Complementarianism’s “intelligent submission” debunking

The faith chapter in Hebrews 11 is a very instructive example of man’s submission to God. However, it clearly is at odds with complementarianism’s push for “intelligent submission” for the wife in marriage.

Hebrews 11:4 By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he was attested to be righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.

In Genesis, it’s actually Cain who wants to “intelligently submit” by questioning God why his offering wasn’t accepted and how it should be. Abel rightly just gave his best immediately without questioning.

Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

Once again, Noah does not question God about why God wants him to build a boat when everyone is going to laugh at him, but instead Genesis 6:22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him.

Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he left, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he lived as a stranger in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; 10 for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

Abraham never questions God about any of these things and just leaves his homeland to be a nomad trusting that God will let me know when and where to go.

Hebrews 11:11 By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised.

The funny part about this one is Sarah actually doubted and questioned her faith. Her “intelligence” about her being too old was a hindrance to her faith. She was admonished by God and Abraham.

Genesis 18:10 Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.” Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. 11 Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. 12 So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?”

13 Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ 14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” 15 Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.” But he said, “Yes, you did laugh

Hebrews 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and the one who had received the promises was offering up his only son; 18 it was he to whom it was said, “Through Isaac your descendants shall be named.” 19 He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back [p]as a type.

Abraham just goes and does it. He doesn’t need to intelligently submit.

Genesis 22:1 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. 2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” 3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”

Hebrews 11:20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even regarding things to come. 21 By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff. 22 By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel, and gave orders concerning his bones.

23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. 24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the temporary pleasures of sin, 26 considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he persevered, as though seeing Him who is unseen. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch them. 29 By faith they passed through the Red Sea as through dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned.

30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after the Israelites had marched around them for seven days. 31 By faith the prostitute Rahab did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace.

32 And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; 36 and others experienced mocking and flogging, and further, chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented 38 (people of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts, on mountains, and sheltering in caves and holes in the ground.

The examples really speak for themselves, but the few times such as Gideon’s and Barak’s cowardice to question the Lord on His plans they were rebuked or in the case of Barak and Deborah the gory was given to a woman killing Sisera.

I need not go on about the Israelites complaining and questioning Moses and God in the desert either.

It is nice to know why we need to submit at times, but it is certainly not required. In fact, most of the time it seems to be an impediment to growing in faith and the sanctification process.

It seems that God values the trust that submission shows above “intelligent” questioning and complaining. This isn’t to say that a wife should not bring up an her opinion if she has some wisdom, but it must be done within the confines of the Biblical marital roles and responsibilities which is with respect and obedience.

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14 Responses to Complementarianism’s “intelligent submission” debunking

  1. Elspeth says:

    No one really believes in the idea of “intelligent submission”, not even people who promote it. It’s disingenuous.

    Submission of any kind (parent-child, employer-employee, pastor-congregant, general-private, and so on) is predicated on the understanding that hierarchy is marked by the fact that the higher up knows about the why behind the what that the subordinate doesn’t. In marriage, it’s predicated on the wife understanding that God knows, even if her husband doesn’t.

    Intelligent submission is a smoke screen.

    This isn’t to say that a wife should not bring up an her opinion if she has some wisdom, but it must be done within the confines of the Biblical marital roles and responsibilities which is with respect and obedience.

    Too many people (men and women alike) miss this principle, albeit for different reasons.

  2. thedeti says:

    CBMW doesn’t really describe what intelligent submission is.

  3. Oscar says:

    Abraham and Sarah tried to “intelligently submit” to God by having Abraham impregnate Hagar, and we’re still paying for that bit of “intelligent submission”.

  4. Anonymous Reader says:

    thedeti
    CBMW doesn’t really describe what intelligent submission is.

    Yes, but they know it when they see it.

  5. Anonymous Reader says:

    Elspeth
    No one really believes in the idea of “intelligent submission”, not even people who promote it. It’s disingenuous.

    You may be overestimating them. Cognitive dissonance is uncomfortable but people can get used to it if they have to or want to badly enough. The cog-dis of “intelligent submission” is probably less stressful than the cog-dis of believing a man in a dress is a “woman”, for example, and that’s a thing in some parts of the country. Reading through CBMW texts is sometimes like something out of Solzhenitsyn in terms of lies compounding on lies, but it becomes obvious that at least some of the writers are true believers in what they say.

    Feminism itself has a whole mess of contradictions that cannot be really dealt with, merely endured, and the CBMW people are conservative feminists, one and all. It’s 1970’s – 1980’s “equity” feminism, but without the rampant abortion or lesbian weddings. They can always point to some radfem and say, “See! See! That’s Feminism, and I’m not that, so there!” as if that means anything.

    In the larger culture there’s a real fear of being yelled at by women, it’s easy to see. What’s sad is the amount of Beth Moore style retconning that is required to backwardly project that fear into the Bible and pretend it was always there.

  6. @ Elspeth

    No one really believes in the idea of “intelligent submission”, not even people who promote it. It’s disingenuous.

    Submission of any kind (parent-child, employer-employee, pastor-congregant, general-private, and so on) is predicated on the understanding that hierarchy is marked by the fact that the higher up knows about the why behind the what that the subordinate doesn’t. In marriage, it’s predicated on the wife understanding that God knows, even if her husband doesn’t.

    Intelligent submission is a smoke screen.

    Yup, it’s the weasel way out like my other post talked about.

    Maybe that is the whole truth of the matter… Complementarians want to get the most people to agree with them (both true Christians and christofeminists) because they see agreement as a higher truth.

    Too many people (men and women alike) miss this principle, albeit for different reasons.

    Much like sex before marriage is plentiful but sex in marriage is sparse. Deception attacks on Biblical principles.

  7. @ thedeti

    CBMW doesn’t really describe what intelligent submission is.

    If I remember correctly Wayne Grudem does get into it some in the book I believe, but it’s a couple of dubious examples that don’t really help you understand it better.

  8. @ Oscar

    Abraham and Sarah tried to “intelligently submit” to God by having Abraham impregnate Hagar, and we’re still paying for that bit of “intelligent submission”.

    Good one. Can’t believe I missed that.

  9. feeriker says:

    Maybe that is the whole truth of the matter… Complementarians want to get the most people to agree with them (both true Christians and christofeminists) because they see agreement as a higher truth.

    Complementarianism as a denomination of the Church of Nice.

    “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” ~ Matthew 10:34‭-‬36 (KJV)

    Not a very popular scriptural passage within the CoN. In fact, it’s probably not found in their authorized Bible version.

  10. cameron232 says:

    Obedience except in the case where the husband commands explicit sin. I mean, real sin not made up BS like “not loving yourself.”

    Love from the huband but not love as defined in 21st century America.

  11. Oscar says:

    Isn’t it amazing how many ways modern Christians can twist and torture the Scriptures to ensure they feel no guilt when disobeying the Scriptures?

  12. cameron232 says:

    Yes, it’s not entirely new (Peter describes it wrt to Paul’s writings in the NT. ) Not entirely new though I’d agree the scope and scale/variety of disobedience is unprecedented. I think it’s the first time a large scale Christian society (a Christian civilization) has become post-Christian/apostate.

  13. feeriker says:

    Isn’t it amazing how many ways modern Christians can twist and torture the Scriptures to ensure they feel no guilt when disobeying the Scriptures?

    Indeed, and I think that this is another cue as to why it’s past time to distinguish between “Christian” and “churchian.” It’s perfectly understandable why there would be a general reluctance to do that (among other questions raised, where exactly is the “line” drawn between the two?), given the disparity in size between the two groups that would surely result.

  14. Sharkly says:

    …time to distinguish between “Christian” and “churchian.”

    I’d change the terminology. Every churchian is running around claiming the name of Christ, and being a cheap substitute, a prostitute, they together are part of the Great Whore’s family, they are members of the whoring daughter churches of the Mother of Harlots. On that day many will say “Lord Lord, didn’t we do all sorts of crazy sh1t in your name”.(Sharkly’s paraphrase) The distinction is between that of the body of Christ, which is The Church or all of Christendom, and a tiny remnant or rib that will be separated out from The Last Adam’s body to be made into the Bride of Christ. The confusion or mystery is that the Bride of Christ was part of the body of Christ, but they’re not the same. The Bride of Christ is a tiny subset separated out of the Body of Christ. The bride of Christ is not The Church. The Church is a whoring entity made up of the Great whore of Rome AKA the Mother of Harlots and all her Orthodox and protestant daughter churches. There is no “Bride of Christ” church to go to. The Bride of Christ worships God not at Mount Gerizim or at the temple in Jerusalem, but wherever they are, in spirit and in truth, just as Jesus explained to the Samaritan floozy at the well. Quite a few of us are meeting here in this virtual fellowship. But our views, which are truth, won’t be fully welcomed in any church, nor is my spirit at ease there amidst their whoring and the blasphemies permitted there as stains on the corrupted body of Christ. I don’t have a day of the week that I worship, or a place that I worship. Deal with it! LOL Wherever two or three are gathered in His name, there He is. Furthermore He lives within me. He came into me and sups with me. Are you fed on His word by His Spirit? Pray for it.

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