Boys and Girls

One of the cultural footballs of our time is gender relations, and it’s the one that seems to get kicked the hardest. The roles men and women play in society, as a whole, and in  the home, in particular, is open to heated debate. As Christians, we need to shape our opinions on this matter by what God reveals in Scripture. Before we speak up, we need to ask, “What does the Bible say about the roles of men and women?”

Obviously, a blog post doesn’t provide me enough space to give an adequate summary of scriptural teaching on this matter. So let me defer to theologian, Wayne Grudem who summarizes the perspective I share with him: With regard to male-female relationships, I argue for a view that is neither traditional nor feminist, but “complementarian”—namely, that God created man and woman equal in value and personhood, and equal in bearing his image, but that both creation and redemption indicate some distinct roles for men and women in marriage and in the church. (Systematic Theology)

The complementarian view obligates the man to provide sacrificial leadership in his home. He is to love his wife in the same way that Jesus loves the church (Eph. 5:22-33). No easy task—I know, because I fail at it all the time! Wives are instructed to welcome this leadership and support it. In complementarian homes, love and sacrifice make for a very safe, encouraging environment. It’s a good thing.

But not every example of male headship is praiseworthy. Last week, I was reading a post by Michael McKinley who warned against the inconsistency of some men. Reveling in their God-given authority, these men avoid submitting to the authorities set over them by God. These were the examples McKinley gave:

1.    Some men complain about their wife’s unwillingness to submit to their authority while they (the husband) embrace secret sins in their lives. As if their wife should submit to their authority, but they shouldn’t have to submit to God’s authority.

2.    Some men extol the glories of male headship but never think to consciously submit their lives and decision making to the authority of their elders and fellow church-members. As if God designed a husband’s authority to be a blessing at home, but all other authority is arbitrary and unimportant.

3.    Some men think nothing of venting their spleen about their boss, the government, or the leaders of their church, all the while insisting that their wife speak about them in tones of hushed respect.

McKinley went on to say that it is spiritually dangerous to be in this position, exercising authority without submitting to it. I heartily agree!

3 thoughts on “Boys and Girls

  1. submission is one of those words that is defined differently by every individual…sounds like potential sermon material! submission and authority have much to do with honoring…both God and your spouse and others. can be tough on a good day!

    • Right! In this post, I was focusing on the need for a consistent attitude towards authority. Submission deserves some space too. A couple of quick thoughts:
      1. Submission is modeled for us by Christ.
      2. Therefore, it is never to be demeaning or debilitating.
      3. Every person (man and women) is required to willingly embrace the authority of those God has placed over them.
      4. Knowing when authority structures/individuals have squandered their authority is tough. But in those circumstances submission is not honorable.

  2. The best definition that I’ve heard in reference to submission comes from its root words, “sub” and “mission”. What I was taught was that submission is supporting the mission. Where we often see the tension in relationships and other places is there is no “mission” to support, so there is no reason to be under that leadership.

    It always made so much sense to me to “submit” to Christ, but I really had no idea why I was doing that other than the fact that he had saved me. But, as I understood, support the mission, I realized and cling to know ing that God’s mission is bring glory to himself and is allowing and has called me to support him in that. WOW.

    Same is true with marriage…the word submit has become such a dividing word, but often it is because the husband is giving nothing to support except a dinner or “keeping” the family afloat or happy. The healthiest marriages and relationships I have ever seen have been the one where the husband is holding the umbrella of authority, but in correct submission to God with God’s vision as his mission. I was told by an 80+ year lady named Mrs. Vilma, “It’s EASY to support a husband that is giving me something to submit to.”

    Loving the blog Pastor BlueGene!!

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