An underlying root problem with Christian Egalitarianism is a belief system that is completely at odds with Biblical authority. Christian Egalitarians believe they are simply rebelling against male domination and oppression of women, but in reality they are rebelling against the design and authority which God has established.
The Bible establishes many different types of Authority
We are to submit to our civil authorities
“13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 14 or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.”
I Peter 2:13-14(NASB)
We are to submit to our Church authorities
“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not [b]with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.”
We are to obey our employers
“Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God;”
Children are to obey their parents
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.”
Wives are to submit to and obey their husbands
“Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”
We obey God, when man’s rule conflicts with God
“We ought to obey God rather than men.”
This issue of authority is one of those areas where the fallacy of Christian Egalitarianism can be clearly seen. We understand that countries, states, cities, churches and businesses need leadership. There must be a chain of command for these organizations to properly function. In each of these areas, there are executives to give direction to the organization and settle disputes.
But Egalitarians say, in perhaps the most foundational of all human groupings, that of marriage, there is no head, no leader. For them it is a partnership of equals with no one to set the direction, or settle disputes. They have no problem with the Bible telling us to submit to our government authorities, or our managers at our jobs. Christian Egalitarians would certainly not have a problem with the Biblical teaching that children should obey their parents.
But when it comes to wives submitting to and obeying their husbands, they are ready to reinterpret or remove those passages, and deny any authority within marriage.
I believe the reason for the rejection of male authority in the home by Christian Egalitarians is that it hits them where they live. Governments can (and should) only exercise limited authority, as well as our employers and churches. But in the home, if the Bible is read at face value, the women is to submit to her husband in “everything”(Ephesians 5:24).
This scares people, such authority could be abused. So they deny it and say no one should have to be under such absolute authority of another human being, or so they think.
It must also be pointed out here that no human authority has absolute power. Not a king, not a president, not a governor, not an employer and not even a husband. Each human authority has it’s sphere of power and responsibility and its limits. Only God has absolute authority.
For instance a husband while being his wife’s head, cannot order his wife to break the speed limit. That is a law set by the civil government, and it is within their sphere of authority to make such a law. A husband cannot order his wife to cover up him committing a murder or raping or abusing people as these things violate both the laws of God and the laws of man.
If a husband is physically abusing his children or his wife or is asking his wife to violate the laws of man (as long as those laws don’t violate God’s law or usurp the boundaries God has placed on all authorities) or the laws of God then she has not only the right, but the responsibility to resist him and go to his authorities(whether civil or church) for them to exercise discipline upon him.
A wife has the right to be freed from the tyranny of husband who physically abuses her or her children or threatens her life or the life of her children.
See this post I wrote on this subject “Does the Bible allow divorce for physical abuse?”.
What they do not realize is, man’s authority over woman is not meant to crush her, but to protect her, just as God lovingly but firmly leads us as his people.
I hope that Egalitarians reading this will prayerfully reconsider their beliefs, and truly think them through from a Biblical perspective. God gives us authority for our good, not for our demise.
Only by submitting to God’s authority in all areas of our life, whether they are civil authorities, church authorities, our managers at work, as well as the authority that God has established in the marriage and in the home can we truly find peace and be pleasing to God.
Previous article on Christian Egalitarianism
5 thoughts on “Christian Egalitarianism’s rebellion against male authority”
Sadly, in not a few marriages, there is an ongoing struggle for who is going to lead, Will it be the wife? Or, will it be the husband? A power struggle is going on in many marriages and that does not help to strengthen marriages.
I agree there is a power struggle going on many marriages in the Western world. But that is because Westerners generally have a rebellious attitude toward authority in general. From a Biblical Christian world view, there is no struggle if we follow God’s ways. He tell us to submit to our governments, to submit to our employers and to submit to our church leaders. He tells women to submit to their husbands, and children to submit to their parents.
Yes there is an exception clause for all these human authorities, whether they be civil, church,employers or even a husband. If any of these authorities tells us to do something we know will directly contradict God’s Word then we ought to do as the Scriptures teach – “Obey God rather than man”. But this should be the exception, and not the norm.
I notice that the Christians who are big on submission are usually very patriotic, flag-waving types. Yet the American Revolution was a rebellion against male authority, in violation of Romans 13:1-7. Similiarly, I have never heard a woman speak as disrespectfully to or about her husband the way many Christians speak about President Obama. There is even a pastor in my own community who writes anti-Obama columns for popular conservative websites. Perhaps you men should start role modeling submission in your own lives.
The subject of the American Revolution is a big topic that Christians have some disagreements on. I invite you to check out this well written post by Wallbuilders where they list several statements from the founding fathers and the Christian beliefs that the revolution was Biblically justified.
I will just say that no human authority has absolute power – not even a husband. Romans 13 was not saying earthly governments had absolute power. In fact it even sets their bounaries – they have the power to punish evil doers. They are not given the power to oppress innocent people or murder people or come into people’s homes and rape and pillage their own people. In the same way that a wife is to be freed from her husband if he does not provide for her or if he physically abuses her, so to a people can be freed from an oppressive regime that violates God’s laws.
The American colonists sought a peaceful resolution with their differences with England and England responded with sending 25,000 troops some which stormed people’s homes, beat people and in some cases they murdered unarmed men. This was a justified cause to resist such unrighteous behavior.
But check out that link – it goes into a lot more detail.
Thank you for this article. The most helpful part, for me, was that you recognize how frightening it can feel to submit to another (imperfect) human being in “everything.” Thank you for recognizing that submitting to a husband 24 hours a day for the rest of your life is different from submitting to a boss during work hours. I couldn’t even attempt submission in marriage without the Holy Spirit to help me. Though I still have much to learn, I praise God that He is teaching me to be the woman He created me to be.
I was married to my husband for 18 years before I had any idea that it was God’s will for a wife to submit to her husband. At first I thought that the idea was crazy and that people who believed this way were just men interpreting scripture for their own gain.
So, I started reading the Bible—a lot. I read Ephesians 5, 1 Timothy 2 and 1 Corinthians 11 over and over again. It is embarrassing to admit how much 1 Corinthians 11:7 made me cry. I was so afraid that verse meant that, as a woman, I could not bring glory to God—or that God valued me less because of my gender.
Through much prayer and reading of scripture, I’ve learned that nothing could be farther from the truth. It is true that God gives people authority on earth, but He doesn’t love them based on how much authority they have. What God expects from a man who is born a king is, in the end, exactly the same thing he expects from a man who is born a servant: obedience. Obedience may look different from person (depending on the station God has given one in life), but it is demanded of every person as evidence of our love. As a woman, God expects me to obediently submit to my husband. I may never fully understand all the reasons why, and I don’t need to. I want to please God, and in His word He has given me instructions for how to do so.
Again, thank you for this encouraging series of articles.