly felt that she wanted the blame transferred to her, so that she could do something about it, to make it up to David and his men, which she followed through on, making it up to them very well! Read my posts on Abigail, I try to explain it there more in depth and hopefully that will help clear up your confusion. I also talk about what she said about her husband, and how it was actually a grace to him to credit to him that he was just a “fool.” This was so that David would not have innocent blood on his hands at the provocation of a worthless Proverbial fool like Nabal. I think my posts will really help you understand why a fool like that is not to be even listened to, much less responded to.

    “It seems that from this post, the only thing that matters is the wife’s attitude and heart. It’s not so much that she obeys unto everything but that as long as she is truly trying to please God she is ok. Which seems like a feminized version of submission and why it’s often confusing. Cane has a post on why no one needs to teach submission and I’d argue they clearly do.”

    lol… of course submission is needed to be taught, it is part of God’s instructions for older women to instruct the younger wives in this and other wifely duties. There is much good that comes from a godly female mentor that can advise you to submit to your husband and honor him in your marriage like Sarah did. Cane frequently says things that I don’t think he thinks through enough to even know what he’s talking about, I would be extremely cautious taking any advice from him when he’s clearly going against biblical instructions and wisdom in several areas of thought. It is dangerous to broadcast like he does that submission shouldn’t be taught. It is obvious to anyone with discernment that he is wrong. Elisabeth Elliot, someone I suppose Cane thinks he is wiser than, frequently talked about a wife’s role and submission and true femininity. Her daughter did as well. April from The Peaceful Wife also has very good posts if your interested in learning more about what submission is and what it isn’t. It is biblical and good, and brings truth to many women when they understand the issue more. Many women didn’t have the luxury of a wonderful mother to teach them this crucial aspect of marriage, so God uses these older “spiritual mothers” to help mentor them into greater godliness for their husbands’ and children’s benefit!

    “My husband expects submission unless it’s a sin. Luckily for me he’s easygoing and fantastic. But here’s an example, my husband likes to family plan. I think birth control is wrong but not necessarily a sin so I submit. So which example fits? Number 1, I obeyed God will deal with my husband if bc is a sin? 2. I should pray, if it is a sin, then I should disobey my husband and it’s ok because my heart is wanting to please God, or three, obey but I had better know it’s a sin, state such and obey and then I’ll be ok?”

    You’re blessed to have a wonderful husband then! Birth control is a tricky topic, and it may fall into being a Romans 14 issue where certain people feel convicted that it is sin, and certain people don’t. This is why it is EXTREMELY important to talk about those issues before marriage, so that one doesn’t find themselves either going against their own conscience or having a wedge in their marriage that can build up resentment. It’s important for the husband and wife to know what they believe concerning birth control before they ever have to use it, that way their marriage isn’t possibly hindered or even ruined by it. I think, in your case, it’s beautiful that you don’t allow it to hinder your marriage, and I’m thankful you don’t think it’s a sin so that your husband would be asking you to violate your conscience. I personally don’t think it’s a sin, certain kinds that cause abortion or those that allow for fertilization and then aborts the new conception, yes! Those are taking life! But normal birth control that prevents conception from occurring, or even natural family planning, which is a form of birth control believe it or not, (I think) is responsible and showing good wisdom over what resources you do have in order to take care of children well.

  13. Looking Glass says:

    I don’t have time to read or respond to most of it, but 2 points.

    1) Abigail wasn’t going against Nabal’s wishes. It’s a subtle point, but the shearers would have been hired help and wouldn’t have, likely, been at the feast later. Abigail very specifically took food & animals that were for household use and part of the feast that Nabal was going to hold that night. These supplies would have also been under his direct control, especially as she very clearly had a household staff.

    So while we like to toss up Abigail as an example of discernment, it’s far too often missed what she actually was discerning. She took what was hers to present to honored guests and gave it to David as a “peace offering”.

    2) On the King & Vashti, what’s often missed is that the King royally messed up in the situation he created for himself. He put Vashti in a position to reject his Authority, and as pointed out in the story, he was in the early years of his reign. If he doesn’t have control of his Queen, he’s going to be dead very quickly. Plus, the Queen sets the standards for all of the wives of the Nobles. Which is why they responded as they did.

    But note that Vashti almost ensured her own death by her actions. The King actually chose the only course of action that wouldn’t get her dead. Either he could have had her executed himself or her actions would have ensured both of their deaths in a coup. When dealing with everything from the time 1 Samuel 9 onward, it’s important to remember that Power Politics can never be forgotten. It dictates most of the actions people take.

  14. @ Donal

    The logical conclusion (and Church teaching on the matter) is that a wife is to be obedient in all piety to her husband- that is, she is to obey unless the husband asks her to commit a clear mortal sin.

    The reason she is obedient to her husband is out of obedience to God. Violating the latter, to serve the former, makes no sense. Further, there are plenty of scriptural examples of those who were under authority who disobeyed because they were ordered to disobey God.

    And, in anticipation of the always brought up point- no, the wife does not decide what is and isn’t a sin. The Church does.

    My main conclusion is that God cares about the heart state more than the actions. I think this is amply supported by Scripture in the fact that God judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

    Take Nazi Germany as an example.

    1. Is it right to lie to save Jewish lives?
    2. Is it right for a husband to tell his wife to lie to save Jewish lives?
    3. Is it right for a husband to tell his wife not to lie and give up the Jews to the Nazis.

    We have a Biblical example of Obadiah hiding 100 prophets of God from Ahab and Jezebel.

    I think it’s an obvious situation where the Church and the vast majority of Christians would say it is right to lie to save a life under a murderous dictatorship. The intent of the heart to save lives — or rather to honor God by saving lives — is greater than the lie. God judges the heart not the action.

    However, the problem of “moral dilemmas” is that we don’t exactly know what would happen even if the husband or wife gave up the Jews. Maybe the the allies would conduct a raid and save prisoners on the way to the concentration camp. Maybe the soldier in charge of driving them to the concentration camp loses control of the car and crashes and the prisoners escape and evade the Nazis. That’s the reason why there are various examples in the Scriptures which go both ways for wifely submission in sin: to disobey and obey and hope in God.

    Would the Church call what Sarah did — going along with Abraham’s lies/treachery — righteous? If not, then why is she commended as the paragon of righteousness for what she did?

  15. @ Marie

    Ds states that it’s a red herring argument to ponder whether or not a wife should obey if her husband has commanded her to sin. He states a good Christian man won’t do that. I’d argue that doesn’t matter. Any man is a sinner and capable of choosing to walk away from God. They have free will. So it’s not so much a question of will he, but could he. And the answer is yes, he could ask his wife to sin.

    The reason it is a red herring is that it is always brought up and causes wives to live in irrational fear which leads to a lack of trust in their relationships. Why should wives be “worrying about tomorrow” when it is simply not the case for most Christian wives to be lead in or commanded to sin by their Christian husbands? It brings up “what if” questions in a wife’s mind when instead they should be focusing on godliness. Make sense?

    A good response would simply be: “If a situation comes up that is questionable then pray, fast, and seek godly counsel. Otherwise, you should not be worrying about “what ifs” as they lead to a lack of trust in your relationship.”

    Now I’m not talking about something the wife feels is sinful, but something actually wrong like an abortion, three way (Sarah’s daughter has a post about a husband who asked that). God never says “obey unto everything and if it’s sin I will always deliver you and always place the blame on the man.” With Sarah he did, but sapphira he didn’t. What was sapphira supposed to do? Make sure she disagrees? Acts 5:4 states Ananias conceived the deed in his heart, not both of them. So as I understand the writers position sapphira would have been saved had she made known to her husband she disagreed but obeyed anyway?

    I addressed that earlier up thread.

    And Abigail is a really confusing example. She lies and takes full responsibility. You can call that sacrificial and I’ll agree that’s noble. But she knew her husband said no and did it anyway. She didn’t obey into sin. She disobeyed and eve called her husband worthless (v25). That’s pretty disrespectful. So is this a proper response only because she sought to save her husband, even though she was disrespectful and disobedient?

    Abigail, by taking blame, saves not only her husband’s life but all of the males in the household who are innocent as well.

    Regarding the “disrepect.” You have to take into account the difference between truth and lies and how they interact with discernment. For example, we often don’t say things that are true about other people because it’s gossip. However, there is a time and place to talk about truth regardless of feelings.

    It seems that from this post, the only thing that matters is the wife’s attitude and heart. It’s not so much that she obeys unto everything but that as long as she is truly trying to please God she is ok. Which seems like a feminized version of submission and why it’s often confusing. Cane has a post on why no one needs to teach submission and I’d argue they clearly do.

    I can see how you got to this idea, but I don’t think you read the conclusion that in depth. As I noted in the conclusion, godly submission manifests to represent many different fruits of the Spirit:

    Chaste, respectful, gentle/humble, quiet, submissive, giving rather than receiving, taking blame, meeting husband’s needs, etc. The heart of the wife is for her husband and not against him.

    If you are a person who would not obey if it’s clear sin then take a page out of the book of what servants who were commanded to do something by their masters and needed to refuse:

    “I can’t do this, my lord. Is there anything else I can do instead to please you?”

    As you can see, such a response is respectful, willing to give, willing to obey, but it also notes that it violates the conscience of the servant.

    A rebellious heart would question, make it clear that they are disobeying, and not even attempt to find another way to obey or submit to authority:

    “Why are you telling me to sin? I’m not going to do that because it’s wrong.”

    That should clear up the confusion. Consider how an authority — not just a husband — would respond to the first statement versus this one. I would expect in most circumstances that the first one would be a lot more gracious while the second one would kindle anger and judgment.

    My point is that a right heart manifests a righteous response filled with the fruits of the Spirit in any situation whether refusal or not.

  16. @ Donal

    That said, I think a good default response is one that doesn’t compromise with sin. As I posted later in the thread:

    If you are a person who would not obey if it’s clear sin then take a page out of the book of what servants who were commanded to do something by their masters and needed to refuse:

    “I can’t do this, my lord. Is there anything else I can do instead to please you?”

    Such a response indicates submissiveness, respect,, humbleness, and agreeableness which is going to be looked on more graciously than someone who just outright refuses and questions.

  17. Marie says:

    DS and DF, thanks for responding. It does make it more clear. I’m struggling more because I have a daughter and although only a year old I want to teach her and I know it’s not enough to rely on her watching my actions towards her dad. I don’t know what type of man she’ll marry and submission might be a harder subject or not as easy as it is for me.

  18. @ Marie

    I think the vast majority of the “worry” can be mitigated by marrying another Christian. Drilling home the fact that faith is more important than any other type of thing like looks or personality mitigates the issue to such a large extent that it’s negligible.

    All of the cases where I’ve heard that a wife is put to the test by a husband is if she married a non-Christian or she became a Christian during the marriage. If she walked into a marriage with a non-believer then she is setting herself up for hardships.

  19. donalgraeme says:

    My main conclusion is that God cares about the heart state more than the actions. I think this is amply supported by Scripture in the fact that God judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

    You won’t find me disagreeing. But at the same time, I don’t see where your point refutes mine. After all, if someone loves the Lord their God with all their heart, all their soul and all their mind, I don’t see how they would want to commit a mortal sin- ever. Being under authority to someone else would not change that desire.

    You mention the Nazis… well, since the Godwin card has already been played, let me take a stab. Many Nazi soldiers after the war claimed they shouldn’t be prosecuted for war crimes because they were “following orders.” Does the fact they were following orders excuse them? Under my book, no. An order to commit a moral sin is without authority- after all, mortal authority is derives from divine authority, which has greater precedence and comes first in terms of a hierarchy.

    Again, I agree with this:

    God judges the heart not the action.

    But if you leave it up to the heart, then you create the potential for a lot of confusion- the same act, taken by two different people, could a sin for one and not a sin for the other. And more importantly, there would be no way to know it- after all, only God can tell the heart.

    Your approach can only lead to chaos and confusion DS. And we know from St. Paul that ours is a faith of order.

    Further, regarding Sarah- I’m not sure that any of her actions amount to a moral sin. The real issue in that situation wasn’t whether Abram was asking Sarah to sin- it was asking her to go along in a potentially risky situation. She trusted in the Lord, and obeyed her husband despite the risks. This is why she is considered righteous.

  20. donalgraeme says:

    That said, I think a good default response is one that doesn’t compromise with sin.

    I don’t think that is a “good default response”, it is the only response. Christians aren’t to compromise with sin- period. As St. Paul explains in Ephesians 5:

    Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

  21. @ Donal

    Eh, if we’re strictly speaking about moral dilemmas then a moral dilemma is a false dilemma the vast majority of the time.

    Take the Nazi officers. Their only options are not: (1) go along with it or (2) don’t go along with it. They also have the option to (3) resign or (4) request to move to a different unit or other things that would not violate morals.

    Regardless, for the masses I agree with your position. However, I would still say it’s more nuanced than it appears to be, but not everyone will acquire the knowledge. As a best practice, like marriage, it would be to say to refuse things that violate the conscience just as if covenant marriage is explained then there is no divorce period.

  22. Pedat Ebediyah says:

    @Marie @Dragonfly

    I don’t think Cane is saying that submission shouldn’t be taught. That would be absurd.

    He is not alone in saying that the PROBLEM with women teaching submission is that quite often they teach the CAVEATS instead of teaching the proper attitude and heart condition.

    Seriously, look at what DS is saying when he’s encouraging you to not sweat the Red Herrings, but it seems like you did so any whole how. He’s saying that for a reason, because women too often sweat the Red Herrings, and so when when TEACH submission, it’s like they are trying to convince other women that submission might compromise them, which is a bunch of phooey.

    And again, if you’ve read what DS has been sharing with us, it’s the ATTITUDE of the belief that informs their behavior.

    To some degree it can lead to a bit of childishness and indicate some faithlessness as well. It’s like me telling my daughter she needs to take her cough medicine and she says, “okay, but it BETTER taste good Daddy. or I’m not gonna take it next time”.

    I love you guys…just saying. When you teach other women about submission, just discern whether or not they have irrational fears and a lack of faith in the Lord, which is essentially what it boils down to.

  23. Dragonfly says:

    Pedat, my husband and I read his post and it’s crazy the statements he makes. He not only says that submission “shouldn’t be taught,” he states that it literally “can’t” be taught because there’s “nothing” to teach about it. He is dangerously far off from biblical wisdom, and is possibly deceiving people or leading them to stray away from Truth in this subject.

    “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” James 3:1

    When we teach things that are deceptive and not founded in biblical truth, we will be judged harsher than believers who don’t say anything authoritative on the topic. His post reads authoritative and unfortunately extremely ignorant. That’s a bad combination obviously. His post falls into the category of false teaching.

    From Cane:
    “Women don’t need to learn how to be the good wife… The imperative–what a wife must do–is obey her husband, raise her children, and run her household well and with honor. That’s it. If she does those things she will become more and more like Proverbs 31 Wife even if she is totally ignorant of that model.”

    ^This is very ignorant of the fact that many women don’t have a good example or a good mother, and need someone to teach them what is important to God in their role of wife and mother. Women are not like Rey in that they should just know the force without any kind of training. Becoming a woman of God is a difficult process. Even for April the Peaceful Wife, this took 15 years to understand and implement! During those years, she talks about how her marriage suffered. She laments the goodness and the gifts she missed out on due to not understanding biblical submission.

    We often do need to be taught by older wiser women, we are naturally rebellious just like men are, and wives have set backs and failures in this area… this knowledge of “how to be the good wife” doesn’t just come to us easily like he implies, even the Bible speaks about older women teaching and instructing women, and has many examples for women to follow for that purpose, so that they can study and understand. A woman leaning on her own understanding and her own biblical study to just “know” these things can be more dangerous for her than a woman gaining godly instruction from someone else.

    Cane:
    “Wives don’t have to learn “how to be submissive”; they just have to decide not to rebel. You literally cannot learn nothing, and anyone who tries to teach submission (the absence of rebellions, e.g. nothing) with caveats is therefore only teaching the caveats; the ways of rebellion that sound legitimate.”

    ^Again, just irrational reasoning, and conceit in saying that anyone who even tries to teach submission is only teaching the caveats. That is a blatant lie that anyone who teaches submission is teaching “nothing” or nothing of importance for women, and casts a negative reputation over all the good women who do teach this and teach it well.

    Cane:
    “Most of the women who write on submission should shut up about that, and write about how to run a household, and how to care for children.”

    ^LOL if women don’t understand submission and respecting/honoring her husband (which is a huge part of that) and understand what behaviors are the opposite of that (which is the bulk of that kind of writing), then no matter how nice her house looks, what advice she gets from reading about parenting, her marriage will be in shambles. Her husband and children will not benefit spiritually from her lack of understanding “how to be a good wife.” Again, many young wives are confused about headship and submission, and about behaviors that are really rebellious – the only thing that often brings them out of this confusion, is hearing another, wiser woman come along and teach them what is rebellious or actually disrespectful. It’s often very convicting for them, because in this day and age, we are so deceived with the feminist mutual submission teachings that are common to hear. A wife coming from a mutual submission perspective, that thinks her husband needs to choreplay etc. really does need to be taught what is rebellious and disrespectful because she has been previously taught all wrong. I’ve seen the difference, Pedat, in women when they learn this… their entire marriage is changed for the better and it’s like scales fall from their eyes. Teaching on submission is crucial, even though Cane completely . I just counseled a woman in this subject this last week. Her entire marriage situation, which was in crisis, was turned around!!! Her husband, which she said had hate in his eyes when he would look at her, completely did a 180 when she started being submissive and respectful and kind to him. It was beautiful. So I’m sorry, but his post is wrong and very false in this aspect.

  24. Elspeth says:

    I’m probably gonna regret this, and Cane Caldo certainly doesn’t need defending from me, but I’m going to jump in here as I have come full circle with respect to women setting ourselves up as formal teachers of women on a mass scale for the purposes of teaching submission.

    I have also had the opportunity to stop a wife from doing something stupid. I’ve had the opportunity to help another wife learn to treat her husband with deference and respect. Both of these were a huge big deal at the time to the wives in question. The difference was that both of these wives (one older, one younger) know me and my husband personally. One had watched me love and honor my husband when a lot of other wives would have been compelled to flex and show their man what they “ain’t gonna take from no man”.

    I have read a lot of Titus 2 mentoring blogs. I have authored 3 myself. And I’m including myself here when I say that I have only ever ran across ONE woman writing such a blog where I didn’t detect a hint of vanity, self-glorification, know it all self-righteousness, or preaching actual Scriptures in a way that undermines other husband’s authority.

    I absolutely believe we can and should encourage other women to do the right thing, spur one another on to good works, as that is a responsibility of every believer. But I am firmly in the camp that says women should not set ourselves up as teachers of other women. Period. Elizabeth Elliot wrote books. That is an entirely different animal from what we have now with the advent of the Internet where any woman can start writing and set herself up as an authority. Titus 2 is quite specific about the qualifications required to even be considered a mentor of other women in the first place.

    More than that, I too believe that it is very hard to teach submission in this format. It gives way to either: 1) teaching caveats, and 2) undermining husbands’ authority as women draw hard lines about what Scripture means in areas that should be left to the husband’s discretion. But the third and most damaging thing we do (particularly in this format) is set ourselves up as a temptation to other women’s husbands, undermining their wives whether we intend to or not. By temptation I don’t necessarily mean sexually, although that can be part of it. We hurt some women under the guise of helping other women.

    Lastly, but certainly not least, I believe Titus 2 is not about formal ministry but that those of us who have figured out some things are to model right living, right wifehood, right mothering before the women around us. We don’t need to set up virtual cathedrals. If they see something in us, people will ask us anyway without needing to broadcast it. I’ve learned more from hands on instruction than I ever have from being talked at anyway, as is the case with most people. Some of the best conversations I’ve had with my girls have been in the kitchen, while doing something constructive.

    James warns us that we will be held to a higher standard at the judgment when we sit in the seat of teacher of God’s people. I figured out that this is the LAST thing I needed so I asked God to beg my pardon, allow me to plant seeds that He can water as He sees fit, and leave it at that.

  25. Pedat Ebediyah says:

    @Elspeth.

    Word to the “virtual cathedrals” line of thinking.

    I think you and I have confabbed before about how I don’t see the “hands on” thing with women in my circles…hell, even in my City…and if so, I don’t see a lot of fruit of Titus 2 mentoring up in here. In fact, the women I do know who could put some of the women up on good godly game often are heard saying, “you can’t tell these girls anything, they don’t listen”.

    Nonetheless, on one hand I think it’s fantastic that there are women out here trying to guide other women into the Fathers right ways, but it’s not unlike blogs for men where I’ve also seen “doubtful disputations” creep in.

    Also, I’m humbly bowing out of the discussion about Cane. I dig that brother and how he flows, and am gonna keep his name outta my mouth when he’s not around. His sentiments on what women should and shouldn’t do are those I took as concession and not commandment, and is not worth anyone getting all in their feelings about…and that’s all I’ll say about that.

  26. Looking Glass says:

    I want to be able to read all of this discussion and respond, but I’m not going to have the energy for that for a while. But let me add something while I have a chance.

    No amount of Wisdom will let you get through to people that do not want to listen. You can only teach those willing to learn. And most Christians would be well advised to shut their traps and actually learn. This goes doubly to most Christian Women. In the Land of the Blind, the One-eyed Man still has no depth perception.

    On the bigger discussion, the core of the issue is this: Whom do you Follow? Every choice you make reflects where your Heart is. So the issue for a Wife is not the details of Submission; it is the Choice to follow God by following her own Husband. Where the theoretical slamming up of commands may exist is where all of those Choices made in the years prior will be born out. When the decisions are hard, God is there. If one has not cultivated themselves within the Lord in the time before those hard decisions arise, one will not know the Voice and will not know what God wants them to choose. (This is a general principle for a Christian, but it’s always relevant to this discussion.)

    This is why I talked about this topic in the way I did over at Dalrock’s. I wanted to make a longer response to MrTeebs, but I haven’t had the energy. For a Christian Wife, you have made your choice to follow God and your Husband. See with the full energy you have available that you possess that you set yourself each day set to that task. All of the benefits of the Spirit of the Lord will flow from there. Because this is not a problem of Theology, it is a problem of the Heart. Because the Heart is dishonest and the process of self-rationalization is what most Women do not want to fight. Since to fight the Heart is to find a place of Honesty with the Lord, and that will sunder the flesh in ways that simply are not easily described.

    And that strangling of Honesty is why the Apostle Paul was inspired to write & act as he did. It takes a faithful Woman a lifetime to learn to keep that part of her Heart under control.

  27. Dragonfly says:

    Elisabeth Elliot and her daughter both did a lot more than just write books, they also used videos you can find online with specific helpful instructions for other women, gave talks, and met individually with women who didn’t know them personally at all, in order to teach them how to live their life in a godly *feminine* manner. You don’t need a personal relationship in order to teach someone truth. People criticized both of them as well, especially Valerie (her daughter) for appearing “too perfect,” even though they both helped many women become better wives and mothers. We are not here to try to win the favor of people, there will always be critics that don’t like a person’s style, but that’s not the final word on if God is using them or not.

    God knows the heart and I believe it’s not our place to judge whether or not women are doing good unless they’re actually teaching something unbiblical or false, then it *may* be good to point it out to them or when someone is confused (like Marie was about Cane’s post). Also, it does not require some kind of personal, blood-relationship, or for a woman to be post-menopausal for teaching to “work.”

    And there is nothing I know of that says women can’t use anything other than their books to help teach other women, or that online blogs should be forsaken. I’ve also read many blogs that seem to be Titus 2 women kind of blogs, and I’ve personally received so much blessing from those women, even healing. They are all different, and they all come across in vastly different backgrounds, they all have their own flaws as well. I don’t think it’s my place to be so judgmental on critiquing everything about them in order to see if they’re qualified to be teaching other women.

    No one is perfect, and to expect that is nuts, even from a teacher/mentor, they all have sins. But to expect a teacher to try their very best to teach the truth is reasonable though, and not at all the same thing as being expecting them to meet our expectations of being “perfect.” We all need God, and we all fail in many ways, but that does not mean that because some people teach mutual submission or “caveats to submission,” that submission “can’t” or “shouldn’t” be taught at all.

    “But I am firmly in the camp that says women should not set ourselves up as teachers of other women. ”

    ^I’ve never heard of that before, and I grew up in a very wonderful Christian school, with many godly, sacrificial teachers (men and women), and with a wonderful mother who gave consistent strong biblical advice, and this statement you’re saying is just your opinion, and is not rooted in truth. I’m sure it has some value in some way, but it doesn’t make sense, as I’ve learned so much from women online who have set themselves up as teachers and spiritual mothers, and I know that multitudes of other women have as well. How can we deny all the women who’s lives have been changed by these women teachers online – how can we deny their witness? Is that our place to judge whether or not they have been helped and had their lives changed by online teachers? Is it really our place to judge whether or not the online teachers should be teaching other women, or if online teaching shouldn’t be used at all?

    Maybe it’s a personal conviction for you, and that makes sense then, but if that’s the case, I thought we were commanded to keep personal convictions to ourselves and avoid making broad statements like that for others to follow. Isn’t that setting yourself up as teaching others what to do or not to do as well because it’s so absolute?

    Now if you had said women shouldn’t be setting themselves up as teachers over *men,* that is very biblical for sure!

    Part of teaching is encouraging, a lot of it is actually the same thing… it’s very hard to draw a clear line between those two also.

    And again, just because you’ve seen so many have flaws, that is by no means a reason for saying that “women should not teach other women period.” You probably aren’t trying to come across as judgmental and extremist, but that does sound off to me because it’s so totalitarian in thought, leaving no room for grace.

  28. Elspeth says:

    I never said that women should not teach other women. I don’t believe that. I actually said just the opposite. I said women shouldn’t set themselves up as teachers of other women. PERIOD.

    According the Scripture, men need to be confirmed by church authorities before they can preach the word. How does it then make any sense at all for the weaker, more easily deceived sex to set herself up as a teacher?. Consider that Paul, after meeting the Messiah Himself, went to the apostles for confirmation. Men shouldn’t be setting themselves up as teachers either.

    That’s not to say online conversations are bad (I’m here after all), but the Internet has given birth to a whole lot of “teachers” whose churches wouldn’t have given them the go ahead to teach. Whose churches don’t even KNOW that they are teaching. I was among them so this isn’t a dig at anyone in particular.

    Our feelings of conviction or lack thereof on a matter is not the standard for whether or not we should do it. And, “The Bible doesn’t say we can’t”, doesn’t mean we should. Saying things that are Biblical to fellow sisters is fine and right. Setting ourselves up as teachers is not Biblical. No matter how noble the cause, the starting point is in direct opposite to the way the Bible lays out qualifications to teach.

    Of course, if we can’t see the difference between books or videos versus ongoing interpersonal virtual relationships (especially with other women’s husbands), then this conversation is quite moot.

  29. Dragonfly says:

    “I never said that women should not teach other women. I don’t believe that. I actually said just the opposite. I said women shouldn’t set themselves up as teachers of other women. PERIOD.”

    I don’t see the difference, unless you’re taking the word “teacher” to mean “preacher” which is not always the same in online situations. Women can teach/instruct/explain to other women without preaching to them, to imply they can’t is wrong. And definitely online female “teachers” don’t consider themselves to be the same rank as pastors! A lot of them just use their blogs to encourage and instruct on things they understand without declaring their own teachings to be absolute. On things they don’t understand well, they usually avoid teaching on or mention that it’s only their opinion.

    And yes, I do think women need to be careful with how much they relate with other women’s husbands – it’s better to send men to another man for guidance in male issues or even with his wife, and I often do that.

  30. Dragonfly says:

    Oh Elspeth, and about the church not knowing if these women are blogging online… I think you’re right that that could be dangerous. Two of my mentors are women leaders of Bible studies at our church and they do read my blog very carefully. One that is going to be meeting with me weekly from now on to guide me even more, actually did confront me one time when I published a man’s story about his wife that inadvertently dishonored her. I hadn’t seen it as dishonoring, but when she confronted me, it became so obvious that it was, and I took it down.

    I have many women and men from our church that read my blog and like it, I have one that I know of that is offended by it because she hates the thought of “anti-feminism,” and is lacking some understanding about what that means, but it’s created an opportunity to help her understand it doesn’t mean oppression or lack of women’s rights or personhood. But on the whole, having church people know what I write, DOES keep me very accountable and sober to know that I’m in some ways responsible to them. I agree with you though that this could be a very real problem with women teaching anything or things their church pastors would actually NOT want them to teach. That is sobering as well.

  31. Not that anyone cares, but the only thing that has ever caused me to doubt the wisdom and joy of submitting to my husband, has been reading the manosphere’s take on submission and watching the behavior of some of the women who claim to be teaching it.

    Also, I actually appreciated Cane’s take on things, “Wives don’t have to learn “how to be submissive”; they just have to decide not to rebel.” There is truth there. If you find a good man who loves you, submission just happens naturally, it is not something one has to learn how to do. That really is the nature of headship, done properly it just creates loyalty, trust, and a willingness to submit. Without love, everything else is just a resounding gong and clanging symbol.

  32. Dragonfly says:

    Here is what April Cassidy (The Peaceful Wife) has to say on submission, it’s exactly what I was vouching for above that Cane was completely ignorant of, in that women do often have to learn how to be submissive – it doesn’t just come to us, we are naturally rebellious, we usually need to see a good model of it to understand it, and MANY women now grow up without that model, so yes, it’s helpful and good to for women to teach submission.

    From April 01/07/16:
    “It was many years into our marriage before God opened my eyes to understand all of these things. I was actually a rather disrespectful and controlling, prideful, self-righteous wife for over 14 years earlier in our marriage until God caused the scales to fall off of my eyes.

    Your leadership might come more naturally – but there are very few women for whom biblical submission comes naturally. A strong, godly leader would certainly be helpful, though. A man who is a godly leader would be able to gently, firmly explain things and teach things, perhaps. If women saw biblical marriage modeled and it was taught well as they grew up, and they were consciously warding off the worldly ideas of the culture – they may be more ready.”

  33. From Cane:
    “Women don’t need to learn how to be the good wife… The imperative–what a wife must do–is obey her husband, raise her children, and run her household well and with honor. That’s it. If she does those things she will become more and more like Proverbs 31 Wife even if she is totally ignorant of that model.”

    Amen to that. When we truly follow Jesus Christ, He teaches us all we need to know and the love He has for us is very naturally reflected back into our homes.

  34. Dragonfly says:

    Also Elspeth, its interesting you want to talk about the topic of church accountability of online blogging, that is a really good thing to bring up! I do think it would be good if churches knew what their men and women were doing online, for those bloggers’ OWN benefit so that they aren’t getting away with doing evil (and evil doesn’t have to take the form in teaching). But we all have free will, and I think it’s a huge part of their own spiritual growth to seek out mentors and be really honest about their online activity on their own.
    If they are truly Christian, then they will WANT this accountability because they’ll realize their ability to fail or sin, and make changes so that they have it because they have a true desire to act more like Christ.

    Lori Alexander has something up on exactly that topic of women teaching other women from the Bible here http://lorialexander.blogspot.com/2016/01/women-teaching-other-women-bible.html

    “There are some great female Bible teachers who have not fallen into heresy such as Nancy Campbell, Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Elisabeth Elliott. They also clearly teach Titus 2:3-5 and are not afraid to teach Truth boldly to other women. I love listening to these women. They are not wrong in teaching the Bible to other women as I am not wrong since there is liberty and freedom in Christ; not to disobey Him but also to be careful to not make up our own rules apart from Scripture. There is nowhere in the Bible that commands women not to teach other women the Bible.”

    Those last two sentences are really important here for you to consider yourself, Elspeth. Here is a woman blogger who is a teacher over other women through her blog, and she believes she is right to do so because there is freedom in Christ. Again, it might be your own personal conviction, but it does really sound like making up your own unscriptural rules for others to follow (or worse, for us to judge these women by). We need to be careful to not “make up our own rules apart from Scripture” and give these opinions of ours freely to other, younger women who are very young in their faith, and look up to us for guidance – things you’ve said like needing to be post-menopausal or a blood-related family member in order to be a Titus 2 woman, or for it to only “work” if it’s done in real life – those have no Scriptural basis and border on the line of deception (which is why L.Alexander also warns about it). Or you commenting that you’ve only seen “one” woman blogging correctly in your eyes… it just sounds hypercritical and judgmental when they are God’s servants, and we’re called to trust that He will deal with them if they are sinning or not (Romans 14). I don’t think it’s wise or even our place to put human boundaries around how God works or “what works” that isn’t in Scripture.

  35. By their fruits you shall know them. The fruit of the Spirit is, “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” To call men ignorant, to label women menopausal, to accuse others of heresy, hypocrisy, and evil, these things are not of the Spirit. If these are the things we are teaching women, than we are teaching them wrong.

  36. @ Dragonfly

    I have nothing wrong with women teaching women or men teaching men. However, there needs to be context.

    In general, Christian wives *should* be referring to their own husbands to understand things as the Scriptures teach and/or what is taught in Church. However, ideally there should also be good interaction between the family/husband, the Church, and hopefully godly women mentors too in order understand the various aspects that the husbands may not be particular to in terms of femininity.

    I think the main problem that Elspeth has which I also an concerned about is that many times “blogs” or “friends” become influences that undermine the headship or authority when the particular questions should be taken to the source. It’s basically similar to gossip: things don’t need to go horizontal. If there’s questions or concerns they should be going vertical to an authority and God in the vast majority o f cases.

  37. Dragonfly says:

    Sorry for the lapse in response, Deep Strength, I do think you’re right that going to blogs and friends can undermine a husband’s headship or authority at times. And it’s hard to read spouses complain about each other so much on these kinds of blogs… the one my mentor urged me to take down was actually degrading his wife (that he was still married to), I think reading so much in the manosphere gets one used to seeing constant degradation of women to where I guess I became numb to it.

  38. Dragonfly says:

    And I think because you haven’t been married, and haven’t intimately understood women the way a husband would, who often has seen this very real struggle that a wife has in becoming a godly wife day in and day out, I think it may just be hard for you to understand why it’s not just about “femininity” that women need to go to other women to gain wisdom and advice from.

    The things women often ask about (to women who set themselves up as teachers) or are convicted by when they read their writing are often about rebellion and disrespect. Sometimes they don’t even know they’re doing it until they read something that convicts them. It creates great opportunities for them to grow in their faith and marriage with that woman encouraging them to allow God to work on her in this area. So, respectfully, it actually does need to go horizontal because that’s how instruction against rebellion and disrespect works (and it’s not at all like gossip unless they’re tearing their husband down) so that an older woman can instruct them in how to act in a gentle, respectful way.

  39. @ Dragonfly

    And I think because you haven’t been married, and haven’t intimately understood women the way a husband would, who often has seen this very real struggle that a wife has in becoming a godly wife day in and day out, I think it may just be hard for you to understand why it’s not just about “femininity” that women need to go to other women to gain wisdom and advice from.

    Incorrect.

    I have extensively discussed a bunch of April’s articles, especially the ones on disrespect, with my girlfriend which was highly enlightening for the both of us. If a couple is communicating clearly and openly about things like disrespect and attitudes as they come up in a relationship then they’re likely to identify them as they go in which case it’s not necessarily needed.

    However, I recognize that’s highly unlikely to be the case for most relationships.

    I’m also not recommending that there shouldn’t be godly counsel. There should be, but there should also be an understanding or agreement between the husband and wife as to who qualifies as godly counsel or mentoring. I’ve seen many a friend and family member that gives quite the ungodly advice as I’m sure that you have as well which influences husbands and wives astray even when they’re trying to do the right thing.

    That’s my main point about if you’re going to go horizontal — If going horizontal it should be approved.

  40. Dragonfly says:

    That’s great DS 🙂 , but marriage is completely different than having a girlfriend which I’m sure you understand! It doesn’t compare at all as you’ll find out, though it’s good to talk about those things and I think you’ll be more prepared because you’re so proactive!

    My husband brought up about this issue of women being naturally rebellious, that it’s part of Eve’s curse to want to desire her husband in the way of controlling or leading him, but that he would rule over her. It’s part of female nature, and you know it doesn’t come out in a girlfriend relationship, and if it does, you may be in for a difficult marriage! But again, it IS good that you’re talking about it, you’ll be ahead of those who didn’t.

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  42. Scott says:

    But the third and most damaging thing we do (particularly in this format) is set ourselves up as a temptation to other women’s husbands, undermining their wives whether we intend to or not. By temptation I don’t necessarily mean sexually, although that can be part of it. We hurt some women under the guise of helping other women.

    Extremely important words to think about here.

  43. @ Scott

    But the third and most damaging thing we do (particularly in this format) is set ourselves up as a temptation to other women’s husbands, undermining their wives whether we intend to or not. By temptation I don’t necessarily mean sexually, although that can be part of it. We hurt some women under the guise of helping other women.

    That’s precisely why I don’t give wives advice anymore.

    I tell them to talk to their husbands. If they did and still need more godly counsel then talk to a godly mentor or someone from the leadership at Church. Maybe family and friends *if* they are godly.

  44. Scott says:

    In this case, I think what Elspeth is referring to is the temptation for married men who are new to the manosphere especially to compare their wives to online personalities with resentment.

    “Why can’t you be like [Elspeth/SSM/dragonfly]?” No offense to them, but they are only giving the Internet the sides of themselves they want us to see.

    This is not because of any ill will on their part. It is in the nature of the medium.

  45. @ Scott

    Ah, yes. That is also an issue as well.

    After all, godliness with content is great gain.

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