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.

Is Red Pill Biblical?

In 2015, a popular Red Pill Blogger named Rollo Tomassi agreed with some traditionalist Christians that “Christianity was already Red Pill before there was a Red Pill”.  “Red Pill” refers to a  collection of theories of how human intersexual dynamics work.   The Red Pill theory has been spreading across the internet for almost two decades.  The phrase “The Red Pill”, as it is used in the Manosphere, is based upon the 1999 sci-fi movie “The Matrix” starring Keanu Reeves. In this film’s dystopian future, all of humanity has been enslaved by machines in a simulated reality known as “The Matrix” by an artificial intelligence that mankind had created long ago.

In the movie a character named Morpheus offers Neo, the movie’s main protagonist, a choice between a blue pill and a red pill in the famous quote below:

“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.”

This Red Pill/Blue Pill paradigm was adopted by the manosphere over the past two decades to compare and contrast two different collections of theories of how human civilization should be conducted.

Even though I will be quoting from Tomassi’s blog during this series to compare and contrast Red Pill with the Bible, I want to make clear from Tomassi’s own words that he is not the inventor of Red Pill theory.

In his article entitled “The Purple Pill” , Tomassi, wrote this about the origins of the Red Pill:

“While I am humbled to be accounted as one of the Red Pill’s prominent writers I will never lay claim to having created it. The Red Pill in its truest sense belongs to the collective that has contributed to it as a whole. It belongs to the men who’ve fostered it, who’ve risked their livelihoods and families apart from it to make other men aware; it belongs to those who understand that its objectivity is what’s kept it open and honest, discussable and debatable.”

Rollo Tomassi began studying psychology and behaviorism in 2001.  His emphasis was on behaviorism and specifically behaviorism as it relates to how the human genders think and act.

He began by taking his gender centered behaviorism theories to an online forum called https://www.sosuave.com/ where he debated and discussed them with others to refine his theories.

10 years after starting his journey, in 2011, he started TheRationalMale.com blog.  His blog was an instant success becoming one of the most popular blogs in the Manosphere.  In 2013, he published his book “The Rational Male” which was essentially an edited version of his first year’s blog posts along with many questions he had from commenters and his answers to them.

This then leads us to the most important question Christians must answer about Red Pill.

Do the doctrines of the Bible, upon which Christianity was founded, agree with any part of Red Pill theory?

The answer to this question can be found in the following two statements by Tomassi.

In his article “Male Authority Provisioning vs Duty” :

“I’ve been watching Outlaw King on Netflix recently. There’s a part where the wife of Robert the Bruce says ‘Power is making decisions, and whatever course you are charting, I choose you, my husband’ It struck me that my own wife had said almost these same words to me in 2005. When I’d decided to take a job in Orlando that would uproot us from family and friends. There was no “,…but what about my friends, career, etc.?” from her and I had no hesitation to consider anything but taking the position. She said, “You are my husband, I go where you go.

How many men hold a default Frame in their marriage? Many women are reluctant to even accept their husband’s last name today. There’s a lot of bullshit reasons for this, but the core truth is that women have no confidence in their man in the long term. They don’t trust his ‘course’. There’s holding Frame, and then there’s establishing a long term Frame, a paradigm, a reality of his own, that defines a man’s authority in his marriage and family relationships. Women today still want marriage, but few want to defer to their husband’s ‘course’. They don’t trust him with her life.

And then there is this second quote from Tomassi from his article “Male Authority Be a Man” :

“There are numerous ways a feminine-primary social order removes the teeth from male authority today. First and foremost is the social pretense of blank-slate equalism. A default presumption that men and women are coequal agents in every aspect – physical, emotional, psychological, intellectual – is the cover story necessary to remove an authority that was based on the conventional differences between the sexes. To the blank-slate equalist gender is a social construct, but gender is only the starting point for a social constructionist belief set. Social constructionism is a necessary foundation upon which blank-slate equalism is built, but ultimately it’s a means of control. By denying each sex its innate differences social constructionism denies men their innate advantages and strengths. Once this became the normalized social convention it was a simple step to remove male authority…

The authority men used to claim innate legitimacy of in the past is now only legitimate when a woman wields it. Men need to retake this authority and own it as is their birthright once again.”

The sentiment that Tomassi has just stated, that a man’s authority over his wife and his children is his “birthright” and that a wife should trust her husband with the course he has plotted for them and with her very life is 100% Biblical.

The Bible agrees with Red Pill that male authority over woman is indeed the birth right of every man.  In 1 Corinthians 11:3 we read “the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man” and in 1 Timothy 2:12 the Bible states that women are forbidden to “to usurp authority over the man”.   In Ephesians 5:23 we read “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church”.

I also want to return to Tomassi’s first comment about women in our modern era having no trust or confidence in their husbands. The Bible speaks to this trust women are called to:

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.”

I Peter 3:5-6 (KJV)

The Bible calls on women to obey and be in subjection to their husbands because they trust God and his design of male headship over women.   In other words, women should trust their husbands ‘course’, to use Tomassi’s language, because they trust that God has given their husbands the ‘course’ he wishes them to follow.

So, the answer to the question of “Do the doctrines of the Bible, upon which Christianity was founded, agree with any part of Red Pill theory?” is a resounding YES!

But just because the Bible would be Red Pill in some areas does not mean it is Red Pill in all areas.

And this is what I will be exploring in this new series “Is Red Pill Biblical?”  There are a lot of different aspects of Red Pill to cover and I want to break them down into bite sized pieces so that Christians can fully understand the Red Pill Theory and where Red Pill is in agreement with a Biblical world view and where Red Pill is in conflict with a Biblical world view.

The next topic we will cover in this series is “Is Red Pill A Theory Or A Religion?

Does a Christian wife have to submit to a sinful request from her husband?

Should a Christian wife have to participate in a threesome or abort her child because her husband tells her to? Some Christians teach that women should submit to any and all requests their husbands make even if they believe that in doing so they would be directly sinning against God. Other Christians believe that if a husband is not living a righteous and holy life he has no authority over his wife at all regardless of whatever requests he asks of her.

How should a Christian wife handle such situations?

The Two Extremes on Submission

When it comes to the submission of wives to unrighteous husbands there are extremes on both the left and the right side of this issue.

On the left we have Christians who believe women only have to submit to husbands that are righteous and treat them right (as they see right).

This comment I recently received from a Christian woman illustrates the left position on wives submission to their husbands:

“In your blog you speak a lot about women submitting to the authority of her husband. Even when her husband is sinning (i.e.denying her sex, which you admit is her right to have) she must still submit to him. She cannot do as men and deny him dates, gifts, etc. Here you say a husband should show love toward his wife and can please his wife, but he must please God above her. I agree with that. However, isn’t a woman’s duty to please God before her husband also? If he isn’t treating her as a Christian husband should, should she follow an unrighteous man?

Authority is given from God, if we do not follow God we lose the power that comes with that authority. Therefore, his authority becomes useless. Would a sinful man have her well-being in mind? I would think not. I agree a man is the leader of the home, but I also believe a woman is only obligated to submit to her husband’s righteous desires the same as a man should only please a woman when her desires are righteous.”

There are so many things wrong with this statement it is hard to know where to begin.

I have never stated that a wife has to stay with her husband if he sexually denies her.  I have shown from the Bible that a Christian wife may divorce her husband for these 4 reasons:

If he fails to provide her with food and clothing (shelter is implied with clothing).

If he refuses to have regular sexual relations with her (sexual defraudment).

If he physically abuses her or makes attempts on her life.

If he abandons her.

For a detailed discussion on each of these four items please see my article “For what reasons does God allow divorce?

However this woman is not looking for serious reasons she may divorce her husband.  She is looking for reasons that she does not have to submit to him. These grave sins I have described are not reasons for a wife to stop submitting to her husband’s authority – they are reasons to end the marriage so he is no longer her husband. If the woman chooses to stay even if he is chronically sexually denying her, physically abusing her or refusing to work then she must continue to submit to him.  As long as he is her husband she must submit to him.

So if a woman were to come to me and tell me “I am not divorcing my husband for refusing to work and playing Xbox 7 days a week while he sends me out to work.  But I won’t submit to him either.” –  I would tell that woman she is wrong.  She has two choices – submit to her husband or end the marriage so he is no longer her husband.  Those are her only two choices.

A wife does not submit to her husband because he is “treating her as a Christian husband should” or because he has “her well-being in mind”. She submits to her husband because God has commanded it.  A husband, Christian or non-Christian, does not lose his authority over his wife if he does not follow God’s Word.

This woman and a whole host of Christians today ignore this passage from Peter on the subject of submission of wives to unrighteous husbands:

“3 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2 as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.”

I Peter 3:1-2 (NASB)

This passage makes it crystal clear – wives are to submit to sinful and disobedient husbands.  Whether your husband is a Christian, a non-Christian or a professed Christian who is living in disobedience if you are his Christian wife you are to submit to him despite his sinful behavior.

This attitude toward submission is by far the biggest problem today with Christian’s attitudes toward marriage.

But there is another extreme – the far right extreme.   And while this far right extreme may be a small minority and some think it is not worthy of our time even to address their false teaching – as Christians we must also stand for the truth and stand against false teaching.

It does not matter if many people are teaching a false doctrine or just small groups are teaching it – false teaching is false teaching and it must be exposed.

Should we not talk about exceptions to submission?

Some of the people on the far right of on this topic of Biblical submission believe we should not talk about exceptions to submission.  This is demonstrated in recent comments by the blogger Deep Strength:

“You’re falling prey to the same trap that women do. It’s an obvious diversion! You don’t answer the question to an obvious diversion or if you do then you have to tie it back to righteous attitude and actions.

Good answers to a question like “But what if my husband commands me to sin?” are:

  1. “lf that ever happens, feel free to call me at any time and we’ll look through the Scriptures to discuss it. Now, as I was saying about submission…”
  2. “When’s the last time you heard a husband command his wife, much less to sin? Now, as I was saying about submission…”
  3. “You should find where it says it is a sin in the Scripture. Then you come to him with a respectful and submissive attitude and say: ‘Hey, I think this may be against what God says in the Scripture here and my conscience. Is there anything else I can do instead to make it up to you? Now, as I was saying about submission…”

The point is to stay on topic because the desire to divert a topic away from uncomfortable Truths is one of the strongest temptations that women have which is the desire to be rebellious. Submission is righteous and holy. Discussing it is good, and diversions away from it are to play right into temptation.”

Deep Strength argues that it is a “diversion” and a “temptation” to even discuss exceptions to a wife’s submission to her husband.  He acts like it is so rare and unfathomable that a husband would ask his wife to sin.   Does he forget how many Christian women are married to unbelieving husbands? Husbands that might ask their wives to do drugs? Husbands that might as their wives to have sex with their friends or participate in a threesome? Yes these things happen.

And yes even professing Christian husbands may ask their wives to do sinful things.  Just because it is rare does not mean it does not happen.

I really don’t see the fear these men have of discussing exceptions to submission.  Since when is the truth a “distraction” or “temptation”?

It is actually very easy to address these exemptions and then continue on in the topic of submission. We don’t ever have to be afraid of the truth as Christians.

Now are there Christian bloggers who add to the exemptions to submission like the way the female commenter did above? Yes and they do it all the time.  But just because people add to God’s Word does not mean we can take away from it.

We are to teach the whole counsel of God.  We are not to go to the left or the right:

“Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.”

Proverbs 4:27 (KJV)

People on the left and right extremes of submission both have something in common.  They both dismiss those passages they don’t like and they both add things to the text that are not there.  But we are not to take away from God’s Word or to add to it – but instead we are to follow the entire Word of God:

“Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.”

Deuteronomy 4:2 (KJV)

So truth about the submission of wives to their husbands is very simple. A wife is to submit to her husband in all areas of her life and everything he wishes her to do or not do as long as he does not ask her to sin against God. Even if he asks her to sin against God she should respectfully refuse his request but this does not mean she stops submitting in every other way. Even if her husband is living a sinful life either as a Christian or non-Christian she must submit to him.  She is not responsible for his sin, she is only responsible for hers.

But this then brings us to the final part of submission to sinful requests by husbands to their wives.

Is a wife responsible for doing something sinful if her husband commands her to do it?

This statement was made by the blogger Moose Norseman in his post “For clarity’s sake

But perhaps the last one tells the most. Do these blogs and ministries teach young women to be obedient to their husbands, or do they teach things like this:

“Submission does not mean that the men in authority, whether in the church or in the home, are always right. They aren’t. They’re sometimes and often wrong. They sin, as do we. Submission does not mean blind obedience. It does not mean that we sin in order to submit. It doesn’t mean that you overlook sin in the authority. “(emphasis in original)

And this:

Now, what if he asks her to participate in a threesome, abort her baby, or help him commit robbery by stealing from a bank? Should she submit in these instances? NO!

A reminder about headship and covering: The one that is covered bears no iniquity. It is the authority that bears the iniquity.

Moose first presents a false dichotomy – If a Christian teacher teaches that there are any exceptions to God’s command that wives are to submit to their husbands then the person is said to be negating the entire Biblical teaching of the submission of wives to their husbands.

So according to Moose – a Christian wife should participate in a threesome, abort her baby, help her husband commit a robbery and do anything else her husband requests of her even if she believes that action would be a sin against God.  If she does God will not hold her accountable – in fact he honors her for participating in acts she believes are sinful if her husband asks her to do it.

This teaching by Moose Norseman is not just simply absurd – it is the very definition of heresy.  Any teaching that tells someone it is ok to sin against God is heresy.

As believers we will often disagree on Bible interpretations and what is and what is not sin.  But to acknowledge that something is a sinful activity and then say God is ok with us doing that sinful activity under certain circumstances is the height of heresy.

The Apostle Peter made this point abundantly clear:

“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

Acts 5:29 (KJV)

Moose bases his heresy on a passage from the book of Numbers which is linked from the phrase “the authority that bears the iniquity.”

“13 Every vow, and every binding oath to afflict the soul, her husband may establish it, or her husband may make it void.

14 But if her husband altogether hold his peace at her from day to day; then he establisheth all her vows, or all her bonds, which are upon her: he confirmeth them, because he held his peace at her in the day that he heard them.

15 But if he shall any ways make them void after that he hath heard them; then he shall bear her iniquity.

16 These are the statutes, which the Lord commanded Moses, between a man and his wife, between the father and his daughter, being yet in her youth in her father’s house.”

–  Numbers 30:13-16 (KJV)

The key verse Moose is pointing to is verse 15 of Numbers chapter 30:

“But if he shall any ways make them void after that he hath heard them; then he shall bear her iniquity.

This is a great passage of Scripture that I have spoken about several times on my blog. I do not disagree that this passage demonstrates the headship of man over the women in his family whether it be his wife or his daughters.

But what it does NOT show is that a husband can ask his wife to directly participate in an activity that she believes is a violation of God’s law and that God would honor her for obeying his sinful command and participating in these kinds of sin.

In this case with her broken vow the husband by not overriding the vow his wife has made when she made it has taken on the penalty for her not fulfilling that vow if he stops her from doing it.  If he tells her he has changed his mind and does not want her to fulfill the vow she made then he bears what would have been her sin.  It is his sin now since he approved her vow.

A simpler way to say this is – when a woman makes a vow to do something in her husband’s presence and he either remains silent or actively agrees with her vow then as her husband he takes on the responsibility and the penalty if he stops her from fulfilling that vow.

Conclusion

God’s Word teaches us two important principles as it relates to the submission of wives to their husbands. God tells wives to submit to their husbands in “everything” (Ephesians 5:24) but the Apostles when told to disobey God said that “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).  So when we take the whole counsel of God on the matter of submission we see that wives are to obey their husbands in all things unless their husband directly tells them to do something that would violate God’s law.

It really is that simple.

Christians on the left of Biblical submission want to find every way they can out of submission so they abuse the principle that “We ought to obey God rather than men” by saying things like if your husband chooses a church you disagree with you don’t have to follow him there which is utterly false. But then on the far right of Biblical submission we have those like Moose who claim that there are no exceptions for wives submitting to their husbands and even if their husband asks them to participate in a threesome or kill their child they must do these things.

The people of God must avoid all extremes.  We must instead walk the straight path – following the whole counsel of God and not veer either to the left or the right.

Is Christian marriage a master – servant relationship?

masterservant

The obvious answer to this question is absolutely not! Right? Marriage is a loving relationship of two equal partner’s right? This what we are told time and time again, even in many Christian marriage books. Even in some more conservative Christian marriage books that teach about male headship, they always seem to qualify a man’s headship role over woman in marriage, by saying something like “this is not a master and servant relationship, but simply an order of priority”.

But the Bible speaks very differently on this matter than what our modern society accepts.

The Bible states that the husband is the “head” of his wife:

22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.”

Ephesians 5:22-24 NASB

Ephesians 5 tells us that marriage is to be a picture of the relationship of Christ and the Church. The husband is to model Christ in his love, leadership, provision and protection of his wife and the wife is to model the Church in her serving of her husband, and she is to be “subject” to him in “everything”.

One could argue easily from Ephesians chapter 5 that the relationship between Christ and the Church is in fact a master-servant relationship, rather than a partnership of equals. How could anyone argue that Christ and his Church are equal partners from this or any other passage?

But the Bible even doubles down on this idea that the husband-wife relationship is indeed a master-servant relationship in I Peter chapter 3:

“In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2 as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. 3 Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; 6 just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.”

I Peter 3:1-6 NASB

The Bible in I Peter tells women that they ought to model to their submission to their husbands on Sarah’s behavior with Abraham when she called him “lord”. The English word translated here as “lord” is a translation of the Greek word “Kurios”.

According to Thayer & Smith’s Bible dictionary the definition of Kurios is:

“he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord

  1. the possessor and disposer of a thing

    1. the owner; one who has control of the person, the master

    2. in the state: the sovereign, prince, chief, the Roman emperor

  2. is a title of honour expressive of respect and reverence, with which servants greet their master

  3. this title is given to: God, the Messiah”

The word Kurios most often is translated as “Lord” with a capital “L” indicating a direct reference to God. But in many other places it is often translated as “Master”.

In the Old Testament a husband of a wife was referred to in many places as her “baal” which literally meant “Lord” or “Master” or “Owner”. This same word was even used as the master of owners of slaves.

Proverbs 31:10-11 & 23 & 27-29 NASB

10 An excellent wife, who can find?

For her worth is far above jewels.

11 The heart of her husband [BAAL (Master/Owner)] trusts in her,

And he will have no lack of gain…

23 Her husband [BAAL (Master/Owner)] is known in the gates,

When he sits among the elders of the land…

27 She looks well to the ways of her household,

And does not eat the bread of idleness.

28 Her children rise up and bless her;

Her husband [BAAL (Master/Owner)] also, and he praises her, saying:

29 “Many daughters have done nobly,

But you excel them all.”

What does the Master-Servant aspect of marriage mean for husbands and wives?

I don’t know how any person could look at the Scriptures and see anything less than a Master-Servant relationship between a husband and wife, as opposed to a partnership of two equals. But if you are a woman reading this, before your think I am advocating for men walking all over their wives as selfish dictators let me draw your attention to a word I just used – “LESS”.

Biblically speaking the relationship between a man and his wife is no less than a master-servant relationship, but it is in fact much more than that. A master is not commanded to love each of his servants as his own body as husbands are told to love their wives in Ephesians chapter 5. A master is not commanded to honor his servants and live with them according to knowledge, as a husband is commanded to do with his wife in I Peter chapter 3. A master is not commanded to have sex with his servant as he is commanded to have sex with his wife in I Corinthians 7:5 and Exodus 21:10.

This Biblical truth that marriage is indeed a master-servant relationship can be abused, and many men throughout history have done just that. But when we understand that this is just one aspect of marriage, and not the totality of how marriage works, this can make marriages stronger.

If you are a wife reading this, you might wonder how such a teaching, that your husband is your master, and you are his servant can make your marriage stronger. It makes it stronger because it removes the contention in marriage. It removes the competition. You each have your role to play. Your husband leads, and you follow.

But shouldn’t husbands serve their wives as Christ served his disciples?

There is no doubt that a husband ought to exercise the servant leadership that Christ did. A man ought to be humble enough to serve his wife by helping with making dinner or helping with the kids when she gets overwhelmed. Really this what a good boss, or master does when his employees (or servants) are overrun, he steps in to make up the difference.

But while Christ washed the feet of his disciples, Christ did not spend the majority of his time serving plates of food and washing feet. He spent the majority of his time teaching and leading, as a man should do.

Conclusion

While a husband ought to be humble enough to serve his wife and family where he sees needs arise, his primary concern should be that of leading, providing for and protecting his family. The dominate trait of a wife should be that of a servant. She is not tasked with leading the home, so all of her efforts can focus on serving the needs of her husband, her children and her home.

Obviously the economic reality of some families today sometimes means that a wife may have to serve her husband and family by working outside the home. But this does not change the core principle that a husband is called to lead, and wife is called to serve.

Peace truly comes through living the way our creator designed us to.