The Sin of Agreeing With Her Husband

The apostle Peter was pretty clear about our duty to submit to our political rulers.

“Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king” (1 Pet. 2:13-17).

In the first place, we should do what he says. In the second place, we should remember that Peter was no hypocrite, and he is the same man who broke out of jail (Acts 12:7-11), and in a fashion that caused the guards to lose their lives, and who disappeared from the book of Acts a wanted man (Acts 12:17).

This is why we compare Scripture with Scripture — not to catch out inconsistencies in God’s Word, but rather to catch the places where we may have jumped to conclusions about what one passage in isolation might mean.

In this fallen world, no human authority should be absolute. No human authority can be absolute, and to make the attempt to treat it as such is disobedience to God. Because our duty is never to disobey God, this means that we sometimes have the duty of disobedience down here. Now God has established three governments among men — that of the church, the civil magistrate, and the family. Each one of them has genuine authority, and in each case the limits of that authority are established by God. This means that we must disobey sometimes in each one of these areas.

In conservative theological circles, the government where we most commonly overlook this is the government of the family. If we teach the headship of the husband (and we do, without apology), and we also teach the submission of the wife (which we also do, again without apology), it is easiest thing in the world for critics of headship and submission to claim that we are saying that men are somehow absolute, and their rule in the home to be unquestioned.

This is far from the truth, and here is an example, taken from the early chapters of Acts.

“But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.

And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much. Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband. And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things” (Acts 5:1-11).

Now what was the sin of Sapphira here? Why did she lose her life? The sin she committed here, in Peter’s words, was the sin of agreeing with her husband. And when she came in to speak with Peter, not knowing her husband was dead, her moral duty at that point was to expose her husband by confessing the sin.

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114 comments on “The Sin of Agreeing With Her Husband

  1. It’s a start.  Far better to teach and model mutual submission, and not be so busy ‘not apologizing’ that you fail to understand why ” it is easiest thing in the world for critics of headship and submission to claim that we are saying that men are somehow absolute, and their rule in the home to be unquestioned.”  It’s easy because it’s what is consistently and uniformly implied.  

  2. Sarahs, where is it said or implied by those of us who preach submission and headship that the husband has absolute authority? Every sermon I have ever heard or book I have ever read on the subject clearly defines a husband’s headship within the bounds of Scripture, which means that the husband’s authority only goes so far. When he commands what the Bible forbids or forbids what the Bible commands he can be disobeyed. Pastor Wilson’s blog post is an example of the normal teaching I get from conservative Christian preachers on this subject. I will admit that there are some husbands who wish we taught that the husband had absolute authority and act like that is what we teach. But it is not consistently and uniformly implied by any of the men I have studied. Grace, Peter Jones

  3. It’s precisely by these bounds of ‘what the Bible forbids/commands’ that the noose is tightened, especially for a woman who truly wants to do right, to obey Scripture.  She is left w/ the clear impression that a crime must be ordered before she can disobey.  Scripture itself is used, and often misinterpreted or misapplied, to enforce the submission.  In MANY headship teachings that I’ve heard, heavy responsiblity is always laid on the woman to endure as much abuse as possible before every considering ‘coming out from under his authority’ to exercise her own judgment.  We’re talking mainstream teachers here.  Does the Bible command that children’s emotional needs be adequately provided for?  What if the mother sees serious problems on the horizon and wants to make some significant changes in hopes of averting these?  And what if the husband refuses?  Or stalls.  What if one of the children begans to practice cutting b/c of extreme emotional pain (as in the case of Vyckie Garrison) or develops an eating disorder?  (which can be life-threatening).  It’s the widely accepted guideline of “husband gets veto power” that is really the problem here.  Some husbands, exercise this veto power aggressively, some do it passive-aggressively.  The wife is left w/ no recourse, especially in the latter scenario, but to ‘rebel’ by ‘coming out from under his authority’.  If this isn’t absolute authority, (carefully disguised and embellished w/ spiritual-sounding terms) I don’t know what is.  If you’ve ever heard Mark Driscoll, John Piper, Douglas Wilson, or Douglas Phillips, or RCJr. speak on headship/submission, you’ve heard this abusive teaching.  Head-in-the-sand syndrome doesn’t fly. 

  4. SarahS, could you please provide some links to blog posts/sermon audio/video wherein Mark Driscoll, John Piper, and/or Douglas Wilson preach the following:

    1. A genuine crime must be ordered [by the husband] before she [the wife] can disobey.
    2. A wife must endure all possible abuse before appealing to other authorities (church or state).
    3. The husband is entitled to ignore the emotional and/or physical health of his children and his wife cannot do anything about it without her husband’s approval.
    4. The wife has no recourse when her husband uses his veto powers in an excessive and heavy-handed manner.

    5. All appeals by the wife to an authority beyond her husband is sinful rebellion against God’s law.

    I only ask because I have heard and read many accusations against “patriarchy” advocates since Douglas Phillips’ resignation but have yet to hear such accusers’ match up their accusations about what these various men teach to quotes from the so-called patriarchists themselves which would prove the veracity of the accusers’ accusations.

    Thanks!

  5. Perfect example:  domestic discipline.  Some patriarchal husbands have their wives so duped that they have convinced them it’s not only the wife’s duty to submit to this, but the husband’s spiritual duty to administer it.  And we don’t see this either commanded or forbidden in scripture….if anything, there is scripture that would tend to back it up taken out of context (as such practicers of manipulation are expert at).  In a healthy marriage, this issue of submission/headship isn’t so much as a blip on the radar, b/c each is mutually submitting to one another.  Which leads me to believe it was never intended in the first place.  I understand there seems to be some doctrinal point Paul is trying to make that goes beyond household code….however I submit (*winkwink*) we’ve totally misunderstood this.  Maybe it has to do w/ not understanding Mary and her role.  I have difficulty believing Mary “served Joseph’s vision” much at all.  Seems like it was the other way around.  

  6. Bryan:  I’ll by happy to work on that.  Not a problem.

  7. The easiest, most prominent example and the one that comes to mind first is John Piper here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OkUPc2NLrM  Dead wrong, dangerous advice.  Even Piper has trouble explaining what he means, has to go through all sorts of convoluted gyrations to try to legitimize it.  If men’s egos are truly this fragile, we got issues.  

  8. SarahS, in our church if a wife thought her husband was setting a course that would lead to the physical, emotional, or spiritual destruction of her family she should go to the elders who would then confront her husband and discipline him. We explicitly teach this at our church and have had it occur in at least a couple of cases.  I am not exactly sure what you mean by “domestic discipline.”   Could you clarify that phrase? Finally, I agree with Bryan’s question. Please give us places where these men teach what you claim they are teaching. I agree that these things happen. My point is that these men do not teach this. 

  9. So John Piper is wrong that people being sinned against have a responsibility to respond properly in faith and obedience within that situation? That’s really all he’s saying. He’s not in any way sanctioning the abuse nor putting any restrictions on the abused person as far as seeking redress. Or if I am not misunderstanding you, what in particular is your objection to what particular thing that Piper said?

  10. I don’t know if you have time for this, and this may not even be the best example, but right off the top:  here is Driscoll giving lipservice to all the right ideas.  Women are smart, husbands don’t have absolute authority, blahblah.  But then he turns around, and brings a trinitarian doctrinal approach into the question of headship and submission.  What kind of submission did Jesus have towards the Father?  Total, absolute submission.  The complete rendering of his own will in favor of the Father’s. I will give to Driscoll that he makes 2 statements: call the cops if your husband is doing something illegal, and call the pastor/elders if there’s some other kind of grey area abuse.  He exhorts men to behave like Jesus.  But interestingly: if the husband IS an abusive jerk, guess whose fault that is?  It’s the wife’s b/c she should have chosen better.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBNNcKIz-ws  The problem w/ this is that it is subtle and manipulative.  The woman is assured that she needn’t submit to anything truly harmful, then the man is handed the veto power anyway.  What if the elder board agrees w/ the husband?  What if after her sweet, demure appeal to whatever, he goes right on ahead anyway?  This is the infantilizing of women.  Here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afqN5T0h76Q  

  11. Full disclosure: I did not watch those youtube videos because I don’t care what Driscoll has to say on any subject. That said, are you saying that for a man to publicly state that a woman should be expected to exercise wisdom and care in selecting (or accepting) a husband is to infantilize the woman?

  12. Peter: domestic discipline means spanking your wife.  Jane: ain’t nobody got time for that.  If the clip alone isn’t enough to give you a good case of nauseous stomach, nothing I can say is going to change that.   Onwards: Doug Phillips, that one is easy.  Here are some links you may follow. http://biblicalpersonhood.wordpress.com/2013/11/03/public-notice-douglas-phillips-is-not-gods-wounded-soldier-and-we-are-not-shooting-our-wounded/   I especially like the one about child protective services.  Since you are here on Wilson’s blog I leave that to you to investigate, I believe his comments on marital rape are a good place to start.  You and I may disagree on what he *means* by his comments, but regardless of that, they were made.  That’s not in question. 

  13. The problem is more than a patriarchal vs egalitarian approach, it is that the positions are not understood. For example, Doug hasn’t shifted, he has explained what he means. I see similar in the anti-government crowd. One argues for submission to government and the response is all sorts of situations where one should not obey the government. It is as if the only options are totalitarianism and anarchy. // We do not need to choose between husbands are demigods with the power of life and death over their wife and children versus emasculated egalitarianism.

  14. There were quite a few remarks he also made on a husband’s micromanaging of his wife’s time that reek of abuse of power.  Any husband that would speak to his wife in that… demeaning and condescending manner, shouldn’t be anywhere near a position of authority and power.  It can be found in the post, ‘Not Where She Should Be.’ Next up, RCJr.  and the NCFIC.  “Abhorrent perspectives on all things from protecting moms who have ectopic pregnancies, women not being encouraged to participate in the political process, kinists beliefs recognized as acceptable, redefining the Trinity so as to place all women in the place of subordination to all men, etc. have been added to the already disturbing teachings within the FIC culture.
    The other false teaching to be aware of within FIC churches is that of ecclesiocentricity, the notion that all authority is given to the local church elders and the Christian life is not to be lived or practiced apart from their rule. Combined with patriocentricity, the priesthood of the believer and the mission of the church universal become lost in the agendas of men without any check and balances to hold leaders accountable. It becomes the perfect breeding ground for those who are attempting to build their own little fiefdoms. And sprinkled into this mix is a dominionist theology that preaches family reformation through government policies and militant fecundity rather than the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”  That’s a nice summary from thatmom’s blog.  This I found on one of his own blog posts: “Of course there are selfish husbands. There are sinful parents. There are faithless elders. There are corrupt civil leaders. All of these, however, existed when our giving, sinless, faithful, pure Father promised us it would go well for us if we would submit to those in authority over us. He not only knows best, but He controls all things. He, after all, has the whole world in His hands.”  Don’t have time right now for more, but suffice it to say, for a woman experiencing abuse of her husband’s spiritual authority, this would not be an encouraging or enlightening teaching.  

  15. So so far, Sarah, we have three examples (including Doug), of complementarians claiming that submission is not absolute.  How is this helping your point?  Why to you continue to insist that complementarians are saying something when they go out of their way to say the very opposite?  The title of this post is “The Sin of Agreeing with her Husband,” for goodness sake!

  16. I agree w/ you bethyada, only I say, ‘it isn’t a choice between abusive patriarchy and patriarchy “lite”.(OR emasculated whatever).  A healthy, egalitarian, very Biblical marriage, mutually submissive marriage is also an option.  

  17. My point is that after saying the ‘opposite’ they go on to totally deconstruct that.  It’s called gaslighting and it’s a manipulative and dysfunctional practice.  

  18. Arwen B: But but… I like Driscoll. =(

  19. 8-(

  20. The case for the headship of the husband is so crystal clear in scripture as to be a moot argument. The question is not whether it is biblical, but whether we are going to believe it and follow it. All those pastors who teach patriarchy are trying to do is lay out the areas in which the husband’s authority is to be followed and where it is to be disobeyed. The video above from John Piper was a clear example of how to deal with the problem of disobedient husbands. The video from Driscoll does the same thing. The issue here that egalitarians are contending with is the biblical teaching. They don’t want to believe it. They don’t want to follow it. Plain and simple. It is interesting, though that there is a consistency here. An unsubmissive attitude to the husband leads to an unsubmissive attitude to the scriptures. Get angry. Call us names. But we are trying to follow the bible. Plain and simple.

  21. @Seth B: I know you do, honey. And I don’t hold that against you. ^_^
    @SarahS: I think most people here would prefer that you quote something that “RCJr” himself said as proof of your objections, you know, to let his own words condemn him, rather than quoting a different blogger’s analysis.
    May we understand from your vehemence that you have been in the position of the wronged wife whose elders dismissed her complaint, or are you using the wronged wives as virtual meat-shields?

  22. <p>SarahS, thanks for taking the time to provide material for discussion.</p>
    <p>However, I now realize I may have been too clever by half in leaving out Douglas Phillips in my request for information; as you said, he is “easy” to accuse of overbearing patriarchalism in a despotic sense. Even so, the one link which you provided regarding Phillips is overwhelmingly links to yet other opinion blog posts regarding his teachings and is very scarce providing genuine evidence. The one link which actually quoted Phillips was this one:</p>
    http://www.ethicsdaily.com/news.php?viewStory=12978
    <p>. . . and even that one was uncited and provided no links to Phillips’ original article :(</p>
    <p>What I have seen over the past few weeks is a lot of “Aha! Aha!” thrown at Doug Phillips and what seems to be, in many quarters, rejoicing over his downfall. I have no issue with this if the man is genuinely a wolf in sheep’s clothing and a hypocritcal tyrant.</p>
    <p>But I am weary of having other good Bible teachers and pastors lumped together with a lone overzealous tyrant in a mudslinging free-for-all against anything smacking of father headship in the family. And all I see, right now, is a lot of nonsensical interpolations and illogical extrapolations from the actual words of Douglas Wilson, John Piper, and Mark Driscoll, all of whom have obviously dealt with multiple instances of abusive husbands in their own congregations over the years.</p>
    <p>These three prominent pastors, even in the links you have provided, tell the wives to appeal to another, higher authority if abuse or neglact occurs. Abusive or irresponsible husbands have, and will continue to be, excommunicated in the Communion of Reformed Evangelicals (the denomination to which Doug Wilson’s church belongs), and their wives and children have, and will, recieve the aid and protection of the church body. I cannot speak with certainty for John Piper or Mark Driscoll since I am not as familiar with their churches, but both preach (and hopefully practice) discipline against husbands who are derelict in their duties or abusive.</p>
    <p>Your reference to Douglas Wilson’s article “Not Where She Should Be” does make me wonder if Douglas Wilson actually believes that dish cleaning is uniquely the wife’s responsibility. I doubt this is the case, but I will try to get ahold of him directly about this. Even so, Wilson is addressing a family situation in which everything has come unhinged. Here’s a quote:</p>
    <ins>”The first time the dishes are not done, he must sit down with his wife immediately, and gently remind her that this is something which has to be done. At no time may he lose his temper, badger her, call her names, etc. He must constantly remember and confess that she is not the problem, he is. By bringing this gently to her attention, he is not to be primarily pointing to her need to repent; rather, he is exhibiting the fruit of his repentance.”
    http://reformedsingles.com/not-where-she-should-be-douglas-wilson </ins>
    <p>In this situation the husband is trying to rebuild a functional household after the household has collapsed or been allowed to decay to the point of collapse. If you miss what Wilson says about the husband remembering that the current situation is his fault, and not his wife’s, then your reading of the rest of the article is necessarily skewed toward interpreting the whole article as advocating a micromanagement of the wife’s tasks. Obviously anyone, husband or wife, who can’t tell when the dishes need to be washed, the diapers changed, the lawn mowed or the garbage taken out has dropped off into the deep end somewhere without realizing they’re under water.</p>
    <p>Moving along, I do not believe your accusation against Mark Driscoll from this video ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBNNcKIz-ws ) is justified. Driscoll never says the abuse a wife suffers at the hands of her husband is her fault; he is simply cautioning young women to not rush into marriage with unworthy men. Who wouldn’t give that kind of advice?</p>
    <p>I have read some of thatmom’s blog posts, and that is yet another situation in which there is a lot of passionate verbage and virtually nothing to help fellow Christians ascertain whether or not Douglas Wilson or the other pastors which are accused of despicable patriachalist sentiments actually teach what thatmom & Co. accuse them of teaching.</p>
    <p>On another point, I refuse to accept your definition that clarifications and qualifications are actually “gaslighting” and “manipulative and dysfunctional.” Husband-wife relationships mimic the Trinity and Christ’s relationship to the church, both of which are inherently complex, and then you have to mix in the messy fact that husbands are not actually the third person of the Trinity incarnate.</p>
    In other news, hopefully I chose the right formatting commands . . .

  23. As well as the issue of extreme analysis I mentioned, a further issue is misunderstanding thru assumption. A example from the comments is conflating commands to sin with suffering under abuse. While both are important issues they are particularly distinct. The Christian is commanded always to refuse to sin at the behest of another’s command. This is what Doug is addressing. The question of when to leave an abusive situation, while important, is a different issue. To take it out of the realm of family briefly, I am to refuse to sin if my boss tells me to. Though as they are my boss I can refuse with a submissive attitude. But I may also be mistreated by my boss unrelated to demands to sin. That I refuse to sin does not mean that I refuse to be mistreated. There may be situations of abuse where I stay, and there may be situations where I leave, but bearing up under mistreatment is righteousness, whereas refusal to sin is also righteousness. In one situation submission is obedience to God and in another refusal to submit is obedience to God.

  24. BJ, you hit the nail on the head! Are we going to obey the Bible, even if we don’t like what it says and even it sounds abusive at times? Yes! It’s the Bible! Don’t try to manipulate God by disagreeing with the correct interpretations of scripture!

  25. (First I would like to apologize to the moderator for submitting an improperly formatted and  very long comment, and an additional apology in advance in case of another formatting screw-up)<br><br>
    SarahS, thanks for taking the time to provide material for discussion.<br><br>
    However, I now realize I may have been too clever by half in leaving out Douglas Phillips in my request for information; as you said, he is “easy” to accuse of overbearing patriarchalism in a despotic sense. Even so, the one link which you provided regarding Phillips is overwhelmingly links to yet other opinion blog posts regarding his teachings and is very scarce providing genuine evidence. The one link which actually quoted Phillips was this one:<br><br><br><br>
    http://www.ethicsdaily.com/news.php?viewStory=12978<br><br>
    . . . and even that one was uncited and provided no links to Phillips’ original article :<br><br>
    What I have seen over the past few weeks is a lot of angry “Aha! Aha!” thrown at Doug Phillips and what seems to be, in many quarters, rejoicing over his downfall. I have no issue with this if the man is genuinely a wolf in sheep’s clothing and a hypocritcal tyrant.<br><br>
    But I am weary of having other good Bible teachers and pastors lumped together with a lone overzealous tyrant in a mudslinging free-for-all against anything smacking of father headship in the family. And all I see, right now, is a lot of nonsensical interpolations and illogical extrapolations from the actual words of Douglas Wilson, John Piper, and Mark Driscoll, all of whom have obviously dealt with multiple instances of abusive husbands in their own congregations over the years.<br><br>
    These three prominent pastors, even in the links you have provided, tell the wives to appeal to another, higher authority if abuse or neglact occurs. Abusive or irresponsible husbands have, and will continue to be, excommunicated in the Communion of Reformed Evangelicals (the denomination to which Doug Wilson’s church belongs), and their wives and children have, and will, recieve the aid and protection of the church body. I cannot speak with certainty for John Piper or Mark Driscoll since I am not as familiar with their churches, but both preach (and hopefully practice) discipline against husbands who are derelict in their duties or abusive.<br><br>
    Your reference to Douglas Wilson’s article “Not Where She Should Be” does make me wonder if Douglas Wilson actually believes that dish cleaning is uniquely the wife’s responsibility. I doubt this is the case, but I will try to get ahold of him directly about this. Even so, Wilson is addressing a family situation in which everything has come unhinged. Here’s a quote:<br><br>
    “The first time the dishes are not done, he must sit down with his wife immediately, and gently remind her that this is something which has to be done. At no time may he lose his temper, badger her, call her names, etc. He must constantly remember and confess that she is not the problem, he is. By bringing this gently to her attention, he is not to be primarily pointing to her need to repent; rather, he is exhibiting the fruit of his repentance.”
    http://reformedsingles.com/not-where-she-should-be-douglas-wilson <br><br>
    In this situation the husband is trying to rebuild a functional household after the household has collapsed or been allowed to decay to the point of collapse. If you miss what Wilson says about the husband remembering that the current situation is his fault, and not his wife’s, then your reading of the rest of the article is necessarily skewed toward interpreting the whole article as advocating a micromanagement of the wife’s tasks. Obviously anyone, husband or wife, who can’t tell when the dishes need to be washed, the diapers changed, the lawn mowed or the garbage taken out has dropped off into the deep end somewhere without realizing they’re under water.<br><br>
    Moving along, I do not believe your accusation against Mark Driscoll from this video ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBNNcKIz-ws ) is justified. Driscoll never says the abuse a wife suffers at the hands of her husband is her fault; he is simply cautioning young women to not rush into marriage with unworthy men. Who wouldn’t give that kind of advice?<br><br>
    I have read some of thatmom’s blog posts, and that is yet another situation in which there is a lot of passionate verbage and virtually nothing to help fellow Christians ascertain whether or not Douglas Wilson or the other pastors which are accused of despicable patriachalist sentiments actually teach what thatmom & Co. accuse them of teaching.<br><br>
    On another point, I refuse to accept your definition that clarifications and qualifications are actually “gaslighting” and “manipulative and dysfunctional.” Husband-wife relationships mimic the Trinity and Christ’s relationship to the church, both of which are inherently complex, and then you have to mix in the messy fact that husbands are not actually the third person of the Trinity incarnate.<br><br>

     

  26. Biblical marriage: your sarcasm is well noted but you actually stated the case well.

  27. Perhaps SarahS could approach this topic from the other direction, giving some practical examples of what Scriptural wifely submission could and should look like today.  These should be examples where there is meaningful submission, not just token submission.

     

    For instance, (assuming no other motivations or manipulations) what if a husband listens to his wife’s input and then decides that she should wear a head covering at Sunday worship, even though the wife is unconvinced?  Should she submit on that issue?  Refuse?  Take it to the elders?  What if the elders don’t side with her?

     

    Agreeing that there are limits to a husband’s authority, I’m curious if SarahS could provide a few of her own examples to get an idea of how far she might be able to go in obeying the principle of submission, from the positive, affirmative side.

  28. Arwen, the link I left regarding Sproul contains links quoting him.  You are free to disregard the analysis.  It was just easier.  BJ:  In earlier times it was stated that ‘the case for slavery from Scripture was crystal clear,etc etc.”  Anyone can state something is crystal clear and the next person can come along and make a case scripturally for an opposing view.  I’m one of those that doesn’t see the crystal clarity of it.  Any example I would give of what ‘wifely submission should look like” would be exactly the same as what ‘husbandly submission’ should look like.  It should look like respect and consideration, cooperation, good will, etc.  The headcovering issue, I would think should be a woman’s decision since it is her hair and if to be done sincerely, would require her intellectual assent.  An example might be, on the matter of a vacation.  Perhaps the husband wants to go somewhere the wife is not interested in and feels will be more of a trial than restful, especially for her.  But if it’s very important to him, she might agree to do it and then he will give her the choice next year.  Something like that (non-doctrinal).  

  29. That answers that.
                                                                                                                                                                                     
    Now I’m curious what SarahS’s submission to the elders of the church might look like.  Or submission to the civil authority.
                                                                                                                                                                                     
    Since we are all interchangeable here, I’ll pay my taxes this year, but next year the government gets to pay me.

  30. Okay, I’m beyond help because I don’t see how a pastor recommending that a wife maintain a godly spirit in the face of abuse while involving the church when abuse actually occurs is nauseous. I guess I’ll just have to  live with that.

  31. Wait.
    Did katecho just create paragraph breaks without fancy workarounds?
    Can I do it, too?

  32. Nope.

  33. Catherine Marshall somewhere wrote of four married women who agreed (1) None of our husbands are fit to lead, but (2) the Bible says we should let them.  So they did, and lo and behold, their marriages improved wonderfully.   And Bill Gothard told the story of a man who was running his business into the ground.  His wife took over and saved it.  So he had lots of money to run off with the floozy who had been distracting him from the business.

  34. *sigh*  I’m not even close to vehement yet.  But I’ll admit I’m angry.  I’m so tired of this crap.  Are we going to obey the Bible, even if we don’t like what it says and even it sounds abusive at times? Yes! It’s the Bible! Don’t try to manipulate God by disagreeing with the correct interpretations of scripture, ….    No.  If it sounds abusive, assume that it actually IS abusive and go about figuring out where you went wrong in your interpretation, and BTW?  Who is defining the ‘correct interpretation’ here?   The position I’ve been in, which is related to my apparent ‘vehemence’, was one of not having any elders to appeal to in the first place b/c my dh decided homechurching was cool.  He was my elder, and my pastor.  He’s a good man, and really not all that in to patriarchy.  But he made some poor judgment calls (NOT matters of biblical command or forbidding) which affected the entire family negatively, and I was so brainwashed that I didn’t realize I could say a firm, but respectful, NO.  I’m sorry, but we ARE equals.  Intellectual, spiritual, moral equals w/ equal responsiblity for our family.  A team.  Not a president and vice, not a boss and employee, not a ‘slave w/ benefits’, not a parent and child.  My mother-in-law, is a complementarian,  from whom I received my share of flack for ‘coming out from under’ in a few instances.  Check out this story I heard from dad-in-law. (MIL is a VERY strong personality and he is more passive).  Seems that in graduate school Dad got his eye on a motorcycle.  I believe MIL was pregnant or they may have even had one child at the time.  Anyway.  He took her into the dealer to drool prominently over it and work her into agreeing.  Dad is admittedly not the finance wizard that Mom is, although he is somewhat frugal too by nature, but more impulsive. He says to me, “And M. said “NO!”  [he related in the tone he remembered her using, very forcefully].”  Hahahaha!  He was FINE with it.  She didn’t appeal, suggest, or encourage.  She TOLD him, “WE aren’t doing this.”  Good for her.  It irritated him at the time but kept them from making a costly mistake.  This is how marriage is supposed to work.  They have a marriage that I admire, regardless that I think they are mistaken in some of their theology.  And it is based on mutual respect and submission.   Katecho:  apples and oranges.  Better example:  2 partners who have differing strengths.  Each defers to the judgment of the other in his/her recognized strong areas, regardless of gender, age, or education.  Of course we’re not interchangeable.  But in many areas we can be, many more than you’d admit to, probably.  If you like I can tell you what *my husband’s* submission to civil authority and church authority looks like instead.  He follows laws he sees as reasonable and fairly convenient.  Otherwise, he doesn’t obsess about it too much.  Churchwise, they’re tagged as ‘morons’ unless he agrees w/ them.  So is that good for me too?  Sweet.  

  35. Let’s go back to the disingenuous, “it is easiest thing in the world for critics of headship and submission to claim that we are saying that men are somehow absolute, and their rule in the home to be unquestioned.”  Well, it would be pretty durn easy for me to assume that even after just a cursory reading of one single blog post by one single patriarchy proponent.  That one I mentioned before, ‘Not Where She Should Be’.  Nowhere in this post is the woman assumed to be equal in any way. She is treated, spoken to, and ‘managed’ or discipled or whatever you call it, as a child.  I would do this w/ my husband only if he were to fall victim to mental disease, Alzheimer’s, or something equally disabling that required me to view and manage him as a child.  It’s disgusting.  Many of the examples Wilson uses of how a husband may be ‘distressed’ over his wife’s shortcomings are equally as likely to occur the other way around.  Spending habits, weight gain, laziness, lack of interest in sex, rejection of…oh wait, nope, not that one, that one only goes one way.  Abdication of leadership! That would work instead.  Where’s the blog post detailing how the wife should her husband with careful loving instruction as to what her expectations are?  Oh, right, there’s *not* one b/c she can’t do this.  She presumably goes to the elders (because, penises) and they lay down the law instead.  Whatever.  Ya’ll can have your party back.  Ciao. 

  36. No, I’m not done.  Where is the woman who has her weight, television viewing habits, sexual enthusiasm, and housecleaning monitored and critiqued, and made into a spiritual issue of submission, ever supposed to find the wherewithal, the moral CAJONES, to suddenly stand up to hubs and decide that a given issue is “excessive and heavy-handed”???  And oh yeah, more than likely HE is the one forming her opinions on what is biblically commanded or forbidden, b/c he’s, you know, her SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY.  What a crapped up system.  Now I’m done. 

  37. So, when the Bible says that the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is head of the Church, what does that mean? Anything?

  38. SarahS, I know I’m asking after you answered so much and then said you were done – sorry - but do you reject the notion of  the headship of the husband categorically? It looks like you do. I’m not going to try to persuade you, but just wondering, if patriarchy is wrong per se, what difference do all your examples and scenarios make?  I mean it would be wrong even if in practical effect it wasn’t as bad as all that, right? Or am I misreading you? 

  39. Biblical Marriage, I usually disregard sarcasm (the refuge of those without a good case), but in your case, I’ll respond (in kind, of course). This issue of headship is anything but abusive. I am wondering if you read the above blog, which stated that women should not follow their husbands if abusive. Our Lord is not abusive, and He is the ultimate authority, not the husband. However, because our Lord is the ultimate authority, we must obey his commands, which includes the submission of wives to their husbands. Take it or leave it, but your issue is with Him and not those who teach patriarchy. As far as the issue of interpretation see my following post.

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    SarahS, Since you said you don’t see the crystal clarity of biblical headship in scripture, here you go: “But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” I Corinthians 11:3. “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.” Ephesians 5:22-23. I have several more, I could give. Now, these verses are not ambiguous. They are crystal clear. You either believe them or you don’t. You either obey them or you don’t. Resorting to slavery references (which is just bizarre, honestly) does not help your case. If you can make the case for slavery with this kind of clarity make it and I’ll apologize. But you cannot, so your rebuttal is bunk and reveals more about your psychology than the scriptural position.

  41. I have, at times, wondered if my inherent pragmatism in moments like this isn’t an attempt to have my cake and eat it too, but I find myself thinking: in practice, both egalitarian and the complimentarian households are served best when the husband lives a godly life and the elders of the church stand ready to defend marriages and support the abused.

  42. In the situation of a man who starts his own house church (where he is the pastor, elder, priest, pope and deacon board all wrapped up into one) you have problems totally unrelated to patriarchy. Doug has written again and again about the sort of guy who wants his wife and children to submit to him, but is not willing to submit himself to authority. None of it is good, by the way.

  43. Well, Sarah, there’s no “blog post” I can pick out just now about what the wife can do if her husband’s lack of leadership is causing problems, though I’m fairly sure there are multiple examples out there in the archives of this blog, and your “Oh, right, there is none” is possibly dishonest because it sounds like you really mean “I don’t believe it’s there so I’ll simply deny it exists.” But I CAN point you to an entire blog written by Doug’s wife, adult daughters, and daughter-in-law that deals with issues like that repeatedly and regularly. It’s called Femina and is linked right in the header of this blog. There is also the whole book written by Doug’s wife, much of which deals with exactly this kind of question, and contains answers that might surprise you, if you’re willing to hear them.

  44. No, Jane, it’s still just smoke and mirrors. Mmm…

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      Let’s see.

  45. Wow! Well, then if this doesn’t work…
                                                                                                                                                                                      …then Satan is clearly involved.

  46. All right!

  47. I believe a woman should have an attitude of always submitt to her husband in any given situation.  Then relying on God for the outcome.    
    The situation with Ananias and Sapphira isn’t that she submitted to her husband it’s that she agreed with him. There’s a difference.  There is nothing in the bible that says we have to agree with our husbands only submitt to them.  I can submitt to my husband even though I don’t agree with him.  
    If my husband wants me to do something bad then I can humbly come to him, like Daniel and his friends did about the food, and ask him to not make me do this.  But if my husband says do it anyway then I can go to God and ask God to interveen.  The bible does say that God can change the mind of kings.  Wouldn’t God help us if we ask him for help, Matt 7:9?  
    I think the husband and wife relationship is different than say the govn’t relationship.  God uses marriage as a way to describe his relationship with us.  So why would he allow us to have to choose between two evils?  Unless the wife herself hasn’t had a heart of submission to her husband so maybe God gave her over to her sin.    

  48. JohnM, I’m a sucker for asking nicely.  As I think I did already say, the headship passage(s) certainly indicate there’s a doctrinal component inherent to the issue, I’m saying not that Paul was wrong, but that we are wrong about Paul.  I appreciate this view from John Goldingay and others: “The passage [Ephesians 5:21-33] makes it absolutely clear that a biblical doctrine of headship exists, and it makes it clear what that doctrine is. Men have the unquestionable right and responsibility to let themselves be crucified for women, and women must submit to them in the sense of letting them do that.
    It is typical that Scripture should take a worldly assumption and let the cross turn it upside down. The world says, “Men have authority over women.” The Bible says, “Yes, they have the authority Christ showed on the cross.” Biblical headship is not about men deciding how to bring up the children or where the family should live. It is about letting yourself be walked on. That is the Bible’s pattern for relations between the sexes. Marriage gives you many chances to live that way; single people are called to make that their criterion for their relationships too. In our relationships, the other person comes first.”       And, your point about ‘if it’s wrong it’s wrong,” regardless of examples or scenarios is well-taken, however, there are many variations on interpretations of many Bible teachings, and often it doesn’t make a huge difference on a practical level whether you hold to interpretation A, B or C.  Patriarchy, or patriocentricity, (along w/ militant feminism, as well as militant fecundity) I believe to be of a different stripe.  It’s an example of ‘bad doctrine hurts people’.  I’ve learned that once you observe a practice (supported by a particular doctrine) that is hurting people consistently, you can quite often work backwards on the premise that is therefore unBiblical doctrine and needs to be corrected.  

  49. I really don’t see what the issue is here. The main point of the article is to use scripture to interpret scripture and to not take verses out of context. If the man is submitting to Christ, then his behavior will reflect that and there should be no problem with his headship in the family with wife and children submitting “as to Christ”. If there is any type of abuse of power, whether verbal or physical, and whether subtle or flagrant, then the man is no longer submitting to Christ. Of course we are human and sinful so we make mistakes, so unless it is deliberate and harmful to physical and emotional health, mistakes should be forgiven. In pagan tribal families throughout history, one person had to be in charge or the family would perish. This is no less true in the Christian family. How can two people be in charge? It makes no more sense than having two presidents. What if the two disagree? Who is to decide the stalemate? As for preachers/teachers, we are not supposed to obey them blindly. We know God’s will through His Word guided by His Spirit. The Reformation was all about the priesthood of the believer and that we all could read God’s truth for ourselves without a human mediator. Always compare preaching/teaching to your own reading of the Bible.

  50. BJ said: “Male headship…Now, these verses are not ambiguous. They are crystal clear. ”
    [new paragraph, supposed to be] Are you sure? Methinks, the meaning that was crystal clear in the first century is not the one you think. The Greek word we translate as “head” (“kephale”) is a word meaning the body part above the neck. In English, it also has the idiomatic meaning leader/ ruler. Many say that in first century Greek – the language Paul wrote Ephesians and Corinthians in – the word never meant ruler/ leader, and even the one scholar who still argue it means leader here (Grudem) admit that it very seldom mean leader and more often meant other idiomatic things like being the source (Eve comes from Adam), the prominent part (men was more often seen in society at the time), or being part of a unit like head and body.
    [new paragraph, supposed to be]
    These passages don’t tell men to lead – it say that in some sense the man IS the head as Jesus is the head (Eph 5:23), not “should be the head”. If he is ruler in a cruel way that Jesus does not rule he IS head like Jesus. If he don’t lead at all and let his wife lead he IS still head like Jesus. If men are head like Jesus regardless how or if they lead, it is another reason to believe that head does not mean leader in these texts.

  51. Sincere question, Sarah — what’s the specific warrant for seeing male headship as partaking only of one aspect of Christ’s headship, and not any others? Christ’s headship is not only in laying down his life, it is described as having many other aspects as well, including law-giving, conquering, teaching, present rule, etc. I am not saying that a man’s authority over his household precisely parallels all of this in every way — certainly it does not — but what is your warrant for saying none of it does in any way?

  52. If nightmarish stories are to be used to judge the matter, I can give you many featuring egalitarian marriages. 

    In truth, biblical marriage is beautiful. It is not the husband as drill sergeant or judge, but more like leading a dance. When we dance, the man leads. No one looks at the woman when we dance and remarks upon her inferiority because, after all, the man is leading. Rather, her beauty and skill is enhanced. The man on the other hand, is helped even as he leads (women tend to be the better dancers anyway). 

    While I am the head of my home, I would never dream of demanding “obedience” from my wife. She is a grown women, beautiful in talents and sharp of wit. If I have to demand obedience, I have already lost. To demand obedience is to come face to face with the fact that I am a sorry leader. 

    As it is, we both know who is the head of the home and we both want to make the best of this dance. I lead, she follows, and wow! can she dance! We are both very happy and in love after 20 years of this glorious Christian dance of marriage. To Christ be all the glory!

  53. Tammy, is there nowhere you would draw a line? If your husband told you to abort your child, would you do that? If he told you to rob a bank, cheat on your taxes, sleep with another man, convert to Islam? “But I was just submitting!” is not going to stand up as an excuse on judgment day when you have to give an account for your actions. You are still responsible for your moral choices, and not allowed to lazily pass off that responsibility to someone else.

  54. *likes Truelove’s dance analogy*

  55. SarahS wrote:

    The world says, “Men have authority over women.” The Bible says, “Yes, they have the authority Christ showed on the cross.”

    The world says funny things.  Scripture doesn’t say that men have general authority over women.  In fact, when a wife submits to her own husband, it necessarily frees her from having to submit to just any man.

    Biblical headship is not about men deciding how to bring up the children or where the family should live. It is about letting yourself be walked on.

    What of the authority of parents?  Are parents allowed to decide how to bring up their children, and where the family will live, or does a family rotate such decisions each year to give the kids a chance?  What’s with this submission of children to their parents?  Did SarahS ever submit to her parent’s decisions as a child?  Did she expect her own children to submit to her authority, or did she just let herself be walked on?  How can parents obey God’s instruction on discipline of their children without exercising real parental authority?  Notice I’m not saying that a judge exercises authority over a citizen the way that a husband exercises authority over a wife, or the way that a parent does with children, but authority relationships touch everything.
                                                                                                                                                                                    
    SarahS may not realize that there is just as much glory in the role of submission as there is in the role of authority.  I think of the example of the orphan living in an orphanage who is reading her Bible and comes across the commandment to honor her father and mother. She may either think to herself, “whew! I guess I’m off the hook on that one”, or she may conclude, “I need to honor the headmistress since she is the closest that I have to a father and mother”. I hope we can all see the strength of this attitude. This is the heart of someone who will eventually rise above her peers. This is who God uses to tell His best stories.
                                                                                                                                                                                    

    If we (especially men) have a true heart of submission, we will seek to honor godly principles to the best that we are able. … God sees our hearts and He is righteous and kind to those who are lowly of spirit and contrite.
                                                                                                                                                                                    
    A wife does not embrace submission because she’s helpless or intellectually challenged, but because she loves God’s principles and understands honor, and the power behind grateful submission. There is a glorious weightiness and strength that is pictured in this sort of relationship to which few things can compare. It is the small and insecure that are threatened by the idea of submission. It is the strong and secure who embrace and own it, and are rewarded with authority and influence from God.  (See the Son’s submission to the Father.)

  56. Valerie,
    If if if & if.  What if God wan’t sovereign, then you would have a point, but God is sovereign that’s my point.   

  57. Authur — that is correct, he is head because he is head, not because he is told to be head. But that does not mean that his headship is without specific content and responsibility. What does a head of a body do? A head leads and directs the body. If it is true that a man is head whether he tries to be or not, then it means that he is leading and directing whether he is making an effort at it or not — which means he’s doing it badly. However, a head is also part of the body, so clearly the metaphor extends to a kind of leading in which his own welfare is included, not a kind in which he is the “boss” of another, passive party. A head that is a bad head hurts himself as well as the rest of the body, but there’s no such thing as a head that gets to quit or not take the job in the first place.

  58. Tammy, you may not blame His sovereignty for your sin. Adam’s excuse of “The woman You gave me….” isn’t going to fly in reverse, either: “The husband You gave me told me [lie, cheat, steal, fornicate, murder, worship Baal], and You didn’t stop it, so it’s Your fault” is the case you’re trying to make.

  59. Arthur,
    I appreciate your thoughtful response. I have looked into the meaning of the word before and I am fully aware that there is a range of meanings for the word “kephale.” It can be referenced in Strong’s 2776. The Septuagint writers translated the Hebrew word “rosh” as “kephale.” Both mean the part of the body, and both mean leader or ruler, among other things. So the context of the verses I cited above make no sense to mean the part of the body, or as you suggested being the source of. It says that the head of Christ is God. This cannot mean that God is the source of Christ. This is the Arian heresy. In fact, that interpretation was used by Arians to support their views of denying the trinity. But those verses also say that Christ is the head of the church, and if we understand the headship of the husband differently, we must understand the headship of Christ over the church differently. But beyond the meaning of “kephale” Paul states categorically, “Wives submit to your husband.” It is a commandment. I don’t see how we can get out from under the leadership of the husband. It is a commandment we either follow or disobey. Am I missing something?

  60. SarahS – I thought your quote was great.  I think most of this debate is ships passing in the night.  For the record I absolutely agree with what Doug says about headship and I also agree with most of the things you call wrong and abusive.  What I disagree with is the assertion that Doug’s teaching leads to those things.  It is quite the opposite because Doug preaches the Gospel first & foremost.  This piece you quoted I don’t think is everything to be said but it is absolutely fundamental to a right understanding of what Christ’s headship was.  “The passage [Ephesians 5:21-33] makes it absolutely clear that a biblical doctrine of headship exists, and it makes it clear what that doctrine is. Men have the unquestionable right and responsibility to let themselves be crucified for women, and women must submit to them in the sense of letting them do that. It is typical that Scripture should take a worldly assumption and let the cross turn it upside down. The world says, “Men have authority over women.” The Bible says, “Yes, they have the authority Christ showed on the cross.” Biblical headship is not about men deciding how to bring up the children or where the family should live. It is about letting yourself be walked on.”

  61. Valerie,  that’s not the case I’m trying to make.  You think that you can’t trust your husband to do the right thing and you would be right.  But you also believe you can’t trust God to be there for you when your husband decides to do the wrong thing.  We need to stop giving women an a excuse for not submitting to our husbands.  “Oh what if my husband tells me to sin?”  What if he doesn’t?  Oh ye of little faith.  God is bigger than your husband.  Submit to God and your husband.  James 1:13,17.

  62. “What if he doesn’t?” Then obey him, of course. I’m not giving wives an excuse for not submitting to their husbands “as to the Lord,” because of course a wife should submit to any lawful direction from her husband. But by saying a wife should submit even if her husband gives her an unlawful direction, you are giving wives an excuse for not submitting to the Lord.

  63. Valerie,  So if my husband gives me an unlawful command, how do I handle the situation?  Do I disobey him right away or do I handle it the way Daniel and his friends did with the king’s food?  

  64. You handle it graciously and respectfully. Offering an alternative the way Daniel and his friends did is certainly one way to go about that if the situation allows. But if the situation doesn’t, as in Daniel 3:4-5, then immediate obedience to the Lord will mean immediate disobedience to your husband. That really gave them a chance to trust God’s sovereignty: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up’” (Daniel 3:16-18).

  65. Well said, Robert.  It is hard to argue with true love.

  66. What about asking God to change your husband’s mind?  Don’t you think you should do that too? Don’t you believe that God is able to deliver you from having to choose between two sins?  Because I believe disobeying your husband would be a sin.  I believe that Eph 5:22-24 shows us the importance of obeying our husbands.  It compares our marriage relationship with the church’s relationship with Christ.  Just like we as Christians are suppose obey Christ, it also tells us in vs. 24 that we are to obey our husbands in everything.  It doesn’t say obey your husband, unless he tells you to sin, it says everything.  So is God tempting us to sin?  No, I believe that God will deliver us.  And if he doesn’t deliver us then it’s because we’ve sinned already.Roms 1:26a  We didn’t have a submissive heart to begin with.    

  67. Sure, asking God to change your husband’s mind is another way to respectfully seek to avoid having to refuse to submit to him. I’m sure S, M, & A were praying earnestly for a way out of the furnace. And we know Jesus was praying earnestly for a way out of the cross! But God can say no to such prayers. And when He does, we’re still called to obey Him. That’s not Him tempting us to sin, it’s Him calling us to obedience in a difficult situation. (I don’t understand your reference to Romans 1:26.)                                                                                                                                                     If there’s a conflict between a wife obeying God and obeying her husband, obedience to God has to trump, making disobedience to her husband the obedient thing to do. She is not choosing between two sins. She is choosing between obedience and disobedience. Reread Doug’s post. He starts with “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man” (1 Peter 2:13), and shows that, in the larger context of Scripture, that can’t possibly mean “every ordinance without exception.” As with civil authorities, so with familial authorities: they are not absolute. God’s authority is absolute. So absolute that, by comparison, He calls us to hate everyone else (Luke 14:26).

  68. I’ll try to explain my view again.  When it comes to husband and wife relationship, a wife represents the church.  The husband represents Christ.  We are to obey our husbands like the church is to obey Christ.  This relationship is the only one that doesn’t have any ifs ands or buts.  When it comes to our relationship with other people we only obey when it doesn’t go against God.  We should still try to resolve it like Daniel, but we shouldn’t obey if they tell us to sin.  The husband and wife situation is different.  Husband’s authority is like Christ authority.  We should obey everything.  If God were to tell you to kill someone you should do it.  I don’t believe he would tell us now to do so, but he did tell Abraham.  I also don’t believe God would allow a believing husband to go that far either.  If God doesn’t interveen when a husband tells his wife to kill then it probably is because the wife hasn’t been submissive to begin with so she won’t obey anyway.  But even if the situation is not so extreme and the husbands wants her to lie.  I believe she can go through the channels again by pleading with her husband and with God.  But if God doesn’t change his mind, then I believe the sin won’t be charged against the wife, it will be charged against the husband.  Numbers 30 talks about this concerning vows.  I believe the principal is the same.  

  69. This probably isn’t nearly as clever as it sounds in my head, but what would come of a husband ordering his wife to disobey him in an ungodly request?

  70. SarahS,
    Thank you  for responding. 
    SarahS & Horace, if biblical headship is about letting yourself be walked on, one bit of clarification I would request is: Who is doing the walking?  Surely it was not Jesus’ followers, those who loved Him, who walked all over him, but the world, those who hated Him. Surely  you don’t see the relationship between Christ and His bride, The Church, as one where the bride walks on the one she calls Lord?  Likewise I hope you’re not talking about wives walking all over their husbands?
    Now if you mean it is the obligation of husbands to try to bear the brunt of the nastiness the world has to dish out, so their wives won’t have to, then I agree there an element of truth to your position.
    Even then though, I’d like ask a couple other questions: 1. Can you  not at least imagine  situations where letting a husband be self-sacrificing involves the wife stepping behind him (so to speak)?  It would still be an act of submission on her part, even where it is directly for her own good. And after all, a self sacrificing leader is still a leader, which implies someone is following. 2. Is there no obligation to self-sacrifice of any kind on the wife’s part, for the sake of demonstrating love toward her husband – and God?  Submission itself being a kind of self-sacrifice?
    Finally, I would  echo Jane Dunsworth, “Christ’s headship is not only in laying down his life”. It would be pretty hard to miss that we are called to obey Him. 

  71. Tammy, I haven’t misunderstood your view, but I must continue to disagree with you.                                                                                                                                                    
    The analogy of Christ and the church to husband and wife is a powerful one, indeed. It is more than a mere metaphor — it is the chief design feature of marriage. But it is not absolute. If it were, then it would have to work in both directions: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Ephesians 5:25) would mean that every husband would be required to die a sinless substitutionary death for his wife. Clearly that cannot be the case. Nor is it the case that a wife’s submission to her husband has identical requirements as the church’s submission to Christ.
                                                                                                                                                       
    Scripture gives us many wonderful pictures of God, His character, His kingdom, His people, etc. But even the most accurate picture of something is not the thing itself. To treat the picture of God the same as God is idolatry, pure and simple. A wife must respect her husband. She must submit to her husband in every lawful way. But she must not worship her husband. Absolute submission is worship, and it is absolutely forbidden that we do it in relation to anyone but God.

  72. And SarahS, maybe I should apologize again, since I said I wasn’t trying to persuade you.  But I did want to respond to your interpretation.  

  73. Tammy: one of the problems with your analogy as you have presented it, is that Christ does not and never will ask the Church to sin. Husbands, being fallible humans, can, may, and will.

    …………………………..

    The relationship of husband to wife being analogous to the relationship between Christ and the church, means that husbands and wives should try to emulate the relationship between Christ and the church. It doesn’t mean that the husband is capable of providing substitutionary atonement for his wife’s sins.

    ………………………………..

    And something just strikes me as wrong about excusing a wife’s sin by allowing her to say “husband said so, so it’s his fault and you can’t punish me for it”. You’re saying that a husband can tell his wife to sin, and get punished for her obedience to sin, while she gets off scot-free. If that is so, then shouldn’t a wife earnestly desire ~and take action~ to keep her husband out of trouble by not heaping sins on his accounts?

  74. Our allegience is always first and foremost to God.  When that is the case, all else falls into place.  If we begin with our other allegiences, idolatry will characterize our life. 

  75. I have no idea why you people think I’m being sarcastic (or why sarcasm is a problem… this is still Doug Wilson’s blog, right? The guy whose favorite rhetorical device is the “serrated edge”?). I do what the Bible says every time, no matter how crazy it sounds at first blush. If it’s in the Bible, I believe it. That’s why I think women have no authority over themselves or the words they speak unless their husbands approve, and they aren’t held accountable if they break their oaths under their husbands’ authority (Numbers 30:10-15), so Doug Wilson’s whole post is a mockery of God and real patriarchy. Oath breaking is normally a sin (Numbers 30: 1-2) but mere women can’t be trusted to make proper, binding oaths independent of their husbands. Women are worth about half what men are (Leviticus 27: 3-7) which is probably why the real patriarchs needed at least two of them (see Abraham, Jacob, David etc) as wives. And don’t quote that egalitarian trash about there being “neither male nor female” in Christ. CLEARLY there is male and female in Christ, or we wouldn’t have all those verses on female submission.

  76. It seems funny to say that Biblical Marriage is funny, but Biblical Marriage is funny.  In an internet sense.

  77. And all this time I thought that a wife’s worth was high above rubies.  Well, back to continuation vs. cessation…

  78. Lizbeth Anne, I’m not really understanding your comment. What in this conversation has led you to think, or to think that others believe, otherwise?

  79. @ Jane: Other than “Biblical Marriage”‘s claim that a woman is worth half of a man? ^_^

    …………………………………

    @”Biblical Marriage”: If you read further, you will see that really old people and really young people are also valued at a smaller amount than men in their prime. By your reading this would necessarily mean that elders and children are worth less than both men and women in their prime.

    ……………………………..

    You’re looking at this the wrong way, though. In the verse you quoted, men are taxed more heavily for being men, and women are taxed less heavily because they are women. It’s a subsidy, you see, in order to encourage the getting of more female children in society.*

    ……………………………..

    *(not to be taken as any kind of accurate or scholarly analysis of the verse in question.)

  80. You’re probably right, Arwen. The back and forth sarcasm (in which I confess I have also participated) tends to make things a bit confusing, though.

  81. Tammy: have you ever considered therapy for that?   Jane:  BAhahahahahahahahah!  JohnM:  No need to apologize.  I appreciate your graciousness and the fact that we are having an actual dialogue.   You brought up some great questions, and the answers are, 1) I can totally imagine situations where a husband’s self-sacrifice involves the wife stepping behind him, in fact this may compromise the majority of instances.  I can ALSO imagine instances where the husband’s self-sacrifice involves allowing the wife to step in front.  If by “front” we mean taking initiative, or having the focus on her, or using more of the family resources on her ‘vision’.  For example, going back to school.  2) There is EVERY obligation of self-sacrifice on the wife’s part.  This is what I take from ‘submit one to another’.  But unfortunately, it seems that an imbalance has been allowed to form along the faultlines of gender roles, cultural expectations, interpretation of scripture, etc.  The woman is left w/ the impression, and more often than not, the experience, that the ‘one flesh’ relationship is  one where her ‘flesh’ is absorbed in his ‘flesh’ and the two become one, but the ‘one’ they become is 99 percent him.  This was my experience.  I was that wife who bought the patriarchal propaganda hook, line, and sinker.  Glossy VF picture pages, lacy doilies, pop guns and all.  It was so attractive! It all looked very Biblical.  It almost destroyed my marriage, and that was before ever a hint of the Phillips scandal.  I myself, asked if I could begin headcovering.  I myself, brought material such as “To Train Up a Child” and “So Much More” into our home.  I continued homeschooling through 3 miscarriages and 7 babies, and Lyme disease, until my health broke irreparably.                                                                                                                   Someone here countered  w/ “Yes but I have all these horror stories I can tell about egalitarian marriages!!”  That may well be.  I’m sure it is.  I’m asserting that a good egalitarian marriage is healthy, and a good patriarchal one (despite temporary appearances) is not.  I know quite a few ‘patriarchal’ marriages that in reality are quite matriarchal.  Anyhoo, as I mentioned before, my husband is a good and largely reasonable man, but the tools I handed him little by little began to morph him into a bit of  a tyrant, increasingly insensitive, a  tool-in-training, if you will.  He never once asked me to commit an overt act of sin or lawlessness.  But there were many, many instances when my advice or judgment was patiently (or not so patiently) listened to, and dismissed.  We BOTH bought the ‘veto power’ model of headship.  Eventually it was no longer sustainable.  It was a freaking disaster.  It drove me to question everything I ever thought I knew.  I came out of that process Catholic.  I *agonized* over ‘coming out from under’ my husband’s ‘authority’.  For months.  My priest was extremely empathetic, and held the continuation of our marriage as a VERY high priority, but in all honesty he was bemused by some of my struggle.  I kept asking, “Would it be alright if I [blank]?  Could I…should I…..”  I wasn’t used to making my own decisions.  I kept apologizing for having needs, for having feelings.  I didn’t truly believe I was allowed to, or supposed to, b/c I’d spent so many many years suppressing them.   Choosing a different faith tradition from my family’s has been a rough row to hoe.  But it is teaching us all that our unity doesn’t depend on agreement.  I’ll close w/ an excerpt from John Paul II’s Mulieris Dignitatem It’s one of the writings that is helping me understand headship/submission in a healthier way, I’m still working on it!!  I want to do what’s right, what is required of me.  
    “The author of the Letter to the Ephesians sees no contradiction between an exhortation formulated in this way and the words: “Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife” (5:22-23). The author knows that this way of speaking, so profoundly rooted in the customs and religious tradition of the time, is to be understood and carried out in a new way: as a “mutual subjection out of reverence for Christ” (cf. Eph 5:21). This is especially true because the husband is called the “head” of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church; he is so in order to give “himself up for her” (Eph 5:25), and giving himself up for her means giving up even his own life. However, whereas in the relationship between Christ and the Church the subjection is only on the part of the Church, in the relationship between husband and wife the “subjection” is not one-sided but mutual.”  I don’t see why there has to be more involved in than this. 

  82. Question:  What happens, or should happen, when a husband believes in patriarchy and the wife does not, so that he expects her to submit but she refuses?  As a matter of full disclosure, I don’t believe in patriarchy (surprise, surprise), but I’m trying to get a handle on the practicalities of it when the wife flatly refuses to go along with it.  Is that grounds for him to divorce her?  May he use physical force?  Or do they simply have an impasse, and a miserable marriage?

  83. Ask a question, get laughed in the face. Okay. I’m glad my husband doesn’t do that.

  84. Sorry Jane! It slipped out!!  I’m glad he doesn’t too.  

  85. SarahS,
     
    The good news is, Wilson’s influence is far less than he’d have you believe, and will never reach the levels he’d like to have. Especially when, in those areas of where he does have some influence, like the so-called “Classical” movement, he has to pussyfoot about his beliefs and past deeds regarding slavery, civil disobedience, Christians covering up the sexual or narcotic or financial crimes of other Christians from the civil magistrate, the existence of unicorns, etc.
     
    When he has influence, it’s the Word of God marching forward manifesting through popularity. When the rest of the Evangelical or Reformed or “Classical” word rejects his ideas, it’s a reminder that popularity won’t come to those who speak truth to power. Or so he’d have this flock believe. It’s really that no one thinks about Doug Wilson outside of the crop circles he’s produced among the wheat. No one suspects the tares, after all.
     
    So feel free to take a look at his blog from time to time, as you would an issue of The Watchtower. But don’t worry too much about him. He’ll only change if he can take credit for the shift, even if that means ignoring those near and far who have convicted him inwardly of his nonsense.

    “Biblical Marriage,”
     
    You certainly have it right that Doug’s brand of patriarchal theology is full of gaps. I’m sure he’ll incorporate your thoughts into his own in coming months and years and claim he thought of it.

  86. So does that mean you’re going to explain the biblical reasoning by which one aspect of Christ’s headship is relevant to a man’s headship, and all the other aspects are categorically eliminated? Because I really want to know  — I’m sure there must be some explanation or you wouldn’t forward that as the proper biblical understanding.

  87. Yes Jane,it’s called ‘the healthy and reasonable use of the analogy, and the consideration of cultural conditions’, and b/c of the context of Eph.  5:25-27.  Thomas, that’s GREAT advice and I will take it.  I only ever chime in here when it’s about gender roles…I find that gets me pretty stirred up.  I agree as to his sphere of influence.  But I have personal reasons for opposing this nonsense that go beyond the story I shared.  

  88. I’m wondering 1) what is the problem that “biblical marriage” is intended to solve? and 2) if biblical marriage were the way to go, wouldn’t it be the natural way?  I mean, we shouldn’t have to come up with a marriage “model” of any kind, because it just doesn’t seem very likely that humans are going to purposely go along with a model rather than work these things out naturally in a way consistent with their personalities/experiences/etc.

  89. Biblical marriage is intended to solve the problems with which we were cursed when our first ancestors took it upon themselves to decide what was good and what was evil, to wit: women who seek to overthrow men, and men who seek to grind women under their boot-heels.

    …………………..

    Without the model of Biblical marriage, men adopt a naturally misogynist outlook, considering women to be ontologically inferior to men and possibly not fully human because women process and prioritize information and tasks in a different manner than men do. Men adopt a “might makes right” attitude, doing as they wish to whatever woman catches their eye, and complaining when other men interfere, while simultaneously interfering with other men who are attempting to do what ~they~ wish to whatever woman that the first man considers “his.”                                                            That is, if they don’t just write women off completely as unworthy of their time and effort, and turn to other men.

    ………………………

    Women, for their part, adopt a manipulative and contemptuous attitude toward men, using them for the economic security they can provide, in exchange for intercourse and/or heirs, and trying to make the men so dependent of them that the men will never think to abandon them. Other women are automatically rivals that must be disgraced or driven away in such a way that no blame falls on the woman doing the disgracing and driving. And should the man abandon her anyway? Well, that’s what they invented poison for, isn’t it?

    …………………….

    Lest you say either “Well, that was back in primitive and unenlightened times…”  this behavior and the attitudes that underlie it can be seen in any high school, bar, supermarket magazine rack, or daytime talk show today.

    ……………………

    Biblical marriage, in which a husband sacrifices himself to protect and provide for his wife and children, in which he forsakes all others and devotes himself to loving only the woman to whom he is married; in which a wife sacrifices herself to support her husband and raise their children, in which she forsakes all others and devotes her self to respecting the man whom she married, is a radically different way for men and women to interact. And it’s not one that comes naturally to people.

    …………………….

    We just don’t realize how radical it is because we’ve had a couple thousand years to get used to it.

  90. @ Jane – Arwen is correct; I was responding to “Biblical Marriage”‘s use of scripture regarding a wife’s worth with another passage of scripture (Proverbs 31:10).

  91. Isn’t saying that you interpret the analogy according to the “healthy and reasonable use” saying that you pre-determine what is healthy and reasonable, and then fit yoiur biblical understanding to that? The Bible says that the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is head of the church. I would think the place to go to understand the limitations and applications of that analogy is the Bible (which does have plenty to say about it), rather than my own preconceived notions of what is “healthy and reasonable,” otherwise I might as well just start with deciding what is “healthy and reasonable” all on my own without reference to the Bible at all.

  92. Thanks, Lizbeth, I got the biblical reference, I just didn’t know which way you were pointing your skewer because I’d sort of blocked out Biblical Marriage’s snark, even though I’d previously read it.

  93. @Arwen B – I think you explained it well – and @Matt – But I would add that some aspects of what we might call a biblical model is in fact inherent to human nature and the way men and women, by design, are inclined to relate to one another, e.g. men protecting, women supporting, men initiating and women responding.  The problem is the expression is always and everywhere perverted by sin, and the problem is compounded in our age by deliberate denials of the self evident and concerted efforts to bend men and women away from their distinctive natures.

  94. C. S. Lewis once said something along the lines that although democracy may be a lousy political system, it is the only one we can probably be trusted with due to our innate sinfulness.  I would not go so far as to say that the same idea applies to Christian patriarchy/Biblical marriage, but I think that those who advance it as a desideratum should be intensely involved in keeping it truly Biblical.  There is nothing in the teaching of wives submit to your husbands/Children obey your parents that leads inevitably to courtship rituals, pledging your virginity to your dad at purity balls, and deciding not to educate daughters beyond the domestic sphere.  All of these add-ons lead potentially–and some might say inevitably–to abuse.  In Chalcedon’s recent response to the Vision Forum scandal, there was a link to an article quoting a leading Christian patriarchy teacher who suggested that God provided daughters to prevent older men from straying from their wives.  I do not suggest he meant this in a wicked sense, but it must struck anyone as unhealthy for the daughter, her mother, and for the father as well.  In a closed system where there is little accountability and little opportunity for the daughter to know what is normal love between father and child (other than what she has been told), the risk of abuse is significant.  In one of the posts about the VF scandal, someone reminded us that the young woman is an adulteress.  Let’s make this hypothetical as I certainly don’t know the facts.  But a young woman raised to believe that honoring dad means providing the kind of female attention that flatters an aging man, who has little experience of the outside world, and who would likely face censure and disbelief for pointing out emotional and physical impropriety in a giant of the patriarchy movement–well, there is a word for a girl like that, and it isn’t adulteress, even a “nearly innocent adulteress.”  The word that comes to mind is victim, and the word for a man who abuses that girl is predator.  I know it has been said that there is nothing in Christian patriarchy that causes such conduct, and there is nothing in Christian patriarchy that excuses it.  But those who recommend this model of marriage should be particularly vigilant in denouncing perversions of it. 

  95. @Eric the Red,  No, NO, Yes, YES,…..

  96. @ Matt,I agree with Arwen B but would also add ‘solving the downward spiral of society  

  97. SarahS, I’m curious to know what your (and probably more significantly your husband’s) view of the patriarchy model was that led to you thinking you couldn’t have needs or feelings:
     I kept apologizing for having needs, for having feelings.  I didn’t truly believe I was allowed to, or supposed to, b/c I’d spent so many many years suppressing them.
    You’re clearly fighting against something that has deeply hurt you but I suspect if you defined clearly what you held to you would discover that most of those here sympathetic with Doug’s view would also be against the thing you and your husband believed in.
     
     

  98. Jill — what’s your basis for assuming the lady in question was a young woman with no experience outside of being a fairly young daughter of the patriarchy movement. I keep hearing this assumption being made, often with quite a bit of apparent assurance that it is correct, and perhaps there are grounds for it — but I never heard them.
     
    I still think “nearly innocent adulteress” works even in that case, though, because surely even the most put-upon daughter of the patriarchy movement has been taught that going with a man who is married to another woman is sin, and it is one of the ten clearest things in scripture. It is possible to be partially responsible and a true victim at the same time. I might even go so far as to say that one of the sins to be laid at the feet of an errant patriarchal mentality is that it sets young women up to become adulteresses.

  99. Lest you say either “Well, that was back in primitive and unenlightened times…”  this behavior and the attitudes that underlie it can be seen in any high school, bar, supermarket magazine rack, or daytime talk show today.
     

    Undoubtedly true, as human nature is pretty constant.  And I can totally agree that Ephesians is an improvement over the much more barbaric customs of the Old Testament.  But whatever the problems with marriage today, we seem to have moved well past these customs.  Misogyny, for example, is at an all-time low.  Domestic abuse has declined drastically.  Women are much more independent, meaning they have less need for the economic security that marriage provides.  At least in the West this is true; places like Africa and the Middle East are not so enlightened.  But what I want to know is what problems biblical marriage is intended to solve today.  It seems to me like we really have progressed, things really have improved.

    But I would add that some aspects of what we might call a biblical model is in fact inherent to human nature
     

    Yeah that’s kind of what I was getting at.  The model must be at least partially descriptive in order to be effective.  It leads me to the charge that today’s egalitarian marriage models won’t work because men and women aren’t equal, for some set of attributes.  It’s a challenge though for Christians; how are they going to sell this?  What are the specific problems of marriage today that can be alleviated, but without giving up the gains?

  100. Misogyny is at an all time low? I don’t think so. You just quoted Arwen’s references to high schools, magazine racks, and daytime TV, and agreed — I’m not sure how you can do that and then turn right around and claim misogyny is at an all-time low. It’s just changed colors a bit. I have my doubts about domestic abuse, as well.

  101. @ Matt: I’ll let someone else address your mischaracterization as “barbaric” of the Law of Israel as it relates to women.

    But whatever the problems with marriage today, we seem to have moved well past these customs. 

     That’s the thing though: we have not and cannot move past these… not customs, but tendencies… because they (the rebellion against authority and the usurping of authority) are an intrinsic part of our natures. All of the improvements in the treatment and condition of women ~are a direct result~ of the use and cultural influence of the Biblical model of marriage over the past 2 millennia (despite what the misogynists of both sexes will tell you).

    …………………..

    If we do not uphold and teach this model, then the entire society will slip back into the way it was before Christ, ~which it is in the process of doing.~

    ………………….

    So it’s less about “solving the problems of today” (which are the same problems of yesteryear, repackaged in a glossy cover), and more about holding the line against the corrosive influence of our own base natures. 

  102. Misogyny is at an all time low? I don’t think so.

     
    I do.  Tendencies towards misogyny are likely pretty constant, but open expression thereof has definitely declined.  Women were once considered the weaker sex (not just physically) and assumed incapable of most serious occupations.  Men had license to discipline their wives physically until rather recently.  The drastic reduction in domestic violence is well documented.  That said, misogyny can still persist in subcultures such as you would find displayed on Jerry Springer or in a high school.  But I haven’t done any kind of exhaustive survey, so if there is countervailing evidence then I’m all ears.

    I’ll let someone else address your mischaracterization as “barbaric” of the Law of Israel as it relates to women.

    Relatively barbaric.  The OT law was progressive in that it was much better (for women) than what preceded it, but still appears backwards to us.  Jesus even acknowledges this (Matthew 19:3-12).  As a parallel, feudalism is nothing we’d want a part of, but for people in the dark ages it was a step forward from the preceding anarchy.  Progress does happen sometimes.  But I’ll drop this in the interests of not derailing.

    All of the improvements in the treatment and condition of women ~are a direct result~ of the use and cultural influence of the Biblical model of marriage over the past 2 millennia (despite what the misogynists of both sexes will tell you).

    Fair enough, but secular society seems to have continued the trend on well enough.  From my perspective, we aren’t in any danger of backsliding into misogynistic barbarism anytime soon.  What specific problems are we running into that a return to a Biblical model would solve?  I can think of some possible answers, but I wonder what people here think.

  103. Jane, like you, I don’t know what is truth and what is rumor in this case.  Some people have said that this young woman was underage at the beginning of the relationship, that her parents were church adherents, and that she was a nanny in the Phillips’ household.  I have absolutely no idea whether that is true,  It could be complete fabrication.  That’s why I wanted to pose it hypothetically.  I think your last remark is very insightful.  But–again, hypothetically–in an inappropriate relationship that stops short of explicit sexual interactions, would a young woman raised in the manner I described be able to see the bright line that she is about to cross?  One of the VF father-daughter conferences posted descriptions of games in which girls shaved their daddies and do other things that, while innocent in themselves, tend to suggest that the daughter’s role in regard to her dad is to care for him like wife in training.  I don’t want to get icky here but my point is a girl raised in any way suggesting that she is an apprentice or surrogate wife to her dad might not know where the boundaries are.  This hypothetical girl would undoubtedly recognize intercourse as sinful; she might not know that “Here, sweetie, come sit on my lap,” might also be wrong.  And–hypothetically–if a girl were placed by her parents into the home of a church leader, she might believe she owed that leader the same type of obedience she owes her father.  That is why I think a girl from this background would be adulterous only if she had the knowledge and experience to say no.   If a church leader had suggested kissing and cuddling to your daughter or my daughter or Mr. Wilson’s daughters, he would be one sorry would-be adulterer.   But they were trained in healthy obedience and healthy affection.  They would see the difference between getting dad his coffee and giving him a massage, and if they didn’t see it, their moms would sure set them all straight.  I think this is very difficult.  But if this relationship was in fact not a consensual one between two adults, or if her consent was meaningless because of her circumstances, I still regard her as a victim.

  104. You know what — I DO take back the adulteress thing because in all the furor I forgot that no physical adultery took place, by Phillips’ own account. So I apologize for that part of it, and it really does put things in a different light than I presented it. While a woman of whatever age in such a situation MAY have strong culpability in her own actions, as you point out, the other possible extreme, that she was lured into inappropriate interactions, that Phillips knew were inappropriate but she did not, because boundaries had gotten deeply confused and was therefore quite innocent, is equally possible. Or it’s possible that it is somewhere in between.<blockquote></blockquote>And not specifically related to your comments, Jill, but I am mightily disgusted with this whole approach flying around of “we won’t say who this woman is because we respect her confidentiality but we will subject Phillips to all the downsides of revealing as much about her identity as possible.” If you (the rumor mongers, that is) are not willing to identify her, do not use her identity against Phillips. If you are not free to identify her, you shouldn’t be talking about her identity in any way, in public.

  105. I just don’t see how anyone can live in the midst of the hookup culture and the abortion culture and the p8rn culture and claim misogyny has declined. How can all-pervasive and widely accepted be a decline from anything?

  106.  Women were once considered the weaker sex (not just physically) and assumed incapable of most serious occupations.

    You can thank the “Enlightenment” thinkers for that one, when they decided that the ancient Greeks had the right of it regarding women.

    From my perspective, we aren’t in any danger of backsliding into misogynistic barbarism anytime soon

    Asked and answered. If you don’t think it barbaric and misogynist that secular society expects women to look sexually alluring to all men at all times, and to kill their children (half of which, statistically speaking, are female) if those children could adversely affect the woman’s prosperity and/or social life, then there is nothing I can say to persuade you.

  107. ” how anyone can live in the midst of the hookup culture and the abortion culture and the p8rn culture and claim misogyny has declined”
    I suppose because all those things don’t necessarily say “misogyny” only and primarily. They may say that too, and whatever they say about the culture is obviously not good, but I myself don’t look at all that and think misogyny above all else. I do think of the complicity of women, without in the least letting men off the hook.
     

  108. I just don’t see how anyone can live in the midst of the hookup culture and the abortion culture and the p8rn culture and claim misogyny has declined. How can all-pervasive and widely accepted be a decline from anything?

    @Jane: too right! He’s neck-deep in that old Egyptian river, seriously…

  109. @John: I submit for consideration the idea that passionate antipathy (“hate”) is very little different in effect on its object, than active indifference to the well-being of the object coupled with self-love and self-interest so strong that it precludes consideration of anything other than one’s own pleasure.

    ………….

    …which is the basis for all of those society-destroying practices listed above.

  110. @Arwen
    “…which is the basis for all of those society-destroying practices listed above.”
    In which, as I said, women are complicit.  Using as much a used.  Doing it to obtain their wicked hearts desire as much as any man. Hate, maybe yes. Misogyny specifically, maybe not so much.  

  111. I agree that it’s not only misogyny, but it couldn’t happen without widespread and broadly acceptable misogyny. If women were not hated by the men who use them and the men who profit from their use, they could not be used in that way, no matter how willing they were.

  112. Josh: that is such a hard thing to pin down.  Like Marianne in Sense in Sensibility: it was never professedly declared but every day implied.. now that I try to write it down, I find it’s all fairly personal and not sure I want to share it in detail.  But in general, I guess I always (even growing up IFB) got a message about women that strongly implied that, if she did have the right to feelings and opinions of her own, it wasn’t quite “quite” to express them.  Meekness, quietness, passiveness…you know, submission!  Women were the conquerees, the conquestees.  Oh, their worth was above rubies and all.  But I recall watching a pregnant friend, mother of 7, as she scurried around in exhaustion at a home church fellowship getting a plate for each small child, as her healthy and well rested husband waited, seated,  not-so-patiently for his.  I know of women whose husbands worked in secular well paying jobs, who didn’t have access to a vehicle, isolating them in their homes.  Who were denied the right to birth in a hospital, or convinced it was less spiritual.  Who were gently instructed to serve their husband’s vision…which implies they shouldn’t or couldn’t have one of their own.  Women and daughters whose husband/father chose what they could wear, how to  style their hair,  their friends, monitored their hobbies, supervised their meal planning, decided when they were going to get pregnant….(well that one applies to wives only)….reading material, how to vote, you know, just like in “not where she should be’ here on this blog.  All that highly respectful and treasuring sort of behavior.  The kind that makes it crystal clear how she’s equal in every way except for not being.  

  113. Jane, you were so gracious in your reply (and I didn’t take the last comments personally) that I wish I could simply agree with you.  I understand your distaste, and in a different context, I would share it.  I would share it if I believed the young woman to be a mature adult who shared equal guilt for the relationship.  But when one party is potentially a victim, and other is someone who is using his power in order to be a predator, I think different rules apply.  I find this case (from what I know of it) too much reminiscent of the Catholic clergy scandals which fill every honest Catholic with so much pain and shame.  I do have personal feeling here.  As a young teacher in a Catholic high school, I heard rumors of misconduct that I was too high minded and loyal to the church to believe.  And when priests I actually knew and defended finally admitted guilt, I was appalled that I had not been someone those children could have turned to with certainty that I would be on their side.  My loyalty was to the institution at the expense of the victims.  Perhaps these are not parallel situations.  I never turned a child away with a statement of disbelief.  But I did nothing to verify or disprove rumors which, looking back, should have filled me with horror and a sinking feeling that they might be true.  Clearly I have been reading the blogosphere about Phillips, and what I am seeing is not a desire to “pile on” guilt but rather a belief that people within this movement should have seen this coming.  It is more or less an accepted convention that we don’t name victims of sexual misconduct.  Phillips has admitted guilt so this is not a question of blackening the name of a someone who may be innocent.  It is a question of understanding how this happened.  In order for the Catholic church to clean house, it was necessary to understand the particular toxic atmosphere and the loose boundaries that enabled this evil to flourish.  I don’t think this could have been done without being willing to examine root causes even if they led to public discussion of the pattern of misconduct of a particular priest.  I hope this makes some kind of sense.  Again, I appreciate how graciously you responded to me.

  114. Jill, I’m not saying that people close to the situation, in a position to respond to it constructively, should maintain a skeptical or detached view. I’m saying people sitting around in the Internet, whose business extremely little of it is in the first place, should not be fast and loose with the details that hurt one side and protect the other, claiming all the while that they’re respecting confidentiality. Certainly people close to the situation should be open to discovering whatever there is to be known.

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