The Egalitarian Bastardization of Christ’s Servant Leadership

“We are to live under a different system, where neither husband nor wife exerts power over the other. Our God was not a “servant leader” but an actual servant. The difference is huge.

Imagine a king who chooses to live among his subjects. He works with them, eats with them, and shares conversation with them. But he can’t be one of them, because he has power they don’t. He can change his life—or theirs—on a whim, and they can’t. He and his subjects can appear the same, but they can’t be the same as long as this power differential exists. The only way he can change this is to give up the crown. That’s what Jesus did. And that is what Paul calls husbands to do in Ephesians 5.”

The statement above comes from an article entitled “Why Marriage Must Be Egalitarian to Be Truly Christ-like” from CBEInternational.org.   And the statement above is nothing less than a complete and utter bastardization of Christ’s teachings regarding servant leadership.

This is what the Devil does.  He takes some bit of truth and then twists it into a lie to fit his purposes.  Is it true that Christ said leaders should serve those under their leadership? Absolutely.  But he did not teach or do the things that Egalitarians say he did in the statement above.

To expose this heresy that Egalitarians teach we will look at what Christ actually said and what he actually did in comparison to their assertions.

Christ’s Teaching and Example of Servant Leadership

In Mark 10:42-45 Christ made the following statement:

“But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister:  And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.  For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

This is probably the greatest statement Christ gave on serving.   But to fully understand Christ’s Words in Mark 10:42-45 we must contrast them with another statement he made to the Jewish leaders in Matthew 26:63-64:

“But Jesus held his peace, And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.   Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”

The Jewish leaders knew exactly what Jesus was alluding to when he said he would come on “the clouds of heaven”.  This was a reference to what the prophet Daniel said in Daniel 7:13-14:

“I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”

In Jesus’s first coming, he did not yet come to establish his earthly kingdom, but instead he came to be the suffering servant. He came to do for us that which we could not do for ourselves.  He came to pay for our sins and to purchase his church, his bride, with his blood (Acts 20:28).

But one day he will return to establish his earthly kingdom.  And in that kingdom, he will compel all nations to serve him.  And if they do not, they will be punished with drought and plagues as Zechariah 14:16-19 shows.

Christ Was Not Just a Servant, He Was a Servant Leader

The egalitarian assertion that Christ, “Our God was not a “servant leader” but an actual servant” is demonstrably false.   

Jesus did NOT lay aside his crown or kingship, he was still king of heaven but he had not yet established his earthly kingdom as he stated in John 18:36:

“Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.“

When Christ drove the money lenders from the temple, that was an exercise of his authority and power in John 2:15-16:

"And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables;  And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise."

Only a leader can issue commands to others, and that is what Christ did with his Apostles in Mark 6:7-8:

“And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits;  And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse”

Christ “commanded” his twelve disciples and only a leader can do that.   He gave them power over unclean spirits and once again only a person with power can give power.

Christ spoke as “one having authority” as the people saw in Matthew 7:28-29:

“And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:  For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.”

He gave a great commission in which he first asserted his power then gave the following commands to his Apostles in Matthew 28:18-20:

“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

No, my egalitarian friends – our God, Jesus Christ, was not just a servant, he was indeed the ultimate servant leader!

Christ Was Correcting Earthly Authority, Not Abolishing It

Christ made the following decree through his Apostle Paul in Romans 13:1-7:

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.  Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.   For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. 
Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:  For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.  
Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.  Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.”

And in Hebrews 13:7 Christ made the following statement through the writer of Hebrews regarding obedience to church authorities:

“Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.”

In 1 Peter 3:1-2 & 5-6 Christ tells wives through his Apostle Peter:

“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…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.”

And in Ephesians 6:1 Christ tells children through his Apostle Paul:

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.”

So, as we can see from the passages above, Christ was not abolishing human authority or saying it was wrong for human authorities to exercise their power over those under their leadership.   But rather, he was showing us how human authorities at all levels should conduct themselves. He was showing us the difference between good and bad leadership.  The difference between a selfish leader and a servant leader.

Selfish leaders only think of themselves and not the good of those whom they lead.  A Christ-like servant leader thinks of the good his people.  He is willing to step in and do any job when his people cannot do it for themselves even to the point of giving his life for his people as Christ did.  But as we can see from the fuller picture of Christ’s leadership, a servant leader still compels the obedience and service of those under his authority. 

Servant Leaders Compel Their People to Fulfill Their Mission

Christ had a mission, and so does every leader. Civil leaders have the mission of protecting the rights of the people by punishing evil doers and praising those who do well.   Church leaders have the mission of spreading the Gospel, discipling believers and disciplining those who bring shame on the church by their public sins.  

And husbands have the greatest mission of all earthly authorities.  This mission is seen in 1 Corinthians 11:7:

“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.”

A man’s life mission is to live out the very attributes of the masculine God which we serve and thereby bring God glory.  A part of his mission is for him to image God as a father to his children in teaching them, disciplining them and preparing them for the roles which God has given them in this life. 

One of the most crucial aspect of a man’s mission is his leadership of his wife.  This leadership is to imitate God’s leadership of his people.  The requirements of this part of man’s mission are seen in Ephesians 5:25-29:

“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”

Men have the awesome responsibility of washing their wives’ spiritual spots and wrinkles with the Word of God, just as Christ does his church.  The purpose of this washing is to help a wife to reach her full potential as a wife, to be the glorious wife God wants her to be. 

And what does it mean to be a glorious wife? That is also revealed in this same chapter of Ephesians in verses 22-24 and 33.

“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…Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”

A glorious wife according to these Scriptures is one who submits to her husband as she would to God with the exception of if her husband asks her to do something which violates God’s law (Acts 5:29).  A glorious wife submits to her husband in everything, not just things she is comfortable with or feels like doing.  And a glorious wife reverences her husband with a deep and profound respect.

It is not a coincidence that there are two things’ men desire most from their women – submission and respect.  Because this desire in men directly represents the image of God in man.

Another part of a man’s washing of his wife requires that he also follow Christ’s example with his churches in Revelation 3:19 where said “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”  So, a man washes his wife with the Word of God and he rebukes and chastens her all to bring her to the point of being the glorious wife she should be.

In addition to his responsibility to wash, rebuke and discipline his wife he also has the responsibility to nourish (provide for) and cherish (protect) his wife as he would his own body. 

All of these acts together constitute a man’s service and his love toward his wife.  His leadership of her is his service to her. His teaching her the Word of God and washing her spiritual flaws to make her a better a wife is his service to her.  His discipline of her is his service to her.  His provision for her material needs and his protection of her to the point that he would be willing to give his life for hers is his service to her.

A Wife’s Service to Her Husband Looks Very Different Than His Service to Her

While it is absolutely Biblically true that a husband and wife ought to serve one another, this does not mean that their service looks the same. In fact, the way they should serve one another looks very different according to the Bible.

God has called wives to serve their husbands by bearing and caring for their children. In 1 Timothy 5:14 the Bible calls on women to “bear children” and in Titus 2:4 the Bible calls on women to love and care for their children.

God has called wives to serve their husbands by managing the domestic affairs of the home. In 1 Timothy 5:14 the Bible calls on women to “guide” the domestic affairs of the home and in Titus 2:5 it tells women to be “keepers at home”.  

God has called wives to serve their husbands by freely and willingly offering their bodies to their husbands for their sexual use and satisfaction. In Romans 1:27 the Bible calls sex “the natural use of the woman” and in Proverbs 5:19 it commands men to “satisfy” themselves with their wife’s body. 

God has called wives to serve their husbands by bringing them glory.  In Proverbs 12:4 the Bible says that a “A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband” and in 1 Corinthians 11:7 we read that “the woman is glory of the man”.  A woman brings her husband glory by serving him faithfully in submitting to his leadership, in her mothering of his children, in her keeping of his home and in her satisfying his sexual desires with her body.  She brings him glory with both her inward beauty and her outward beauty.

Conclusion

Egalitarianism is nothing less than complete rebellion against God’s establishment of patriarchy, male headship, in all areas of society including the family, the church and civil government.  The lack of male leadership in any of these spheres leads to chaos and destruction.  God spoke about this in Isaiah 3:12 when he said “As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths”.   And this is what we are witnessing today in our equality obsessed western nations.

Jesus Christ never gave up his heavenly kingship when he came to earth.  But rather he asserted it many times while he was here in his earthly ministry.  He was not just a servant, but truly he was a servant leader.

Christ taught us that a servant leader does not use his leadership only to fulfill his own desires.  But rather he works with and helps the people under his leadership to work together to fulfill the mission he has been given or that he has set for himself.   He develops the people under his leadership and seeks to help them reach their full potential.  He steps in wherever help is needed and sacrifices himself for his people, but he also pushes his people to do what they ought to do and disciplines those under his authority to help them to do what they ought to be doing.

The truth we find in the Bible is that while God has called husbands and wives to serve one another, he has called them to serve one another in very different ways. The husband serves his wife as her head, while she serves him as his helper. He uses his headship to make her the most glorious wife she can be by God’s standards, and she helps him by bringing glory to him in all that she says and does.

What does it mean for a husband to love his wife as Christ loves the Church?

God tells us as Christian husbands that we are to love our wives as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her. This is both a beautiful picture and at the same an intimidating proposition for any Christian husband. God tells us that our relationship with our wife is much more than just any human relationship. Marriage is a symbol, of the relationship between God and his people, and as such, we as men have the awesome and solemn responsibility of modeling God’s attributes toward his people in our relationship with our wife.

The Apostle Paul, writing under the inspiration of God states:

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” – Ephesians 5:25 (KJV)

Not only does Paul tell us as husbands to love our wives as Christ loved the Church, but he follows that statement with the greatest example of Christ’s love for his church, that he “gave himself up for it”.

I would venture to guess that most Christians and even many non-Christians would wholeheartedly embrace this statement of the Apostle Paul. Feminists and egalitarians love this teaching (although they hate the previous statements about submission).

How to did Christ give himself up for his Church?

A lot of people think the only way Christ “gave himself up” for the Church was in dying on the cross for our sins and while I would agree that was the greatest way he “gave himself up”, it was certainly not the only way he did.

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

Philippians 2:5-8(KJV)

Christ as part of his sacrifice for us confined himself to an earthly body. While he was still fully God and at the same time fully man, he chose not to use all his powers. Christ not only sacrificed himself on the cross, but he also sacrificed himself every day for 33 years by confining himself to mortal human form. Jesus Christ, being the very God who created the universe, humbled himself to the point that he washed his Apostles feet.

Why did Christ give himself up for his Church?

This is a question that many Christians fail to ask, or they will give it a simple answer. Many might answer “He died to pay for our sins” and leave it at that. While it is true that Christ gave himself up for our sins that is not the ONLY reason he gave himself up.

Paul tells us not only that Christ gave himself up for the Church, but he tells us why he did 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.” – Ephesian 5:26-27(KJV)

Christ did not sacrifice himself only to give us eternal life in heaven when we die. He did this also to sanctify his Church, or to make her holy. He washes her and cleanses her through his word.

When Christ died on the cross he gave us positional sanctification – this makes it as though we never sinned when we die and face judgement – God will only see Christ’s righteousness when he looks at us. But that does not mean he wants us to keep sinning in the here and now because he has purchased our salvation. Instead he wants us to fight against our sin nature and live holy and righteous lives even in these sin cursed bodies, something we can only do through submission to his word and his will, and only with the help of his Holy Spirit – this is called progressive sanctification.

How a Christian husband can love his wife the way Christ loves his Church

So now that we understand how Christ loved the Church – by giving himself up for her, and also why he loved the Church – to make her holy we can practically apply these truths to how a husband can “give himself up” for his wife.

A man sacrifices himself when he marries a woman

I had a friend from high school who dated many women but always ended up breaking up with them. Years later when we were in our thirties, I asked him why he had stopped dating, and he said he realized the reason he kept breaking up with all those women was because he did not want to make the sacrifices that marriage demanded.  He had many hobbies and he was on bowling leagues, baseball leagues and enjoyed his job and being with his friends and family. He felt that he would have to give up a lot of that if he were to get married and would have to sacrifice the things he wanted to do for his wife and kids.

While I might not agree with his selfish reasons for not getting married, I appreciated my friend’s honesty. Many men think they can get married and nothing will change, they can continue with all the same activities they did before they were married, but marriage takes time, sacrifice and work.

With marriage we gain companionship but with these blessings comes responsibility and obligation to sacrifice ourselves for our wives.

Five examples of a husband sacrificing or “giving himself up” for his wife

Here are some real life scenarios where you may be called to sacrifice yourself as a husband:

  1. Your wife has been caring for a sick child all day and the house is a wreck and no dinner is made when you get home from work. You would need to sacrifice yourself for her by making dinner and taking care of the other kids.
  2. Your wife is sick – you will need to sacrifice yourself for her by taking care of the kids, dinner, laundry and all the other things she does, in addition to caring for her physical needs. In addition to these other sacrifices, you will also need to sacrifice you sexual needs for her greater physical needs at this time.
  3. Your wife experiences the death of a close friend or loved one, and this causes a great deal of emotional stress on her. You may need to help out more around the house while she is experiencing this emotional pain, and you will need to sacrifice your sexual needs for her greater emotional needs during this time.
  4. You’re getting ready to plan your hunting trip, taking the calendar and talking with your wife about the week you are thinking of going. She tells you that a church in the area is having a woman’s conference and she really would like to go. You sacrifice yourself by either canceling or rescheduling your hunting trip so that your wife can have her greater spiritual needs met.
  5. You are shopping for new furniture and you have given your wife the budget she has to spend. You see a set you would like, she compares it with a set she would like (and you really don’t like her set), but you sacrifice you preference for furniture for hers, knowing that she as the manager of your home needs to feel comfortable the type of furniture that goes in your home.

Conclusion

In this post we discussed the Biblical principle that God wants us as husbands to love our wives as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her. He gave himself up not only to pay for the sins of his Church, but also to make her holy and blameless. As husbands, God expects us to emulate Christ’s sacrificial love for his Church in how we love our wives. God expects us as husbands to sacrifice our own needs for the needs of our wife.

Now that we have discussed the Biblical foundation for a husband loving his wife sacrificially as Christ loves his Church, in my next post we will look at principles for Christian husbands to know whether they are sacrificing themselves or their faith for their wife in any given situation.

What Wives could learn from Secretaries

WifeSecretary

What Wives could learn from Secretaries? Consider the relationship between a man and his female secretary, not just the actions, but the attitudes that female secretaries generally have have toward their male bosses.  Then let’s compare and contrast those actions and attitudes with the actions and attitudes many wives have toward their husbands:

WifeSecretary13a WifeSecretary12a
“May I get you some coffee?” “Get you what? You have two legs and two arms – go get it yourself.”
“Would you like me to get you some lunch?” “I am not your waitress, go get your own lunch.”
“Do you need me to pick up your dry cleaning?” “I am not your maid, pickup your own clothes, and you could do some laundry too.”
“Is there any way I could assist you?” “Help you? I am the one that needs help around here.”
“Is the way I did this ok, or would you like it done differently?” “This is the way I do it, and if you don’t like it keep it to yourself.”

The first thing that many people would say to these two lists is, the comparisons are not fair, because a secretary is an employee of her boss(and thus a paid servant of sorts) and a wife is an equal partner, not her husband’s servant.

But as we have pointed out several times in the this blog, the modern teaching that marriage is an equal partnership between a man and a woman is not found anywhere in the Bible.  God, the creator of man, woman and marriage, defines marriage very differently, and equality has little to do with marriage.

God’s purpose in creating man, woman and marriage was to demonstrate his eternal qualities, and the relationship between himself and man kind.

In this symbolism, Man represents God, in his loving leadership, protection and provision qualities, while woman represents the people of God, and the attitude and actions that God’s people should have towards him.

In Ephesians 5:22-33 we have this symbolism very plainly stated by the Apostle Paul:

22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

23 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.

24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

27 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.

28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

31 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.

32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

In our modern day, if you asked most Christians if the Church was made for the glory of God, that the church should submit to Christ in everything, serve him and humbly reverence him they would say all of these things are true of the relationship between Christ and the Church.

In fact if you were to ask most people, is the Church equal to Christ, they would say – Absolutely not!

Yet if you ask many of these same Christians(including Christian feminists), these same questions about the relationship between a husband and wife the answers are very different.

“Of course a wife is equal to her husband, and marriage is a equal partnership” they say.

“A woman is not her husband’s servant!” they say.

While we are all equal in our humanity, the Bible never says men and women are equal beyond that. Especially in marriage, men and women are not equal, and the symbolism and roles within marriage from a Biblical perspective make this very plain.

So let me bring this back around to the secretary illustration I began this article with.

Do you wonder why men often are drawn to actions and attitudes of their secretaries?

No it is not because all these men are selfish and egotistical as our feminist friends would have us believe. It is because men are wired by God himself to desire to be respected and served.

Let say very clearly – I am not saying it is ever right for a man to have an affair with his secretary. Many of the men who have had affairs with their secretaries have had loving wives at home who may be respecting and serving their husbands as they ought to.  But far too often, we neglect another reason why men have affairs with women who work under them.

This is explained by the fact that many times the secretary may not be as attractive as the wife.  The reason is because of how the secretary gives the man the respect he so craves, and she serves him willingly, and humbly.

Again – I am not saying these are excuses for a man to have an affair with his secretary, I am only identifying a reason that is often ignored.

Conclusion

I invite Christian women to truly examine Ephesians 5 and many other Bible passages I talk about on this site.

Contrary to the false accusations that are often hurled at those Christians who believe in the gender roles as God created them, Christian men are not selfish beings looking to stomp on women.

We as Bible believing Christian men are simply seeking to live out our design, our role, and our symbolism in God’s design, or at least we should be.

The question is Christian woman, will you submit to God’s design and be willing to do the same?

Do you want your to please God and your husband as a Christian woman? Then respect him and serve him.