Drinking Deeply

Friday, June 30, 2006 at 11:37 PM


One thing that has always surprised me was how the classic egalitarians (those who believe in the general equality in all relationships and roles between men and women, contrasted with complementarians- those who believe that God created men and women different, with distinct roles for them to fulfill) twist some parts of Scripture to make it fit their interpretations.

Here's a classic example, it may not be true of all egalitarians, but it's something that crops up a lot. It just annoys me how Scripture is so clearly twisted, and it's a trap that Christians seem to fall for a lot.

Ephesians 5:22-24 states:
22Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
Now, after reading this passage, the interpretation is pretty clear with respect to women.

Wives - you're called to submit to your husband just like the church submits to Christ.

Does this teach headship? Absolutely. Now, the classic argument has been, "but wait, you need to read this in context! v. 21 says that Christians are to be 'submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ,' so therefore husbands are also to submit to their wives in the exact same way. This text doesn't teach headship, but equality."

Not only does the example of Christ and the church contradict those statements, (When did Christ submit to the church?) but a further reading of the very context being appealed to makes the interpretation clear. What does the rest of Ephesians 5 and 6 say?

Husbands love your wives, as Christ loved the church.
Children obey your parents.
Slaves, obey your earthly masters.

So unless we're willing to take v.21 and say that parents should also submit to their children, and masters to their slaves, we must understand v. 21 to be our overarching verse for the next few passages. Christians, submit to one another, and this is done by having wives to husbands, children to parents, and slaves to masters.

Now, we can (and should) discuss how a husband is to love his wife (giving up his life for her), and how parents are to love their children, and how masters are to love their slaves, but that does not change the fact that Scripture is clear here. Wives are to submit their husbands. That's Scripture's teaching and to oppose it is to oppose God.

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Anonymous theocentric522 said...

Very true! I also hear people saying, "Well, a husband is called to love his wife, but that doesn't mean a wife shouldn't love her husband. In the same way, husband should submit to his wife just has Christ did by dying for the church!" Having said this, they usually finish off by misinterpreting Gal. 3:28. Frustrating. =P  


Anonymous ebed said...

there's such beauty in a wife/husband, church/Christ relationship. love and submission work together...perfectly

i love this post! nice post!  


Blogger cwu said...

just to point out that the Word mentions husbands love your wives much more than wives submit to your husbands.  


Blogger Hannah Grace said...

Have you read Piper and Grudem's "Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood?" I've been dipping into it this summer and it's pretty good. It raises and answers lots of these types of questions.  


Blogger ts said...

ha ha ... i think once you actually get married, then you will understand why husbands also need to submit to their wives ... maybe not positionally, but practically.  


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