Wayne Grudem is a professor of theological and religious studies. He is also one of the general editors for the ESV translation of the Bible.
Wayne Grudem similarly portrays complementarian decision making as, in the vast majority of cases, an idealized version of the egalitarian version. He writes:
The biblical ideal is that the husband is to be both loving and humble in his leadership. The wife is to be both joyful and intelligent in her submission. Practically, this means that they will frequently talk about many decisions, both large and small. This also means that both the husband and the wife will listen to the other’s unique wisdom and insight related to the decision. Often one will defer to the other in the decision; rarely will they differ greatly in the decision (for the Lord has made them “one flesh”)
This is one of the insidious ways feminism has crept into the Church. In effect, what the complementarian Grudem is arguing for is egalitarianism. They’re both in effect mutually submitting to one another without using that term specifically. If he was actually talking about the model used in the Scripture he would have stated that the husband makes the decisions as the head and the wife offers her advice as the helpmeet.
This is what we call deception. You think you are doing the right thing but you are in fact doing the wrong thing. Complementarism is embroiled in deception. Dalrock has been exceptionally good at exposing this.
In marriage structures, I made the point that there is no such thing as “too much submission.” Complementarians often like to make the case that there can be “too much submission” or that wives need to be “intelligent” in their submission. They use feminist terminology such as doormat, servile, subservient, and other negative connotation words to tear down submission to men if it’s not according to their standards. However, this is incorrect. As I explained:
There is no such thing as submission taken too far. However, there is such thing as false humility in submission. There are quite a few examples of wives on various blogs who have taken submission into their own hands. Let me explain.
For example, a husband has a particular way to rule his own family and the wife is doing well in that structure. However, after she has talked with a mentor, read a book, or read a blog or two on the topic of submission, she now has the impression that she was “not submitting properly to her husband before.” Now, instead of working well within her husbands structure for the family she becomes a self proclaimed “doormat” in which she never expresses her opinions, does everything her husband wants, and even does some things that her husband doesn’t want under the guise of “being more submissive.”
What typically ends up happening is that this leaves the wife feeling poorly about everything and generally unfulfilled. Then the husband has to have some awkward conversation with his wife where he says he ‘just wants his wife back’ and that she was being weird about things.
Such examples are often used as an example to show that “being a doormat” or “subservience” in a marriage is bad thing. However, this is false.
In reality what happened is that the wife was embroiled in an example of the insidious nature of false humility. The wife decided unilaterally that she knew best what was the right way to be a helpmeet to husband. Although she had the right intentions of being submissive to her husband, she was actually being rebellious to how her husband wanted the marriage to be run in the first place. Thus, conflict came up between them which needed resolution.
Therefore, wives often get the impression that “being a doormat” or “subservient” is a bad thing from this experience. However, what they miss from this scenario is that they were actually being inadvertently rebellious. They were listening to other people, books, or blogs on how to be submissive to their own husbands instead of listening to their own husband on how to be submissive to him.
Hence, when a wife who has went through this experience sees a marriage with “more structure,” she often believes that the wife is in sin because she is being a “doormat” or “subservient.” This wrong impression causes wives to attempt to butt into other people’s marriages in order to correct this sin when in reality they may be introducing dysfunction or malcontent into an otherwise Godly and healthy relationship.
What the Scripture actually says in Ephesians 5 is that wives are to be respectful not intelligent.
In fact, we, as Christians, often do not need to be intelligent in our submission. When God tell us to do good works do we need to question why we need to do good works? Is it because God is good? Is it because it’s a shining light for others? Is it because these things are profitable for men? Is it because God planned them in advance for those who are called in Him? All of these things are true and why we do good works, but we don’t need to know why we need to do good works to do them.
For example, when I see someone suffering or homeless do I need to be intelligent in my compassion for them? Or do I need to only act on what God has put in my heart at the moment for those less fortunate. In fact, in many cases if you *think* about things you can often talk yourself out of being compassionate or doing what is good: “Eh, I don’t need to because someone else will help them or give them money.”
James 4:17 Therefore, to one who knows the [k]right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.
Obviously, it’s not a bad thing to understand why you need to do good works or to be submissive, but it is FAR from a biblical requirement or even the ideal. God’s commands to those in the Scripture are often with uncertainty because they are aimed at learning how to Trust Him. This is called faith. Faith walked out builds trust.
For instance, God told Abraham to go to a foreign land. God told Abraham to sacrifice his only son. It took faith to do both in the uncertainty. God didn’t tell Abraham why, but God did tell Abraham to do it. Hebrews 11 is one of the quintessential chapters on faith in the Scripture. It describes many Patriarchs and men of God trusting and obeying God. It’s often the case that they obey without knowing the reason for their submission to Him. They did it all on faith that God had good will and intentions for them.
Based on the examples in the Scriptures, I believe it would be fair to say that if a wife knows that her husband is a Christian and knows his good character that if she is “mindless” in her submission through trusting his decisions that is a good thing. She is literally one with her husband. That’s the goal. To be one in unity.
Proverbs 31:11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain.
This is not to say that a husband shouldn’t tell his wife why he is leading in a particular direction or that a wife shouldn’t ask. However, they should be growing toward a state where these things are unneeded. That is oneness. Respectful submission becomes respectful obedience.
John 14:15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
To model what Jesus says about Himself, it would be more accurate to say that faith and thus trust is required. Intelligence is not. The absurd example, of course, is can you ever be “too submissive” or “mindless” in your submission to Christ? Surely not. Obeying Christ on every matter is beneficial.
- The complementarian ‘ideals’ such as examples of ‘too much submission’ or ‘intelligent submission’ are not supported by Scripture.
- These complementarian ‘ideals’ are actually based in the feminist narrative that men are bad and authority is bad. Hence, you can be “too submissive” or “mindlessly submissive,” and these are supposed to be bad things.
- Christianity is predicated on submission in ambiguous circumstances because that builds Faith and Trust in God.
- “Mindless submission” and “too much submission” to do the right thing is in fact a very good thing. It is always good to do right.
- Wives who are able to cultivate a strong bond of trust in their husbands where they obey without questions exemplify oneness. Oneness and unity are one of the standards to which Christians are held, both as a group and in marriage. Thus, we should be encouraging such a strong bond of trust for wives and husbands instead of tearing it down.
This is yet another example of the feminist narrative seeping into Christian theology.