Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church…(Ephesians 5:22-23).
So begins a Chicago Tribune article of September 27, 2000, entitled “To Love, Honor, and Obey,” an article demonstrating probably one of the most “controversial” differences between the Word of God and society today.
The article discusses the submission of wives to their husbands and provides interviews of Baptists who believe in submission, contrasted with scholars in the world who make it abundantly clear that they do not approve of the practice. This article demonstrates one of the problems with our society today.
Over the past thirty years, we have seen a major decline in morality in our society overall. A loss of respect for and belief in the sanctity of marriage has produced an astronomic divorce rate (thought to be around 60% today), single-parent households, and higher rates of crime, depression, and a host of other societal ills. Does the media decide to begin to honor the family as God sees it (Hebrews 13:4)? No. They decide to denigrate God’s plan and call it “archaic” and “not Biblical, but Greek.”
The Baptist women interviewed for this article should be commended; they did a good job of demonstrating and defending God’s plan for the household. They said that the husband is supposed to love them and care for them, and one of the women even said that the husband has the harder job, having to love the wife as “Christ loved the church, and gave Himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:23). They also noted that sometimes submission is not easy, especially when the husband seems to be making mistakes.
Even some people of the world showed that God’s way is effective. Don Browning of the University of Chicago Divinity School commented,
…levels of domestic violence among committed evangelical Christians are two to three times lower than those of the general public. Evangelical women…are a lot happier and a lot saner crowd than we tend to think in popular culture. The research indicates that they tend to be happier and have more fulfilling sex lives…You would be very, very wrong to think that these are crudely oppressed women, for the most part.
The main focus of the article, however, seems to be the dissenters to God’s plan. One female psychologist from the Illinois Masonic Center, Dr. Nada Stotland, said first,
The ultimate danger of the interpretation of Scripture [as counseling female submissiveness] is domestic violence.
Her words have some truth to them, but they do not become a consideration once one examines God’s Word. Paul said in Colossians 3:19,
Husbands, love your wives, and do not be embittered against them.
This, along with the commandment in Ephesians 5:28 to love her as your own flesh would show any true Christian husband that he is not to abuse his wife. Sadly, the tempter sometimes wins and husbands do beat their wives; they deserve to be rebuked and shown the way of truth. This does not mean, however, that we have the right to throw out God’s plan based upon the deeds of those who would not follow it.
Dr. Stotland later says,
It is cozy to be taken care of, if you’re the lucky one whose husband isn’t beating you up under the pretense of spiritual leadership, or keeping you from a contribution to society that might have fulfilled you. It’s like an eternal childhood.
This quote says it all. Had this individual known about Christian women, and God’s plan, she would know that submissiveness does not mean “lie down and do nothing.” Women have an obligation to support the husband and to assist in the decisions that impact their lives; after all, they are both equals in the eyes of God (Galatians 3:28). What are some of the qualities of the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31? Not that she just sits and allows herself to be “taken care of,” but that she worked for the profit of herself and her husbands without going beyond her authority. Furthermore, Titus 2:4-5 explains the role of the female, to love the husband and children, and to be sensible, pure, workers at home, and kind. This is far from “eternal childhood.”
The chairwoman of the religion department of Mount Holyoke College, Jane Crosthwaite, speaks in a similar vein, asserting,
The women see it as a choice…That is a way of claiming a certain kind of power. It’s a choice to give up power. So there’s a real interesting contradiction and irony here. It may mean they can un-choose; it may mean that they’re fooling themselves. That coin can go either way. My sense is that this is a slogan that is trying to keep women in a place where they don’t grow fully.
Again, if she only knew! I hold fast to the belief that it is more difficult for a woman to submit than to exercise authority, just as it is more difficult (and more righteous in the eyes of our Lord) to be humble as opposed to arrogant (Luke 18:14). I commend every woman who has the strength to choose humility and submissiveness over the call of society, for she has most assuredly taken the narrower road (Matthew 7:13-15).
The article shows the commonly used argument against the text: that it is not “Biblical,” but “Hellenic.” Browning, who earlier showed support for God’s plan, thus undermines it:
The Southern Baptists, I think, are more Greek and Aristotelian than biblical.
While Southern Baptists are not right about all things, but they teach correctly about submission. What is the accusation against it? “I think” that they are more Greek than Biblical. I am convinced that the difference between liberalism and the truth is in perspective. This individual “thinks” that they are more Greek. We should not be concerned with “I think,” but with what “God says.”
God says that His plan for marriage has always existed, and will always exist. As He says through Paul in 1 Timothy 2:13-14:
For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being quite deceived, fell into transgression.
Hence, from the beginning, the man has been over the woman.
This article shows the difference between the truth and the liberalism of the modern “scholars”: “I think” versus “God says.” I hope that we all know what is right and to take the path of God, for it leads to salvation. The road of “I think” leads to death (Proverbs 14:12, Romans 6:23).