Previously I have shown Domestic Discipline to be both a Biblical concept as well as a historical practice amongst husbands for thousands of years on my Instagram page @biblicalsexandiscipline and on my blog Biblicalgenderroles.com as well as podcasts series on BGRLearning.com.
This new 3-part podcast series is not a like any of my previous writings on the subject of Domestic Discipline. It is not a defense of Domestic Discipline. I have already done that in my previous posts like “The Biblical Case for Domestic Discipline” . This podcast series is about the practical application of Domestic Discipline. It is based on my real-world experiences doing personalized mentoring programs with more than 20 husbands over the past 4 years. Most of these husbands never believed their wives would ever accept CDD, but today the majority of their wives do.
How does a Christian man go about introducing Domestic Discipline into his marriage and what techniques actually work? What kinds of reactions can he expect from his wife as he introduces this into his marriage and how should he respond to his wife’s reactions? All of these questions and more are answered in this podcast series.
Not only do their wives accept the particular program of domestic discipline that I teach – but through this particular domestic discipline program these husbands have achieved 100 percent submission from their wives. In other words, they have achieved complete dominion over their wives as God commanded of Adam and all husbands in Genesis 3:16.
And let me be clear what I mean by “100 percent” submission. I don’t mean their wives are perfect and sinless. What 100% submission means is these wives have eliminated the phrase “I am not comfortable with that” from their speech to their husbands. And if they fail to submit or they fail in other duties as wives – they willingly accept Domestic Discipline.
Click on the image at the top or you can click here to go BGRLearning.com to subscribe and listen to this series as well as hundreds of other biblical gender roles related podcasts.
The unfortunate reality is that there are many Christian teachers out there who claim to embrace Biblical patriarchy, when in fact they are simply complementarians in sheep’s clothing. Doug Wilson is one of those teachers who claims to be a believer in Biblical Patriarchy but essentially, he is a Complementarian when it comes to marriage. I am not saying complementarians are evil people. I used to be one. And I am not saying Doug Wilson is a bad person, or even questioning whether he is a genuine Bible believing Christian – because I believe he is a good Christian man. But what I am saying is this. If you want to learn about the true and historic Christian views of biblical gender roles which are encapsulated in Biblical Patriarchy – do not use the writings of Doug Wilson as your source of what true Biblical Patriarchists believe.
But before I get into why I believe Doug Wilson is a counterfeit Biblical Patriarchist, I first want to review with you the three systems of Biblical interpretation we see in Christianity today as it relates to gender roles.
Biblical Patriarchy is a belief system which reflects the historic Christian view of biblical teachings regarding gender roles. Is derived from a natural and literal reading of the Biblical texts of both the Old and New Testaments. This natural and literal reading reveals that God has designed the family unit as a patriarchy or literally “father ruled” institution. The children obey their parents, and the wife obeys her husband as her earthly lord as the church obeys Christ. Also, Biblical Patriarchy accepts the Biblical teachings that men are to rule over women not just in the home, but also in the church and civil society.
Egalitarianism (otherwise known as Christian Feminism) is a philosophy which fully embraces everything secular humanism teaches, minus the atheism. Because of this, Egalitarians reject much of the Bible’s teachings on patriarchal order and they claim that Christ came to redeem us from the “evils of patriarchy”. Many Christian Egalitarians are honest in the fact that they reject the concept of Biblical inerrancy knowing their belief system is incompatible with a belief in Biblical inerrancy. Some attempt to say they still believe in Biblical inerrancy, but to do so they have to utterly mangle many texts in the Bible from their clear and natural readings.
Egalitarians believe women should have equal rights with men, that that they should be able to be pastors and teachers of men in churches and that they should be able to hold authority over men in civil offices. They believe that marriage is an equal partnership between a man and woman, not a patriarchy.
“Complementarianism was started as a reaction to the false teachings of egalitarianism. The term “Complementarian” was coined by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) in 1988…
John Piper explains that complementarianism was designed to take the “middle ground” between what he and other Christian leaders saw as “two kinds of errors” in the churches…
In the complementarian view, a husband may only lead his wife by example or suggestions to her, but he may never lead her by commanding her or seeking to control her through coercive methods. And it is precisely because of the denial that male domination of woman is God’s command, that complementarianism teaches a hollow and weak form of male headship and female submission in the home.
When it comes to the doctrines of the Bible concerning gender roles, there is no “middle ground” and no room for compromise with egalitarianism. Complementarianism is a counterfeit doctrine of male headship and female submission.”
The “two errors” which pastors like John Piper meant to address with their new “Complementarian” approach to the Scriptures were Egalitarianism and Biblical Patriarchy. In other words, John Piper and many conservative Bible preaching pastors had come to the position that the historic Christian view of gender roles which Biblical Patriarchy espoused, was in error. That Christians had misunderstood the Bible’s teachings on gender roles for 2000 years and Complementarians finally got it right in 1988.
But the truth is that Complementarianism was simply a new way of interpreting the Bible to make it better placate our post-feminist society without fully going over to Egalitarianism. Oh, for sure Piper and many other big complementarian evangelical preachers will claim that they oppose feminism. But when you really drill down into it, they embrace a great deal of feminist values. And the truth is they believe they had to. For them to stay faithful to what the Bible actually teaches and what Biblical patriarchy espouses would have cost them dearly in terms of the membership and offerings.
And now that I have shown you the distinctions between egalitarianism, complementarianism and Biblical patriarchy I can now get to the heart of the matter regarding Doug Wilson.
Why Doug Wilson is a Counterfeit Biblical Patriarchist
In the Scriptures, God has established three main spheres of human authority and those are the family, the church and civil government. And God has granted the authorities in each of these spheres the power and responsibility to discipline those under their authority.
The methods of discipline which God allows are different for each sphere of authority. God grants civil government the power to not only use corporal punishment, but also the power to use capital punishment (Deuteronomy 25:1-3, Romans 13:4). God does not grant the power of corporal punishment or capital punishment to the church, but rather the church has the power of excommunication (1 Corinthians 5). God does not grant the power of capital punishment to the family, but he does allow corporal punishment within the family sphere of authority.
Many Christians, including Doug Wilson, would not disagree with parents disciplining their children, either through corporal punishment or other non-physical means. In fact, Doug Wilson encourages parents to spank their children as long as it done in a loving manner. In his article “Loving Little Ones 1” [Loving Little Ones 1 | Blog & Mablog (dougwils.com) ]Wilson writes:
“Discipline is corrective, and it is applied for the sake of the one receiving it. It is not punitive, and it is not rendered for the sake of the one giving it.
When you are spanking a child, you are either being selfish or you are being selfless—one or the other. You are doing it because you are exasperated, frustrated, beside yourself, and frazzled, or you are doing it as a fragrant offering to the God of your fathers.”
But then we come to an article written by Doug Wilson that was recently sent to me by one of my readers. The article is entitled “And Now a Brief Word for the Wife Beaters”. Below is an excerpt from that article:
“I am far from denying the biblical truth that a rod is for the back of fools (Prov. 26:3Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)). Nor do I deny that a woman could be numbered among such fools. But such a woman would be far gone in her folly, and the only fool bigger than that would be the guy who married her. So before we beat her for her uppity rebellions, I would suggest we flog him for being such an idiot. If he were to object that this is mean-spirited and unjust, I would reply that it sounds to me that he has been influenced by the spirit of egalitarianism. Must be one of those new softie men.
Since the difficulty was apparently found in my #11, let us discuss that for a moment.
“The Bible does not teach husbands to enforce the requirement that was given to their wives. Since true submission is a matter of the heart, rendered by grace through faith, a husband does not have the capacity to make this happen. His first task is therefore to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He is to lead by example.”
The key words here are enforce and make. No mortal can force such a thing. It does not come from right-handed power.”
Wilson makes it clear in the article above that he is completely opposed to a husband disciplining his wife in any way, whether it be physically or non-physically. He denies that a husband has the right to seek to compel his wife’s submission to him by any means and that he may only lead by example.
He is teaching exactly what Complementarianism teaches, that the husband is a figure head leader to his wife. As true believers in Biblical patriarchy, we would agree that husbands should lead by example. But husbands are also compelled by God to lead by disciplining their wives as well.
In Ephesians 5:25 the Bible commands husbands to love their wives “even as Christ also loved the church” and Christ said to his churches in Revelation 3:19 “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent”. A man that does not rebuke and chasten his wife is not loving his wife as Christ loves his church. That is clear teaching of the Scriptures. And that is why Christian husbands who ascribed to the teachings of the Bible for centuries had disciplined their wives both physically and non-physically.
The Bible may not mandate physical discipline for wives, but it does mandate that a husband use some form of discipline with his wife. And no Biblical principle or command would disallow a husband from physically disciplining his wife.
We have clearly established from Doug Wilson’s own words that he believes husbands do not have the power to compel the obedience of their wives and that they may only lead by example. A person who may only lead by example is not an authority at all, but rather they are just a figure head. Therefore, Wilson has reduced husbands to mere figure head leaders of their wives and not real authorities over them. And this teaching that a wife’s submission to her husband is voluntary, and may not be compelled from her husband, is a core tenant of complementarianism.
The Scriptures tell us that wives are to regard their husbands as their earthly lords (1 Peter 3:5-6) and to submit to them “as unto the Lord…in everything” (Ephesians 5:22-24). There is no other human authority where God commands those under them to submit to them “as unto the Lord” except the husband. The husband’s authority over his wife is far greater than that of a father’s authority over his children because the husband’s authority is lifelong and he also has sexual authority over his wife.
The husband’s authority, unlike that of civil authorities and church authorities, is a very personal authority. No other authority has such control over the personal day to day decisions of another human being. No other authority has such control over another person’s body. And that is why the true Biblical teaching of a husband’s authority over his wife is so threatening and scary to Americans and other Westerners who fully ascribe to individualism.
If you talk to Biblical Patriarchists online or in person you will find that a core doctrine they believe in is that of the husband’s responsibility to discipline his wife. Some might not believe a husband has the God given authority to spank his wife, but they believe that husbands have the right and responsibility to discipline their wives in some form or fashion.
Doug Wilson, and other complementarians, have taken the husband from being the greatest human authority God ever established (aside from Christ himself) to making the husband the weakest authority. And in truth, the husband is not really an authority at all, but merely a figure head leader.
I am sure Doug Wilson is a good Christian man just like John Piper is. But while he may be a good Christian man, Doug Wilson in fact a counterfeit Biblical Patriarchist.
For more on the Biblical case for and historic precedent of wife spanking (aka Domestic Discipline) I would encourage you to read these articles I wrote on the subject:
In Hebrew and Greek, the original languages of the Bible, there is no word for husband. Instead, the Bible uses two words to refer to husbands and these words can refer to men that are not husbands as well.
In the Hebrew of the Old Testament husbands are often referred to as “ish” which means “a male human being” and the New Testament also uses the Greek equivalent word for male which is “aner” to refer to husbands. In other words, one of the ways to refer to a woman’s husband in ancient times was simply to refer to him as “her man”.
The second word which the Bible uses to refer to a woman’s husband is very offensive to modern ears. The Hebrew word “baal” is used 15 times in the Old Testament to refer to a woman’s husband. The Hebrew word “baal” means “master/owner”. There is also an adverb use of “baal” which means “owned”. The word is used to refer to masters, home owners, a pagan deity and to husbands.
The following passage from the book of Exodus illustrates the use of baal where it is not a referring to a woman’s husband.
“7 If a man shall deliver unto his neighbour money or stuff to keep, and it be stolen out of the man’s house; if the thief be found, let him pay double.8 If the thief be not found, then the master [BAAL] of the house shall be brought unto the judges, to see whether he have put his hand unto his neighbour’s goods.
9 For all manner of trespass, whether it be for ox, for ass, for sheep, for raiment, or for any manner of lost thing which another challengeth to be his, the cause of both parties shall come before the judges; and whom the judges shall condemn, he shall pay double unto his neighbour.
10 If a man deliver unto his neighbour an ass, or an ox, or a sheep, or any beast, to keep; and it die, or be hurt, or driven away, no man seeing it:11 Then shall an oath of the Lord be between them both, that he hath not put his hand unto his neighbour’s goods; and the owner [BAAL] of it shall accept thereof, and he shall not make it good.
12 And if it be stolen from him, he shall make restitution unto the owner [BAAL] thereof.”
Exodus 22:7-12 (KJV)
Notice in the passage above that baal is translated as “master” in verse 8, then as “owner” in verses 11 and 12. The reason for this that baal in the context of a house meant the head of household or literally the master of the house. But in the context of goods being held or exchanged, baal referred to the owner of the goods.
Now let’s look at the following passage refers to a husband’s mastery and ownership over his wife:
“If a man be found lying with a woman married [BAAL used as verb] to an husband [BAAL used as noun], then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.
Deuteronomy 22:22 (KJV)
The phrase “a woman married to an husband” is most literally translated from the Hebrew as “a woman owned by an owner”.
In the Proverbs 31 regarding the virtuous wife, the Bible refers to her husband not as her “ish” (her man), but rather as her “baal” (her master):
“10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband [BAAL – master] doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil…
23 Her husband [BAAL – master] is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land…
28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband [BAAL – master] also, and he praiseth her.“
Some Christians, unwilling to accept the Biblical teaching that a husband is the master and owner of his wife, have tried to claim that since “ish”(meaning man) is used more often than “baal” to refer to a woman’s husband that this is how God wants a wife to see her husband, as her man and not as her master. These Christian’s see a husband’s mastery over his wife as a result of sin and something God only temporarily allowed.
Some have even tried to point to the following Old Testament passage to say God’s preference is for women to see their husbands as their “man” and not “master”:
“And it shall be at that day, saith the Lord, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali.”
Hosea 2:16 (KJV)
In the passage above God was not giving up his mastery over his wife, Israel. But rather he saying he wanted her to see him as BOTH her man and her master. Ishi was the tender and affectionate way that women sometimes referred to their husbands. In essence, God wanted his wife Israel to say to him “You are not just my master, but you are my man”.
The passage below from the New Testament, settles once and for all whether or not a husband’s mastery over his wife was a result of sin or his design from the beginning of creation:
“For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord [Greek KURIOS – “master”]: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.”
1 Peter 3:5-6 (KJV)
The fact that the Apostle Peter commands women, Christian women, to follow the examples of Old Testament women like Sarah who called their husband’s “lord” (master) confirms for us that a husband’s mastery over his wife was God’s design from the very beginning of creation.
How Masters of Wives Became Husbands
Many centuries after the New Testament was finished, English, like other languages came up with a new word to refer specifically to the master and owner of a wife. Originally husband meant “master of the house”. So the early English translations of the Bible translated “baal” as “husband” instead of master as they believed it helped refer to a specific kind of master, the master of a wife.
In no way was the translation of a master of a wife as “husband” meant to weaken a man’s authority over his wife. English common law, following Biblical law, recognized a husband’s full ownership over his wife and children. When it came to his wife, a man could override any of his wife’s decisions and had complete control over her life, again in keeping with Biblical law (see Numbers 30, Ephesians 5:22-24:).
American Society Rejects the Mastery of Husband Over His Wife
The term “master” in our American society is seen as a very negative term and evokes images of slave masters acting cruelly toward their slaves. But in the Bible, the term master was not automatically associated with slavery or cruelty. It recognizes that there were just slave masters and cruel slave masters.
The Bible also recognizes a concept that we as 21st century Americans cannot understand. That to be owned and master by someone does not automatically make you a slave. In other words, while a husband is his wife’s master, meaning that he does own her and control her life, that does not make her his slave.
The Bible shows that husbands as masters of their wives have far greater responsibilities toward their wives than masters of slaves. In Ephesians 5:25-29, the Bible commands that husbands are to be willing to give their lives to protect their wives, they are to lead, teach, provide for and care for their wives as Christ does his church.
The Bible is clear that God wants Christian women to recognize their husband’s as more than their “life partners” or “friends” and even more than their leaders. God wants wives to recognize their husband’s as their earthly masters who have full control over their lives.
Full acceptance of the Biblical teaching of a husband’s mastery over his wife requires both a Christian husband and a Christian wife to reject the belief in the full autonomy of women. This modern belief that women have the same rights and freedom as men is enshrined in our American laws. But these laws giving women the same rights and freedom as men are null and void in the eyes of God and we as Christian husbands and wives must consider these laws null and void as well if we are to have marriages that are faithful to God’s design.
It will require great courage for Christian men to reclaim their birthright and responsibility of mastery over their wives in this post feminist era. And it will require great humility on the part of Christian women to fully embrace their husband’s mastery over them.
Let us pray for a courageous generation of Christian men and a humble generation of Christian women to return our society back to God’s design for marriage.
In this second article in our series on domestic discipline, we will be looking at the 19th century suffragette (feminist) view of domestic discipline. To do this we will look at two primary sources. The first is the Declaration of Sentiments which was issued from the first woman’s rights conference in 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York.
The second source we will be looking at is a book entitled “History of Woman Suffrage: 1848-1861”, written by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan Brownell Anthony and Matilda Joslyn Gage in 1881. This book is also a valuable resource in understanding the historical view of domestic discipline. Less than 20 years before this book was published, state courts in America were still upholding a man’s right to use corporal punishment with his wife. It was only in the 1870s that courts began striking down this common law right and later states would begin enacting laws against it.
The Declaration of Sentiments
The Declaration of Independence was America declaring its independence from England and the Declaration of Sentiments was women declaring their independence from men. Below is a portion of the Declaration of Sentiments issued from the first woman’s rights conference in 1848:
“The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has made her, morally, an irresponsible being, as she can commit many crimes, with impunity, provided they be done in the presence of her husband. In the covenant of marriage, she is compelled to promise obedience to her husband, he becoming, to all intents and purposes, her master – the law giving him power to deprive her of her liberty, and to administer chastisement.”
As Bible believing Christians, we can and should recognize the 1848 Declaration of Sentiments for what it was and still is today. A declaration of war on God’s institution of patriarchy. And the sad truth is, that more than 170 years later that war has been mostly won by feminists. Those who still hold to God’s design of patriarchy have been forced into hiding, with their only option to fight a spiritual guerrilla warfare against those who seek to eradicate the last pockets of resistance to the reigning humanist regimes.
“In the covenant of marriage, she is compelled to promise obedience to her husband”
The common laws of the land in this case were strongly aligned with the Word of God as seen in Titus 2:4-5:
“That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, OBEDIENT to their own HUSBANDS, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”
In fact, we can rightly say that the Declaration of Sentiments complaint against women being compelled by common law to be obedient to their husbands was blasphemy against the Word of God.
The Husband is “to all intents and purposes, her master”
Again, the Scriptures are crystal clear on this point calling women to regard their husband’s as their earthly lords (their masters) in 1 Peter 3:5-6:
“For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.”
The Greek word used in 1 Peter 3:6 is “kurios” which means master. It is used in reference to kings, governors, slave masters, husbands and to God himself in the Bible. All of these masters were authorities instituted by God over different spheres, but God is the LORD and master of all. The Hebrew equivalent of the Greek kurios is “baal” which means “owner, lord, master”.
In Deuteronomy 22:22 we see the following example showing the husband’s ownership over his wife:
“If a man be found lying with a woman married [‘baal’ used as verb] to an husband [‘baal’ used as noun] , then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.”
The passage above demonstrates that under God’s law a married woman is an owned woman, and her owner is her husband.
The Husbands power “to administer chastisement”
The power to chastise is a critical element of authority. If a person can tell others what to do, but they have no means of enforcing what they have commanded then they really are not an authority. And this is why the early woman’s rights movement targeted the common law recognition of the husband’s right to chastise his wife. If they could remove his power to chastise her, they knew they were effectively removing his authority over her.
History of Woman Suffrage: 1848-1861
The women who wrote “History of Woman Suffrage: 1848-1861” lived in the era when wife spanking was still widely practiced and culturally accepted so their perspective is valuable in the historical sense, even with their moral position on the rights of women and husbands chastising their wives being completely unbiblical and wrong.
In pages 88-89 the History of Woman Suffrage: 1848-1861 states:
“In those early days a husband’s supremacy was often enforced in the rural districts by corporeal chastisement, and it was considered by most people as quite right and proper – as much so as the correction of refractory children in like manner…The laws made it his privilege – and the Bible, as interpreted, made it is his duty.”
If you go to the average Christian today in the average Christian church, even most conservative evangelical churches, and you started talking about domestic discipline they would have no clue what you are talking about. I know if you would have mentioned it to me 7 or 8 years ago, I would have been one of those people with a blank look. And if you mentioned “wife spanking” they would look at you like you are crazy. I know I would have.
But I am happy to have been challenged on this subject. Because it caused me to really have to research this out. I already showed in my first article in this series on domestic discipline, “The Biblical Case for Domestic Discipline”, that the Bible fully supports two important concepts.
First it supports the concept of corporal punishment for both children and adults. Secondly, it supports husband’s chastening their wives as we see God chastening his wife Israel in the Old Testament and Christ chastening his wife, the church, in the New Testament.
But then we come to the historical side of this. Before the 20th century, most Christians believed according the Bible that husbands had a right and duty to chasten their wives using corporal punishment. The common laws of the land supported this right. And except for the left-wing feminists of the 19th century, Christian women fully accepted this too.
Chastisement Was Seen as Good for A Wife’s Moral Development
On page 599 the History of Woman Suffrage: 1848-1861 states:
“By the common law of England, the spirit of which has been but too faithfully incorporated into our statute law, a husband has a right to whip his wife with a rod not larger than his thumb, to shut her up in a room, and administer whatever moderate chastisement he may deem necessary to insure obedience to his wishes, and for her healthful moral development! He can forbid all persons harboring or trusting her on his account. He can deprive her of all social intercourse with her nearest and dearest friends. If by great economy she accumulates a small sum, which for future need she deposit, little by little, in a savings bank, the husband has a right to draw it out, at his option, to use it as he may see fit.”
A husband chastising his wife was seen as a healthy and moral thing for a marriage. But his powers of chastisement were not limited just to corporal punishment. But he could also literally ground his wife as a parent grounds their child and send her to her room. This was the normal accepted practice under common law.
Domestic Discipline Outlawed in the Late 19th Century
On page 792 the History of Woman Suffrage: 1848-1861 states:
“Wife-beating is still so common, even in America, that a number of States have of late introduced bills especially directed to the punishment of the wife-beater. Great surprise is frequently shown by these men when arrested. “Is she not my wife” is cried in tones proving the brutal husband had been trained to consider this relationship a sufficient justification for any abuse.”
“Chastisement” did not have enough sting to it. In fact, even in the late 19th century, the word “chastisement” in America was seen as a positive word. So then feminists went from speaking about husbands chastising their wives to calling men “wife-beaters”. That had a much better ring to it. And they declared that a husband chastising his wife in any form was “abuse”.
Now to be sure, there were some men who took their right to chastise their wives too far causing serious or permanent injuries to their wives. And this of course was the case throughout the history of mankind and was by no means unique to America. But the exact same thing could also be said for parents, whether they were fathers or mothers who chastised their children, that some abused their God given authority to administer corporal chastisement.
But that fact that some husbands abused their power to exercise corporal chastisement did not give civil governments the right to remove this God given power from husbands. What they should have done was deal with those extreme cases on a case by case basis.
In this second article we have shown that the early feminists declared war on Biblical patriarchy from the very beginning of their movement in 1848. They utterly rejected God’s design of male headship over women.
These early feminists or “suffragettes”, knew they had to play on the emotions of the American people to win their cause. And they did exactly that. They found the most extreme and outlandish cases of abuse they could find to bring before courts and state legislators to prove that all men were potential abusers or “wife-beaters” and the only way to protect women from the abuses of men was to completely strip men of their power of corporal chastisement over their wives.
But we also learned something else in this article. Something that husbands and wives of today needed to see. This idea of a husband using corporal punishment to chastise his wife is not some recently invented behavior by some far-right Christians. It is not just some kinky BDSM thing. But rather, before the late 19th century it was the protected law of the land and Christians believed husbands had a Biblical right and duty to exercise corporal chastisement on their wives for the good of their wife’s moral development and the health of their marriages.
So apparently there has been a rumor going around on reddit and other places that says I, Larry Solomon (aka BGR), am actually Pastor Steven Anderson. Pastor Steven Anderson is the pastor of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona. He also founded the New Independent Fundamental Baptist movement in 2017.
Do Pastor Anderson and I have many things in common? Yes. But we also have significant differences in our teachings as well.
Beliefs Steven Anderson and I have in Common
What follows are several similarities between my teachings and beliefs and those of Pastor Steven Anderson.
1 – We agree on the most important doctrine in the Bible
Pastor Steve Anderson and I both believe salvation is by faith alone, through Christ alone.
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
Romans 10:9 (KJV)
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
Acts 4:12 (KJV)
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV)
2 – We agree on the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy
The second most important thing Pastor Anderson and I have in common is that we both believe the Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God and we are to live our lives by it:
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”
2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV)
“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God”
Matthew 4:4 (KJV)
3 – We both are Independent Fundamental Baptists (IFBs)
A third thing Pastor Anderson and I have in common is that we both come from IFB churches.
My parents raised me in IFB churches for most of my life. And as an adult I attended and raised my children in IFB churches. I attended and graduated from an IFB Christian school. Some of my class mates in high school went on to become IFB pastors or IFB missionaries.
4 – We agree on Biblical gender roles
Pastor Steven Anderson is one of the few preachers out there that is actually still preaching the neglected doctrines of Biblical gender roles.
In a sermon he preached on March 22, 2015, entitled “Women Working in Light of the Bible”, Pastor Anderson made the following statements which very much align with my teachings based on the Biblical doctrines concerning gender roles:
“The main thing that I want to preach about this morning is the subject of women working outside the home, and the husband not providing and being the breadwinner of the home, but rather both husband and wife working. This has become the norm in our society today. It’s not biblical. It’s not God’s will. It’s not something that is the standard that the word of God says…
What the Bible teaches is that it’s man’s responsibility to provide for his him, and to provide for they of his own house, and that the woman’s job is to be a keeper at home, to be good, to be obedient to her husband, and to raise the children and guide the house and keep the house. I’ll submit to you that that is a full-time job.”
I have said from the beginning of establishing this blog back in 2014, that God had called me to speak on a particular area where I saw a great gap in churches today. That gap exists even within many IFB churches today. And that gap is regarding the teaching of Biblical gender roles.
Most churches today have abandoned the basic Biblical doctrine that marriage was created by God to be a picture of the relationship between God and his people Israel in the Old Testament and between Christ and his church in the New Testament. We find this picture presented to us in the Scriptures below:
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church
For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”
Ephesians 5:22-33 (KJV)
The Scriptures above tell us that it is “for this cause”, the cause of picturing the relationship of God to his people, of Christ to his Church, that we as men and women are to seek out marriage.
In marriage, men are to picture God’s love through his leadership, provision, protection, teaching and discipline of his people. And conversely, women are to depend upon the leadership, teaching, provision and protection of their husbands and submit to and reverence their husbands as the people of God are to do these things toward God.
Certainly, God places within us the drive for human companionship, sexual pleasure and the drive to have children as well and those are some of the other purposes for which God created marriage. But we must never loose sight of the primary purpose for which God created marriage, and that was to picture the relationship between himself and his people.
The sad truth is that most churches today teach an abridged and bastardized version of what the Scriptures state about marriage in Ephesians 5:22-33 as well as many other passages. If they teach anything from the passage above, it is only to tell men that they are to “give themselves up” for and “cherish” their wives. They of course falsely interpret this as husbands needing to live to make their wives happy and worship the ground their wives walk on.
How many churches today teach that wives are to submit to their husbands “as unto the Lord”?
How many churches today teach “the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church”?
How many churches today teach “as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing”?
How many churches today teach wives to “reverence” their husbands?
The sad answer to all these questions above is very few. But Pastor Anderson is one of the few left still preaching these Biblical doctrines concerning gender roles.
5 – We agree that LGBTQ behavior is wicked and an abomination before God
Like Pastor Anderson, I too believe that the behaviors of LGBTQ persons are wicked and an abomination before God. The Scriptures are clear on this point:
“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.”
Leviticus 18:22 (KJV)
“The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.”
Deuteronomy 22:5 (KJV)
“For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”
Romans 1:26-27 (KJV)
Pastor Anderson and I also have in common that we both reject Dispensationalism and believe in a post tribulation rapture and we also both reject Calvinism.
On the political front we both are avid Second Amendment advocates.
So yes, Pastor Steven Anderson and I have a lot in common, probably more than most people. But we also have several major doctrinal disagreements.
Disagreements I Have with Steve Anderson
What follows are several disagreements I have with Steven Anderson what set me apart from him.
1 – I am not KJV Only and Steven Anderson is
The 1611 King James Bible was actually preceded by 9 English translations of the Bible before it. Those earlier editions were the Wycliffe Bible (1382-1395), the Tyndale Bible (1523), the Coverdale’s Bible (1535), the Matthew’s Bible (1537), the Taverner’s Bible (1539), the Great Bible (1539), the Geneva Bible (1560), the Bishop’s Bible (1568) and Douay-Rheims (1610).
In addition to that, there were several revisions of the KJV and one of most commonly used today is the 1873 Scrivener edition.
When Steven Anderson and I both state that we believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, we are basing that belief on different versions of the Bible. My belief is that the Bible is inerrant in its original writings in the Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic languages. While no two ancient manuscripts of the Bible agree word for word, I believe that by taking the sum total of those ancient manuscripts that we can arrive at the complete Word of God. And no doctrine of the Bible is lost based on the differences between these ancient manuscripts.
The position of Steven Anderson and those hold the “KJV Only” position is that the 1873 Scrivener edition of the KJV Bible is the inerrant and preserved Word of God by which all other translations whether in English or any other language before or after this edition must be judged as accurate. They even believe that if the KJV has wording not found in any ancient manuscript (majority or minority texts), that God providentially wanted it to be there.
In contrast with Steven Anderson, I hold the “KJV Preference” position. I quote from the KJV the majority of the time on my blog because I admire its literal translation and its historical value as a world-renowned version of the Bible. But I also use the NASB from time to time because it is the most literal modern translation of the Bible in English and sometimes it is actually more literal to the original texts of the Bible than the KJV.
To those outside the Biblicist community of Christians, this might seem like a silly difference. But I have seen many IFB churches split into different churches based on this KJV Only issue.
2 – The IFB church I attend is NOT part of the Steven Anderson’s New IFB church movement
IFB churches originated in the late 19th and early 20th century as a reaction to modernist views which had infiltrated many churches, including some Baptist churches in America. It was also a reaction to the overreach of Baptist conventions like the Northern and Southern Baptist conventions.
This is where the term “Independent Fundamental Baptist” came from. “Independent” meaning a church not part of a convention (i.e. Southern Baptist Convention). “Fundamental” as in a church that teaches the fundamentals of the faith such as the Trinity, salvation in Christ alone by faith alone, the inerrancy of the Bible, the reality of miracles and a belief in a literal 6-day creation account. Historically, IFBs have also been some of the strongest adherents to Biblical gender roles. And finally Baptist, in holding to the historic Baptist beliefs of believers baptism by immersion, the autonomy of the local church, the priesthood of the believer, communion and baptism being the two ordinances of the church, only two church officers those of pastor and deacon and membership in the church being only those who have been made public professions faith and have received baptism by immersion.
Another core tenant of the IFB movement was an utter rejection of all forms of ecumenicalism and that is why until the last decade or so you would never see any IFB church doing joint ministries with any church except another IFB church.
KJV Onlyism was also a core tenant held by most IFB churches.
Many IFB churches also had added some additional rules not found in the Bible including prohibitions against using play cards, attending movie theaters, mixed bathing (going swimming with members of opposite), women wearing pants or shorts, smoking, drinking alcohol and gambling. When rock and roll music came out, the IFB churches added prohibitions against their members listening to any music with a “rock beat”.
As of 2020, there are an estimated 6000 IFB churches in America.
The IFB churches I grew up in, as well as the IFB high school I attend, had all these rules.
As a teenager in my IFB Christian school, I had a great love of studying and discussing the Scriptures. My history teacher once said to someone who asked about me- “I predict that Larry is going to be either a pastor, a programmer or a politician”. He was referring to the passion he saw in me for the subjects of theology, computer programming and history. In the end I chose the programming route, but I was able to teach Sunday school in IFB churches over the years and then I was able to start this ministry 6 years ago to further use my God-given gifts for the kingdom of God. So, thanks to God and his providence, I have been able to pursue all three God given passions the Lord has laid on my heart since I was a young man.
But while I greatly admired the IFB legacy of a zeal for living by the Bible and its adherence to the fundamentals of the Christian faith, I came to reject some of the more traditional IFB beliefs which I found to be lacking in Scriptural support.
I started having some of these differences with my IFB upbringing as early as my late teens, while many others I came to in my early to mid-20s. Some I did not come to till much later in life well into my 30s.
I came to reject the IFB traditional rules against using play cards, attending movie theaters, mixed bathing (going swimming with members of opposite), women wearing pants or shorts, smoking, drinking alcohol, gambling and listening to music with rock beat. I found that all these rules lacked clear Scriptural support. And the biggest change for me was coming to reject KJV Onlyism after an extensive study I did on the history of the making of the Bible when I was in my early 20s.
Eventually I knew I had to leave the IFB church I attended and move to one that was closer to my position on these issues and I found that in the IFB church I have now attended for more than a decade. I still have some differences with my current Pastor, but far less than I would with some of these other IFB churches.
Just this last Sunday, my Pastor was telling me before the service that he found an old sermon that a previous pastor of our church had preached many decades ago against play cards. He actually did a whole series against playing cards! We both laughed.
My pastor and I agree that many of these older IFB rules are what Colossians 2:22 refers to as “the commandments and doctrines of men” rather than the commandments and doctrines of God.
When I first came out with my differences on these positions more than 20 years ago, some of my IFB friends called me “liberal” even though I still strongly believed in the fundamentals of the faith and Baptist church practices. Eventually though, during those same two decades, many of my IFB friends, as well as their churches, changed their positions on some or all of these issues.
And that brings us to Pastor Steven Anderson. Pastor Anderson did not agree with these moves away from traditional IFB rules of “holy living” and especially the move away from KJV Onlyism and this prompted him to create his “New IFB” church movement in 2017.
In 2020, there are about 30 IFB churches that have joined his movement.
3 – I don’t believe the government must have the death penalty for homosexuals, Steven Anderson does
Steven Anderson has said in so many words on more than one occasion that he would like to see gays put to death. I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt that he means the government doing it, and not Christians running in the streets randomly killing gays. He bases that belief on the following Old Testament passage:
“If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them”.
Leviticus 20:13 (KJV)
When we look at the Old Testament, we must be careful to separate the moral law from the civil penalties imposed for breaking God’s law under the theocracy of Israel which God instituted. The New Testament church is not a physical nation, but rather a spiritual nation made up of believers from all physical nations of the world. The church has no civil authority to execute punishments like these imposed for the theocracy of Israel.
So no, the United States government is not Biblically obliged to execute homosexuals as Steven Anderson believes. But there is a difference between executing homosexuals, and approving of their behavior as the American government now does.
The Scriptures tell us the role of all civil governments:
“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”.
1 Peter 2:13-14 (KJV)
All civil governments have a God ordained duty to condemn behavior which God condemns in his Word. God condemns activities like prostitution, premarital sex, incest, adultery, men having sexual relations with men and transgenderism. Therefore, the civil government by the command of God has an obligation to punish these “evildoers”.
The punishments of course are not defined for any civil government outside the theocracy of Israel which no longer exists, therefore the punishments are left by God to the discretion of the civil authorities.
Someone might ask “Ok, so Leviticus 20:13 does not mean all civil governments for all time must execute men who have sex with other men. But does it allow civil governments to do this if they wanted to?” The answer to that question is YES. Now to the humanists (Christian or atheist) reading this, they may see this as a distinction without a difference. But it is a very big difference between me and Steven Anderson. He believes the government is compelled to execute men who have sex with other men, while I believe the civil government is only compelled to condemn this action and may punish this behavior in other non-lethal ways.
4 – Steven Anderson and I would strongly disagree on Biblical sexology
If the people spreading rumors that I was Steve Anderson had really done their homework, and simply searched for “Steven Anderson” in the search bar of my blog, they would have found an article I wrote way back in 2015 refuting Steven Anderson’s position on what the Bible says about lust. The article is entitled “What is the Lust of the Eyes in I John 2:16?”. I had it slated for migrating over to my new blog BiblicalSexology.com, but I will leave it here for a while longer although I have turned off the comments for it.
I teach that Matthew 5:28’s prohibition against a man looking on a woman “to lust after her” can only be understood by the Biblical definition of lust. The Biblical definition of lust is given to us in Romans 7:7 when the Apostle Paul states “for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet”. After being told that lust is covetousness and a violation of the 10th commandment, we must then look to the 10th commandment. In Exodus 20:17 the Bible states “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s”.
So, this leads us to the following conclusions regarding lust. If lust was merely desire of any kind, then all real-estate transactions would be sinful. You don’t buy someone’s house without first finding it desirable, and then going through the process to purchase it.
What Exodus 20:17 teaches us is that covetousness (aka lust) is when we desire to use or take something or someone in an unlawful manner. In the context of sexual lust, that would mean a man desiring to entice a woman into having sexual relations with him outside of marriage.
Lust is not merely a man finding a woman sexually desirable. It is not a man enjoying the view of a woman’s body or even him having sexual fantasies about her. Lust is not normal heterosexual desire.
It is only when we desire to entice someone into having sexual relations outside of marriage that we have committed the Biblical sin of lust in the sexual sense of the word.
Also, Steven Anderson and I would disagree on the subject of Biblical polygamy. He does not see it as allowable for the New Testament age and I do.
For more on these topics regarding Biblical Sexology, please go to my new site BiblicalSexology.com. And if you want to discuss these topics on sexuality, I would ask that you comment over on that blog on the relevant topics which you can easily find right on the home page of that site.
I am not Pastor Steven Anderson of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona.
Anderson would call me a “KJV denier” for not being KJV Only.
Anderson would call me a “worldly man” because I play Texas Holdem with my friends and family, because I love movies and have a massive DVD and Blu-ray collection of sci-fi, horror movies and action films. Because I let my daughter wear all kinds of pants and shorts and because I let my daughter go “mixed bathing” (aka swimming at beaches).
Anderson would also consider me an “ecumenical” because I associate online with other conservative Bible believing Christians of all denominations who embrace the Biblical doctrines of gender roles. Pentecostals, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians and Catholics – Oh my!
And if he ever read my views on BiblicalSexology.com he would deny that I am even a Christian, let alone an IFB Christian.
So no, I am not Pastor Steven Anderson. Nor would I encourage any of my children, family or friends to join his church or any of the new IFB churches.
“How does a father provide for his children when his [ex] wife abandoned him? She returned to live with her mother. She took the kids without the father’s consent. Both the children and husband were deceived. She did not leave her parents and cleave to her husband, who moved the family, so he could best provide for his family. She didn’t like moving from her mother, and returned to her, thus abandoning and taking the children. My question is, does he pick-up from his stable career and leave his job, which provides for his children, to find employment near his children? He is struggling because he can better provide in an area where affluent jobs are abundant. Whereas if he returns to the area where his children, he is forced to find employment well below his earning potential (very rural America). What does God want the father to do? Is it more important for the father to be present in the children’s lives or more critical for him to be the provider for his children? Her abandonment turned the family upside down. Now the husband is being forced to make decisions, as the leader, to return to an area where gainful employment is scarce. There was no abuse, gambling, etc. from the husband. Please advise with relevant scripture, so that I do God’s will, not mine.”
This comment was recently sent to me by a man calling himself Darrin.
The sad reality of a post-feminist world is that the scales are massively tilted toward women. Our modern society no longer recognizes a man’s God given ownership over his wife and his children. So, in this sin-cursed and upside-down world what is a Christian man to do? Below is my answer to Darrin and other good men who face this type of wicked situation.
Should You Give Up Your Career for Your Children?
The first thing you need to do is focus on is why God created you. The purpose for your creation as a male human being is shown in the Scripture below:
“7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. 8 For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. 9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.”
1 Corinthians 11:7-9 (KJV)
You were created by God to image him and thereby bring him glory. Your masculine human nature is meant to picture God’s nature. And one of the ways you image God is in your career.
A Man’s Career Is A Defining Aspect of His Masculinity
Your competitiveness and your desire to make your mark on the world in your career is part of the masculine image of God within you. The Bible says the following things about a man and his work:
“Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening.”
Psalm 104:23 (KJV)
“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.”
Psalm 22:29 (KJV)
“Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion.”
Ecclesiastes 5:18 (KJV)
“Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.”
Proverbs 24:27 (KJV)
A man’s career is a defining aspect of who is he is as a man. That is why the first thing men ask each other is “What do you do for a living?” Our careers as men define us. They give us something to strive for, something to be diligent in and compete in. But they also give us the ability to do something else that is crucial for us as men. Our careers give us the ability to provide for our families.
I know the couple times I have been laid off from my job were some of the most miserable times in my life. As men it hurts us to our core when we cannot properly provide for our families. And that is by God’s design that we are so driven in this area.
Our provision as men for our wives and our children pictures God’s provision as a husband to his wife and as a father to his children as seen in the following Scriptures:
“For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church”
Ephesians 5:29 (KJV)
“9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”
Mark 7:9-11 (KJV)
It is not the man who is called to be a keeper at home, but rather the woman
It is not your place as a man to spend the vast majority of your time in your home or with your children. God has given that role to women.
“4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”
Titus 2:4-5 (KJV)
A man is called to rule over and teach his children, not spend all his time with children:
“One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity”
1 Timothy 3:4 (KJV)
“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
Ephesians 6:4 (KJV)
Darrin, you can still be a presence and have a relationship with your children without physically being there all the time with them. I have known some men in your same situation, the wife took the kids back to the home state and the father could not leave the state he was in or they would all be impoverished. So, these men see their kids for 4 weeks in the summer and fly to see them a few times in between like around Christmas and other holidays. But here is the very important part. While they are not physically with their children, they are regularly, multiple times a week calling them on their phone and doing video calls with them.
And in this way, they are able to talk with their children about their daily lives and pour spiritual advice into their lives. They also regularly send their children gifts and make sure they are properly provided for.
For mothers the quantity of time in their children’s life is crucial especially at a young age. But for fathers it is not the quantity, but rather the quality of the time spent with their children that is so crucial.
A woman’s mission from God is her husband, her children and her home. But for a man, his wife, his children and his home are only a part of his larger mission.
The Scriptures tell us in 1 Corinthians 11:9 “Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man” and in Psalm 127:3 we read “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward”.
You as a male human being were NOT made for your wife or your children. You were made for God to bring him glory by imaging him with your life (1 Corinthians 11:7).
So, the answer to your dilemma is you continue in your career where you are while at the same time using all your available resources to have as much of a presence as possible, even if virtual, in the lives of your children.
In the Gospel of John there is an incident where John is leaning on Christ’s chest as Jesus tells his disciples about the future. In John 21:21-22, we read “Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me”.
What was Jesus saying to Peter? He was saying “Don’t be concerned about what I have for him to do in his life, only be concerned about what I have for you to do in your life”.
Is your knee jerk reaction as a Christian woman, when you hear tough Biblical teaching toward women, “What about him?” Or more specifically “What about the men?” This mindset comes not from God, but rather the feminist and humanist culture you have been brought up in. And more often than not, this response is a cover for your own conviction of sin as a woman. You feel that conviction and want to deflect as quickly as possible to the men.
If this is your reaction as a woman, you have a major spiritual defect in your thinking. The Bible commands us as Christians “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God“ in Romans 12:2.
Don’t worry about the men. Leave the men to other men and to God. Only be concerned about what God has for you to do in this life as a woman.
God has given men and women different roles to play in this life and thus different races to run. And one of the critical differences between the roles of men and women is that God has given men spiritual oversight and responsibility for the women in their lives. So, men must be concerned not only with how they fulfill the role God has given them as men, but they must also be concerned with the instruction and discipline of women under their spiritual authority as well.
This same thing cannot be said for women. Women should only be concerned with the role God has given them as women and leave the men to other men and ultimately to God. Heed Christ’s words to Peter “what is that to thee? follow thou me”.
How should a Christian wife handle it when her husband abandons his Christian faith? How should she deal with her children in regard to their father? Recently one of my regular commenters, a woman who goes by the handle livinginblurredlines, wrote the following about her husband who once professed faith in Christ:
“hubby has decided to become a philosophical Odinist….meaning he doesn’t believe Odin and all the other Norse gods actually exist, but that there is an All-Father that encompasses all faiths that believe in a high deity, and he follows modern Odinism philosophies that embrace strength of self, traditional families, helping your fellow, and nationalism. So, he has no desire to find or attend a church, anymore. So, what shall I do concerning this and our children? When I married him 20 years ago I never thought I’d be faced with this issue!”
What follows are answers to several important questions that Christian wives who find themselves in this situation may be asking.
Can I leave My Unbelieving Husband?
The answer to this question is found in 1 Corinthians 7:13-16: “And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace. For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?”
So, as you can see from the Scripture above, if your unbelieving husband wants to stay in the marriage with you, God wants you to stay with him. And the Bible tells us that in staying with him, you may actually win him to Christ.
Regarding the case of a woman whose husband has left the faith he once professed. We must realize that a true believer can never leave the faith as they are kept by the power of God. In 1 John 2:19 we read the following of those who made professions of faith and then abandoned them: “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”
So, in this way as a Christian wife, you must forget your husband’s past participation in church or other Christian activities. Do not dwell on it. Wipe the slate clean in your mind and deal with him as you would someone who has never dawned the doorstep of a church.
Does God Still Want to Me to Submit to My Unbelieving Husband?
The answer to this question is found in 1 Peter 3:1-2: “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.”
So, the answer to this question is yes, God absolutely wants you as a Christian wife to submit to your husband who is disobedient to the Word. You win a husband, whether he be an unbelieving husband or a Christian husband who has some areas where he is disobedient to God in some way. You win him without a word, without preaching at him, nagging at him or complaining at him. You win him with your actions and your life before him. You win him with your submission, your pure life and your reverent attitude toward him.
My mother is a living example of 1 Peter 3:1-2. My mother became a Christian while married to my father. She completely changed her ways toward him. She submitted to him, lived a different life in front of him and reverenced him. And these actions by my mother brought him to Christ and this enabled me to be raised by both a Christian father and a Christian mother. My father would go on to study the Word of God and become my mother’s teacher. This can work ladies!
Can I still teach my Children the Gospel?
In Acts 5:26-29 we read the following story about the Apostles: “Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned. And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”
We can see from the story above that even if your husband forbids you from teaching your children the Gospel you can and should still do that. I would suggest you do this in private settings with your children. But you can show them you love and respect their father, but that this is something that goes beyond your relationship with their father and that having a relationship with God is the most important relationship we can have in this life.
What If My Husband Forbids Me from Taking the Kids to Church?
If your husband forbids you from going to church, you can privately seek the teaching of God. While he is at work, watch sermons from Bible teachers online. And you should privately read your Bible and pray. Let your children watch Bible teaching when Dad is not around. Have them watch Christian movies and shows that teach them about God.
But Isn’t It Wrong to Keep Secrets From My Husband?
A tenant of humanism is “complete transparency in any relationship”. No secrets. None at all. But this is not how God sees things. God keeps secrets from us, and sometimes it is necessary for us to keep secrets from each other.
In Proverbs 28:13 the Bible says “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy”. But then in Proverbs 27:12 we read “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished”.
And then in Matthew 6:1-6 Jesus made the follow statements: “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”
Jesus reveals that it is not wrong to do good things in secret. Whether it is doing good for others or even good in obedience to God. It is only wrong to do evil things in secret or to try and cover something that is a sin against God.
The humanist atheist and the humanist Christian would both find the advice given here to be absurd because they hold individualism as the highest ideal. Nothing is more important than each individual being able to live their lives out in the open, exactly as they want to live it (as long as that life style does not violate humanist principles in any way of course).
Humanists love the word “transparency” and regularly apply it to relationships. They don’t like secrets. Whether it is the government keeping secrets from its citizens, husbands keeping secrets from wives or wives keeping secrets from husbands.
Of course, humanists always have some exceptions to their rules. For instance, humanists have no problem with women not being transparent with their husbands about murdering their unborn children. But I digress.
So, the humanist would say “If the husband and wife cannot find a way to openly live out their beliefs with one another and tolerate their differences then they should just divorce. But by no means should the wife have to live a secret life as a Christian or keep these kinds of secrets from her husband”.
But for us a Biblicist Christians, we know that there are more important things than our individual wishes and desires. We know that the institution of marriage is more important than the individual happiness of either the husband or wife. We know that marriage is based on a covenant, not total transparency. And we know that we can also find joy in the midst of less than ideal circumstances.
In Matthew 6:1-6, Jesus tells us that being totally transparent in regard to our thoughts or actions is not always the best thing. In fact, he tells us that doing good things toward God, for God or for others in secret can be virtuous. And in Proverbs 27:12 we read that it is “prudent” to sometimes hide ourselves or our actions.
It is utterly disappointing for any Christian wife to hear from her husband that he has left the faith and he is not the believer she thought he was. But God can still greatly use such a Christian wife in the life of her unbelieving husband. And she can still have a vibrant personal faith and have an impact for Christ on her children and on others.
God tells Christian wives in 1 Corinthians 7:13-16 that they must remain with their unbelieving husbands if the husband is willing to stay.
And yes, it will be more challenging in the area of submission. But God makes it clear in 1 Peter 3:1-2 that wives still have to obey unbelieving husbands and he says that wives may win their husbands by their submission, pure lives and reverent behavior.
Christian wives who find themselves married to unbelieving husbands may have to practice their faith in secret. But Jesus shows us in Matthew 6:1-6 that not only is it not a sin to do good toward God and others in secret, but that such actions can be virtuous.
Some Christian wives abuse the Acts 5:29 principle that “We ought to obey God rather man” in order to openly defy their husbands at every turn. But as a Christian wife married to an unbelieving husband, you should make every effort to not have to openly defy your husband.
While the Bible tells men to “leave” their father and mother when they enter marriage it uses a different word for women when they enter marriage. In Psalm 45:10-11 we read “Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house; so shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him”.
Psalm 45:10-11 is widely recognized as a prophecy concerning Christ and his church. But it is also very practical and applicable to marriage between men and women. Ephesians 5:23 tells us “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body”.
I can’t tell you how many times I have had haters of the Bible’s teachings on gender roles say “You think men are gods and that is wrong!”. Each time I hear a variation of that statement I chuckle a bit to myself and remember 1 Corinthians 2:14 which states “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned”.
The Bible does not teach that men are gods. There is only one God. Men are not God, but God did create men to represent him in this world. This is the clear teaching of the Bible found in passages like Ephesians 5:22-33 and 1 Corinthians 11:1-16. So, when we understand this concept as Christians, we understand that women are not to worship their husbands or regard their husbands as their savior. We have one God and one savior whose name is Jesus Christ.
But after we set aside the last part from Psalm 45:10-11 concerning worship, what comes before that is very applicable to women in marriage.
The call to the young woman to regard her new husband as her lord is mirrored in 1 Peter 3:5-6 where the Bible states “For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement”.
Now we can zero on what is different in the call to women when they enter marriage. While men, in multiple Bible passages like Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:5, Mark 10:7 and Ephesians 5:31, are commanded to “leave” their father and mother when they enter marriage women are told in Psalm 45:10-11 to “forget” their people and their father’s house.
A woman’s forgetting of her father’s house is a critical part of the process of her becoming one with her husband. Her father may have taught her differently and conducted his home differently than the way her husband will conduct his home. And if she clings to the way her father conducted his home and constantly compares that to her how her husband leads his home there will be problems in the marriage.
How many women today refuse to follow this Scriptural admonition to forget their father’s house? How many women today even refuse to give up their father’s last name or hyphenate their last name? How many women respect their fathers more than their husbands? A woman who refuses to forget her father’s house, to clear the slate and let her husband redefine for her how their home will be conducted will never have the kind of unity in marriage that God calls for.
A final note to fathers. As Christian fathers, we should want our daughters to marry godly men and it is our God given right according to Exodus 22:17, to “utterly refuse to give” our daughters in marriage to men whom we do not approve of. But our culture no longer respects the rights of fathers and has given young women freedom to ignore the spiritual authority of their fathers in this regard. This is why it is so important for us as Christian fathers in this post-feminist culture to cultivate close spiritual relationships with our daughters to the point that they would never want to disappoint us.
My daughter is within 2 years of the time we have agreed she will begin courting, not long after she graduates high school. I am excited to see what God will do in her life. She is not perfect and has her flaws like we all do, but I am happy that God has blessed her with a meek and submissive spirit when it comes to the men in her life whether it be me or her grandfathers. But when it comes to other women, she is a warrior for God and stands on the front lines fighting against abortion and feminism.
I would never bless her marriage to a man who was not a Christian, a Biblicist and a firm believer in Biblical gender roles. However, I realize the man she marries may have many differences with me outside of these areas. And I have told her as much throughout the years. I have told her when she marries, she needs to forget my interpretations and applications of the Bible and how I conducted our house and instead fully embrace her husband’s leading in these areas.
When we think of a woman being “dirty” outside the literal meaning we will usually think of a woman acting in a sexually inappropriate manner. And while there certainly are whorish women who do act in whorish ways there is another type of dirtiness in women that has nothing to do with a woman acting whorish.
When a woman speaks disrespectfully to her husband or does not show proper deference to her husband, that is her acting in a dirty way toward her husband. When a wife refuses to submit any part of her life to her husband’s spiritual leadership that is her acting in a dirty way. Sometimes it may not be her actions, but it may in fact be her attitudes and beliefs that are dirty.
Christian husbands, to love your wife as Christ loves his church requires that you wash her spiritual spots, wrinkles and blemishes with the Word of God. You are to wash her dirty attitudes, beliefs and actions with the Word of God.
You could liken this to how you might wash your car. You look over that car and make sure every dirt spot and blemish are gone and that it shines so good you can see your reflection in it. It is the same idea with your wife spiritually. After you wash her, her views and behaviors should be a reflection of the things you have taught her from God’s Word.
The washing of your wife requires a combination of knowing her, listening to her, teaching her, correcting her and yes disciplining her. The washing of your wife will sometimes require great sacrifice on your part as the washing of his wife required great sacrifice on the part of Christ. Sometimes it means temporarily sacrificing the peace in your home to rebuke your wife. It might mean sacrificing time you might have spent doing things that were more enjoyable. But it is a sacrifice that is necessary on the part of every Christian husband.