'tis the Bearded One

The Bible & Wifely Submission

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This thread was created to mitigate the derailing of another thread [http://forums.waitingtillmarriage.org/topic/5057-nyc-pastors-list-of-menwomen-to-avoid-marrying/] and continue discussion concerning any possible moral commands in scripture (particularly Ephesians 5) for wives to submit to their husbands. 

 

While I plan to explore this in greater detail once I have the time and energy *cough* exams *cough* for now I'd like to know more about the understanding of those who believe scripture creates an absolute moral command for all wives to submit to their respective husbands in everything.

 

What if:

1) A husband commands his wife to do something which violates her conscience?

2) A husband commands his wife to do something which violates God's law or any rights she has according to scripture?

 

Is your definition of husband "the male she is married to" being devoid of any standards of conduct or fulfillment of role "obligations"?

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I think the trouble people run into in religious circles is that they tend to believe the mandates that one should declare should be generalized across the church.  This is very bad practice because the realm of applicability warrants a more diverse approach to exploring these kinds of questions.  The "what if" phenomenon that always arises from these discussions in religion is a very normal reaction to the inadequacy of generalization for religious ideals.

 

Personally, I think that Jesus Christ should be first.  Your question is part of the same kind of problem we see in parents commanding their children to sin.  It turns out, if The Lord Our God is first; His Command trumps all.  There is no reason to pull rank with God if we aren't going to take advantage of that umbrella.

 

Since Jesus Christ should be first, we must know what He Commands of us.  This implies communication with Him.  It is necessary for each person to ask what to do in their own specific situations.  Here is a list of simple answers any wife can execute if she is faced with these situations:

 

1.  Follow God first, then follow the husband (if that is truly what Jesus Commands of her).  If she doesn't know how, she should ask Jesus Herself.

 

2.  Same as above.

 

Taking Jesus out of the context is what makes these problems harder to deal with.  It is better to step back and take God seriously to see how much He can really do.  You don't have to solve any of these problems yourself.  Its not about what we can do, it is about what Jesus Can Do...

 

If one doesn't really think Jesus is capable of answering for Himself, then I am not really sure one really believes in Jesus in the first place.  The Jesus I read about was very powerful and cared enough to answer a lot of our questions.  I don't understand how an "unchanging God" that people claim to believe in will *ahem* change His Mind about speaking to us...

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@ TisthebeardedOne : Very interesting subject  and I'm very glad you asked indeed  :)


 


I have to admit I firmly believe all the Scriptures is divinely inspired and God has a perfect plan for every human being on earth. I believe the Bible is the Word of God and we can put our total faith in it. I have a personal testimony: since my childhood the Bible has been my instructor, God has spoken to me through this mean and it has helped me to do very wise choices in situations in wich I was totally ignorant.


Well the Bible also says the letter kills but the Spirit gives life. 2corinthians3v6


So it is important not only to read the Scripture but also to do so being filled with LOVE, and the Holy Spirit.


And above all: God is LOVE. That means, when He commands to do something He has a perspective of love on it. It is not to frustrate people, not to put heavy yokes upon them...He loves human beings and wants their happiness...when He commands to do something He knows better. He is the Ancient of days.


 


So when the Bible says the woman has to submit to her husband, I think God really means it. But He also tells that husband should love his wife as Christ loved His Wife(the Church=all the believers in Jesus as the son of God). 


You see, Jesus loved so much His wife(the Church), He was willing to sacrifice for her, to give His own life for her... He was ready to do everything in order to win and conquer her heart...Such a great love is not human or natural...It is surnatural...It is Agape love, divine love. When a woman is loved in such a way, it will not be hard for her to be submissive to her husband.


That's what God wants: sacrifice in both husband and wife.


But now, what do you do, when your husband is totally bad to you and he is an abuser? Or he commands you to do something against God's law? What should you do?


The Bible tells us God is the greatest authority ever. So if your husband commands you to do something against the law of God, you have the permission to disobey him and to obey God instead. You keep on respecting and honoring your husband but you do what God tells you to do.


That leads me to another subject : it is important to choose wisely the person you marry. As a man, or as a woman.


When in a couple, the two are agree to do the will of God instead of pursuing their own plans, everything will go rigth and smoothly even if there are difficulties sometimes. 


That is my point of view. :)


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Your statement was that there are "qualifiers" in Ephesians chapter five. Are you saying a husband has to be Christ-like in order for it to be necessary that his wife to submit to him? If so, how do you explain 1 Peter 3:1? Unbelieving husbands or ones who are disobedient to the word are going in the opposite direction of being Christ-like, and yet wives are still told to submit to them in that passage. Besides, there are no qualifiers in Ephesians five. There, husbands are told to love their wives as Christ loved the church, and wives are told to be subject to their husbands as the church is subject to Christ. There is no qualifier for a wife to submit or be subject to her husband "IF" he's being enough like Christ (in her view). Would we argue that husbands only have to love their wives if their wives are being submissive?

 

In answer to your questions, if a husband is telling his wife to stop praying, worship the devil, have an abortion, etc, then sure, she's much better off going against her husband on those things, but for the far likelier circumstance of her simply not liking the way he's leading or thinks he's not worthy of being followed, especially since she doesn't respect him or his leadership, then she'd simply better be right if she chooses not to submit on certain things. If she goes against her husband on a certain matter, and she's wrong, then she's in rebellion against what God has commanded.

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In answer to your questions, if a husband is telling his wife to stop praying, worship the devil, have an abortion, etc, then sure, she's much better off going against her husband on those things, but for the far likelier circumstance of her simply not liking the way he's leading or thinks he's not worthy of being followed, especially since she doesn't respect him or his leadership, then she'd simply better be right if she chooses not to submit on certain things. If she goes against her husband on a certain matter, and she's wrong, then she's in rebellion against what God has commanded.

 

You opposed my statement that: "Scripture presents no commandment or counsel for wives to follow their husbands as leaders in everything."

Yet here you say that submission is not absolute.....that a wife can refuse to submit in certain cases.

 

Rebellion requires knowing disobedience. If a wife refuses to submit to her husband believing his command is wrong but later finds out that he was right that would not place her in rebellion against God unless you relinquish a wife's right to interpret scripture herself. If after gaining knowledge she continues to refuse to submit then, according to your reasoning, she would be in rebellion. 

 

So can we agree that the requisite submission is not absolute but limited by God's moral law and the wife's conscience? Then we can get into finer details..... :)

By conscience I mean her individual interpretation of scripture or indeed her position in relation to issues for which there are no scriptural commandments against.

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You opposed my statement that: "Scripture presents no commandment or counsel for wives to follow their husbands as leaders in everything."

Yet here you say that submission is not absolute.....that a wife can refuse to submit in certain cases.

 

I still do oppose your statement. You were arguing concerning what scripture states, not what my imagination can concoct. Ephesians 5:24 is a scripture, and it states the opposite of what you did. Our imaginations, including mine, can certainly come up with scenarios in which a woman would commit a greater evil by obeying her husband than by disobeying, but why are we so concerned about exceptions that we can dream up when the writers of the Bible obviously weren't, seeing as how they didn't even get into those? Moreover, why are we so quick to emphasize exceptions before emphasizing the rule, which is so readily disregarded in modern western society?

 

Rebellion requires knowing disobedience. If a wife refuses to submit to her husband believing his command is wrong but later finds out that he was right that would not place her in rebellion against God unless you relinquish a wife's right to interpret scripture herself. If after gaining knowledge she continues to refuse to submit then, according to your reasoning, she would be in rebellion. 

 

No, rebellion doesn't necessarily require knowing that you are being disobedient. To give an example, are we not all in rebellion against God before we come to Him through His Son? An atheist would likely claim that he couldn't possibly be in rebellion against something he doesn't even believe in, but would such an argument be valid, or would the atheist be in rebellion against God whether he knows it or not?

 

So can we agree that the requisite submission is not absolute but limited by God's moral law and the wife's conscience? Then we can get into finer details..... :)

By conscience I mean her individual interpretation of scripture or indeed her position in relation to issues for which there are no scriptural commandments against.

 

If a wife had a perfect of understanding God's moral law, then I would agree with you, but who has such an understanding? Only God has a perfect understanding of what's right and wrong, and he's the one who put the husband as the head of the wife, as pointed out in Ephesians five. Certainly, each person has to be convinced in his own mind concerning right and wrong, but I can't agree that just because someone's conscience supposedly tells her to disobey her husband that she's morally justified in doing so, since as we know, we can be deceived and still have to be held accountable for our disobedience. Remember that Eve was deceived but was still held accountable for it.

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What if:

1) A husband commands his wife to do something which violates her conscience?

2) A husband commands his wife to do something which violates God's law or any rights she has according to scripture?

 

Yeah, because there are oodles of husbands out there commanding their wives to commit grand larceny, murder and jaywalking. 

 

Seriously though, why can't the husband and wife just work it out?  If my husband is asking me to do something that I think goes against God's law, then I am going to appeal to him in a loving manner.  "Honey, I love you and respect you, but I can't fudge our tax returns because I feel that would be dishonest.  Can we figure out something?  Maybe we can save money in other ways."  I wouldn't want to have a judgmental or sanctimonious attitude toward my husband, or shriek at him.  "You wicked, unspiritual man, how *dare* you tell me to do this thing!"

 

As I am not married, I cannot know how I will handle situations I will potentially be faced with as a wife, but I would hope to honor God, and be loving and respectful to my husband, and to follow his leadership in our family.  Honestly, the man I marry would have character of high caliber in the first place; therefore unless he was a total liar, he most likely would not insist on me committing an action I believed to be wrong.

 

But I think the most important thing is whether or not I have an attitude that absolutely honors and respects the man my husband is, understanding that he is fallible like all humans, and that he is ultimately accountable to God for his actions, as am I. 

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What if:

1) A husband commands his wife to do something which violates her conscience?

2) A husband commands his wife to do something which violates God's law or any rights she has according to scripture?

 

Yeah, because there are oodles of husbands out there commanding their wives to commit grand larceny, murder and jaywalking. 

 

Seriously though, why can't the husband and wife just work it out?  If my husband is asking me to do something that I think goes against God's law, then I am going to appeal to him in a loving manner.  "Honey, I love you and respect you, but I can't fudge our tax returns because I feel that would be dishonest.  Can we figure out something?  Maybe we can save money in other ways."  I wouldn't want to have a judgmental or sanctimonious attitude toward my husband, or shriek at him.  "You wicked, unspiritual man, how *dare* you tell me to do this thing!"

 

As I am not married, I cannot know how I will handle situations I will potentially be faced with as a wife, but I would hope to honor God, and be loving and respectful to my husband, and to follow his leadership in our family.  Honestly, the man I marry would have character of high caliber in the first place; therefore unless he was a total liar, he most likely would not insist on me committing an action I believed to be wrong.

 

But I think the most important thing is whether or not I have an attitude that absolutely honors and respects the man my husband is, understanding that he is fallible like all humans, and that he is ultimately accountable to God for his actions, as am I. 

 

There are two things to consider in a marriage imho regarding the "chain-of-command" as-it-were.  One, there are disagreements between husband and wife over what God Commands.  The other set of disagreements is based on matters between husband and wife.  I think these two questions outline this just fine.

 

On matters that the secularlists always bring up about how to handle commands of a husband to his wife that violate God's Commands (like murder, cheat, steal); frankly, one of His Commands is that He Should be FIRST.  That means that God's Command Trumps all other.  I already posted this earlier, but I think it fits here also...

 

On matters regarding disagreements BETWEEN husband and wife (without violating God's Commands); really, marriage is not for WIMPS.  The trouble starts when spouses try to make decisions on their own.  Couples have to make decisions TOGETHER.  They are ONE.  I suppose talking these things out is a great way to start, like Sabrina wrote.  People have been sayin' it a long time now: communication is key to a happy marriage...

 

Also, it is extremely gracious to think of your husband's feelings by RESPECTING him.  I suppose Sabrina, even though you clarify that you aren't married, maybe married couples have a lot to learn from you already about respect for your spouse.  It really matters...

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I think Candace does a great job in explaining what it means for a woman to be a submissive wife. It's unfortunate that submission is seen as slavery or oppression by this generation. But of course, many biblical principles are cast in a negative light, so I guess such is to be expected with this issue also.

I agree with Johnny when he says we shouldn’t focus so much on hypothetical situations that are exceptions to the rule. But I’d like to take a different angle before answering and see what you all think about it.

Would the believer consider Christ “submissive†to Father God? The following is written about Christ concerning his mission to the world.

Philippians 2:6-8 – who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross

I recently read an article online that presented Christ as the perfect example of submission for faithful women seeking marriage. In it the writer uses passages like the one above to prove that true love is sacrifice. First Christ sacrificed his position/status in relation to God. Next, he sacrificed his will in becoming a servant. Then he sacrificed his life in humility.

There’s even a famous moment in his ministry when his will and God’s will are distinguished from one another before he was to be arrested. He had tremendous fear and asked to avoid the situation if possible, saying, “if you are willing please take this cup from me.†Yet he followed that request with, “not my will but yours be done.â€

If the believer uses Christ’s example as a blueprint, overlaying it with the potential relationship between a Husband and wife, I think there is an interesting parallel we can draw:

Man and woman are equal in form, generally speaking. But in terms of submission, if the wife follows Christ’s example should she see equality with her husband as a thing to hold on to; to take back at a moment’s notice if she doesn’t approve of a direction he’s leading her? Or should she follow the example of Christ’s tremendous love for his Father and be willing to empty herself of that equal status until the point of death?

If I consider the hypothetical questions from this angle, they remind me of this scene with Christ in the garden. Christ’s head, his leader, is telling Christ he needs to be tortured, beaten, stripped naked and hung until dead. Imagine a husband saying this to his wife.

 

Christ, considering the consequences of the direction in which his leader is taking him, had a choice to make: submit or refuse. Christ had good reason to refuse: personal safety, dignity, etc, and had the freedom to do so. “Surely you can find another way Father??â€, he could've said.

 

Setting aside for a moment the benefit we know came from Christ going through what he went through, submitting to his head led to Christ’s degradation/humiliation, pain/suffering and gruesome death. Yet because of the depth of his love for his head, he chose to trust his head and submit to his will regardless.

If Christ proved anything it’s that true love is sacrifice, and in the dynamic between a husband and wife, there’s probably no greater display of sacrifice for her than for a woman, who’s equal to man in form, to humble herself and to submit her will to his until death.

 

Is she forced to? No. It’s her choice to - just like it’s completely her choice to marry him - and that’s what makes it her expression of true love. Christ said there’s no greater love that to lay down one’s life for a friend. So if the husband is expected to give his life for his wife wouldn’t it be love at equal measure for the wife to be a “living†sacrifice for him through submission?

Now such a love/sacrifice requires strength and trust. The wife must be a very strong person to sacrifice such a freedom (which her single life afforded); to trust and have faith in her husband’s will and position as leader over her life. In a way, it becomes her testimony of her faith in what Christ did on the cross. As Christ said, “no one takes my life from me, but I lay it down of my own initiativeâ€, so she says, “no one takes my freedom or will from me, but I lay it down of my own initiative for my husbandâ€.

I feel a wife’s submission to her husband is a heart issue, not necessarily an issue of obligation or ritual or tradition (just like Hebrews explains that our sin consciousness is a heart issue and not about sacrificing bulls and goats for sin). And as such one can also say the only way this “law†of submission can be fulfilled by the wife is through Christ-like love for her man.

 

1 John 4:17-18By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 

 

Now if she's laid down her life in such a tremendous way at the feet of her husband, the onus falls on him to honor that sacrifice by never placing his wife in such a situation what would force her to do something which violates her conscience or violates God's law or any rights she has accordingly. If he does then I've no doubt he'll have to answer for it on the day of Judgment.

 

Hebrews 10:31 - It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

 

That's my take on it.

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I still do oppose your statement. You were arguing concerning what scripture states, not what my imagination can concoct. Ephesians 5:24 is a scripture, and it states the opposite of what you did. Our imaginations, including mine, can certainly come up with scenarios in which a woman would commit a greater evil by obeying her husband than by disobeying, but why are we so concerned about exceptions that we can dream up when the writers of the Bible obviously weren't, seeing as how they didn't even get into those? Moreover, why are we so quick to emphasize exceptions before emphasizing the rule, which is so readily disregarded in modern western society?

 

Exceptions to the rule are as much a part of the rule as any other part. "Scenarios" however unlikely you believe them to come about IN YOUR LIFE are nonetheless important and it allows for insight into the operation of the scripture/rule. I believe scripture is important guideline no matter how fantastical or unlikely a scenario would seem to be. Who would think that a husband would invite his friends to rape his own wife and actually carry it out? How would the "rule" operate in such a scenario? You may say that it is an imaginary situation, so unlikely that trying to form a cohesive view of the rule with such "dreampt up" scenarios is not worthwhile. And yet that is exactly a case I have come across in criminal law and there are certainly worse ones. Saying "well thats an exceptional circumstance and hence the rule has no bearing" is more than useless unless you can actually define what the rule considers exceptional which again is part of the rule!

 

 

 

No, rebellion doesn't necessarily require knowing that you are being disobedient. To give an example, are we not all in rebellion against God before we come to Him through His Son? An atheist would likely claim that he couldn't possibly be in rebellion against something he doesn't even believe in, but would such an argument be valid, or would the atheist be in rebellion against God whether he knows it or not?

 

You are walking around the house with earphones in your ears blasting music. You cannot hear anything anybody says in the room. You haven't done this in order to not hear what others are saying. Your "deafness" is completely innocent. Your father comes in and tells you to fix the washing machine. You don't hear him. You don't even realise he came into the room. Have you disobeyed your father? Have you disobeyed him in the relevant sense of making you guilty for punishment and condemnation? 

 

I believe we are judged according to the light/truth we have received or would receive had we not willfully shut our eyes/ears to it aka willful blindness/ignorance. Thus I believe that someone who never heard of Jesus Christ or the Bible can make it to heaven. 

Below are a few writing exerts on the issue that nicely sum up my beliefs on the issue:

 

Those who have an opportunity to hear the truth, and yet take no pains to hear or understand it, thinking that if they do not hear, they will not be accountable, will be judged guilty before God the same as if they had heard and rejected. There will be no excuse for those who choose to go in error when they might understand what is truth. In His sufferings and death Jesus has made atonement for all sins of ignorance, but there is no provision made for willful blindness....

We shall not be held accountable for the light that has not reached our perception, but for that which we have resisted and refused. A man could not apprehend the truth which had never been presented to him, and therefore could not be condemned for light he had never had. But if he had opportunity to hear the message, and to become acquainted with the truth, and yet refused to improve his opportunity, he will be among the number of whom Christ said, “Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.†Those who deliberately place themselves where they will not have an opportunity of hearing the truth, will be reckoned among those who have heard the truth, and persistently resisted its evidences.

None will be condemned for not heeding light and knowledge that they never had, and they could not obtain. But many refuse to obey the truth that is presented to them by Christ’s ambassadors, because they wish to conform to the world’s standard; and the truth that has reached their understanding, the light that has shone in the soul, will condemn them in the judgment

 

Consider also John 15:22-24; Acts 17:30-31 and Romans 2:12-16

 

scenarios in which a woman would commit a greater evil by obeying her husband than by disobeying

 

If a wife had a perfect of understanding God's moral law, then I would agree with you, but who has such an understanding? Only God has a perfect understanding of what's right and wrong, and he's the one who put the husband as the head of the wife, as pointed out in Ephesians five. Certainly, each person has to be convinced in his own mind concerning right and wrong, but I can't agree that just because someone's conscience supposedly tells her to disobey her husband that she's morally justified in doing so, since as we know, we can be deceived and still have to be held accountable for our disobedience. Remember that Eve was deceived but was still held accountable for it.

 

So....by "greater evil" your implying that even though disobedience may prevent a sin from occuring (e.g. murder) she is still commiting an evil by disobeying her husband? As in murder is a "greater evil" but not doing it and thus disobeying her husband is a "lesser evil" and still in violation of the law? That would place a wife in a possition where it would be impossible for her not to sin!

 

So....your saying God in his perfect understanding of right and wrong gave the husband absolute power to determine right and wrong for his wife? The husband's word is law, infallible, and just and deserves obedience even though it appears to conflicts with other commandments of God? In other words:

1) Murder, theft, lying, etc are sin

2) Unless commanded by a husband to his wife. A wife's sole moral concern is obedience to the word of her husband. To the wife, her husband is her GOD.

 

However, this seems to conflict with your "greater-lesser evil" hypothesis....so I'm a bit confused...

 

Certainly, an individual's conscience should be in line with the Bible/God's word. I did not mean that as long as your following your conscience you'll be fine! But its a different matter for a 3rd party to force someone to violate their conscience.

 

 

If the believer uses Christ’s example as a blueprint, overlaying it with the potential relationship between a Husband and wife, I think there is an interesting parallel we can draw:

Man and woman are equal in form, generally speaking. But in terms of submission, if the wife follows Christ’s example should she see equality with her husband as a thing to hold on to; to take back at a moment’s notice if she doesn’t approve of a direction he’s leading her? Or should she follow the example of Christ’s tremendous love for his Father and be willing to empty herself of that equal status until the point of death?

 

Lets remember that Jesus fully submitted himself to God the Father - omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient.  I would consider such a complete submittion if done by a wife to her husband to be tantamount to idolatry.

 

Note also that the death refered to is temporal death not eternal death.

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'tis the bearded, I've asked you several questions, which you never addressed, so I'm not really inclined to answer any more of yours until you do.

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I recently read an article online that presented Christ as the perfect example of submission for faithful women seeking marriage. In it the writer uses passages like the one above to prove that true love is sacrifice. First Christ sacrificed his position/status in relation to God. Next, he sacrificed his will in becoming a servant. Then he sacrificed his life in humility.

 

Why would one look to a parent-child relationship as a model of what a husband-wife relationship should be?

 

To the main topic, I'd say that the Ephesians 5 verse in question is pretty unambiguous; it absolutely sets up a woman's husband as a "god" she should obey. Whether the rest of the Bible backs this up is another matter. From what I recall, there are at least a few examples of women who go against their husband's will without being demonized for it.

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Why would one look to a parent-child relationship as a model of what a husband-wife relationship should be?

 

To the main topic, I'd say that the Ephesians 5 verse in question is pretty unambiguous; it absolutely sets up a woman's husband as a "god" she should obey. Whether the rest of the Bible backs this up is another matter. From what I recall, there are at least a few examples of women who go against their husband's will without being demonized for it.

 

Well...one shouldn't look to a parent-child relationship model, Steadfast Madcap. One should look to "Christ presented as the perfect example of submission" model. It's his behavior in relation to his "head", spurred by his strength, trust and faith in that "head", that the Christian believer should look to.

 

When one reduces God and Christ's relationship to the natural, outside of the faith, one misses the point. I mean, one who doesn't believe can challenge anything Christ did - or anything the bible says - as a faulty model for any subject...but it's what Christian believers are specifically expected to look to for guidance, you know?

 

But to the main topic, could you share a few biblical examples of women who go against their husband's will that weren't painted negatively? I think I have one in mind and I need to find the passage but I'm curious which ones you're thinking of.

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Lets remember that Jesus fully submitted himself to God the Father - omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. I would consider such a complete submittion if done by a wife to her husband to be tantamount to idolatry.

Note also that the death refered to is temporal death not eternal death.

Hmm...that's a fair opinion but I don't think worship is a factor here - for Christ or the wife - when discussing submission, so I don't think the wife would be in danger of idolatry by completely submitting to her husband. Remember Christ was of equal form with Father God, as also God himself, and yet still completely submitted to his will (to empty himself of his godhood and become human). Christ didn't submit to the Father because of the characteristics that made the Father God, because Christ had the same characteristics. I think the reason why Christ completely submitted is simple: because Father God is over him in authority as his "head".

1 Corinthians 11:3 - But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

...so there's a hierarchy of authority (headship):

God

Christ

Man (as Husband)

Woman (as Wife)

Also, could you explain what you mean by temporal death vs eternal death with regards to using Christ as an example for a wife submitting until death? I understand what they are but I'm not sure what you mean here in relation to the discussion. Thanks.

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@ Joshua

I agree with Johnny when he says we shouldn’t focus so much on hypothetical situations that are exceptions to the rule.

 

 

However, for the wives subjected to husbands who command them to do sinful and/or foolish things, it's not a hypothetical situation or exception, it's a reality.

 

 

I recently read an article online that presented Christ as the perfect example of submission for faithful women seeking marriage ... If the believer uses Christ’s example as a blueprint, overlaying it with the potential relationship between a Husband and wife, I think there is an interesting parallel we can draw:

 

 

 

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the CHURCH submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Eph 5:22-24

 

Wives are NOT instructed to submit to their husbands "like Christ submitted to the Father." That's not a Biblical instruction for wives. The Bible specifically and emphatically instructs wives to submit to their husbands like the CHURCH SUBMITS TO CHRIST. The Bible does NOT say that wives should submit to their husbands "like Christ submitted to the Father." Therefore, the focus should on how the CHURCH submitted to Christ. The parallel, analogy and context of Eph 5:22-24 is between wives and the CHURCH - not wives and Christ.

 

 
Man and woman are equal in form, generally speaking. But in terms of submission, if the wife follows Christ’s example should she see equality with her husband as a thing to hold on to; to take back at a moment’s notice if she doesn’t approve of a direction he’s leading her? 

 

 

The Bible does NOT instruct wives to follow Christ's example of submission to the Father as it relates to wives submitting to their husbands. The Bible does NOT instruct wives to submit to their husbands "like Christ submitted to the Father." That's NOT in the Bible. The Bible specifically and emphatically commands wives to submit to their husbands like the CHURCH submits to Christ. Again, the parallel, analogy and context of Eph 5:22-24 is between wives and the church - not wives and Christ. 

 

 

Or should she follow the example of Christ’s tremendous love for his Father and be willing to empty herself of that equal status until the point of death? 

 

 
The verse in Phil 2: 5-11 is congregational. It's directed at the congregation. It's not simply about how wives should relate to their husbands. The verse in Phil 2:5-11 is about how we should relate to one another (our brothers and sisters) in Christ. Therefore, husbands should also "EMPTY" themselves for their wives. We should also "EMPTY" ourselves for our brothers and sisters in Christ. That passage isn't confined to the marital relationship.
 
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! 9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil 2:5-11, NIV).
 
 
If I consider the hypothetical questions from this angle, they remind me of this scene with Christ in the garden. Christ’s head, his leader, is telling Christ he needs to be tortured, beaten, stripped naked and hung until dead. Imagine a husband saying this to his wife.

 

 

 

Unlike God the Father (Christ's head) husbands are fallible, imperfect sinners. Therefore, if a husband is telling his wife that she must be tortured, beaten, stripped naked and hung until dead in order to please her husband, that's domestic violence, and it's not Christlike. Unfortunately, far too many husbands believe that they have a divine right to torture, beat, strip and/or kill their wives.

 

In Alabama (my home state), 24 domestic homicides were reported in 2013. More than 42 percent of the victims were the wife or ex-wife of the offender.

 

As of Oct. 2015, at least 7 Alabama wives have been murdered by their husbands in 2015:

 

http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/index.ssf/2015/07/found_steve_hutcheson_suspecte.html

 

http://www.al.com/news/montgomery/index.ssf/2015/03/husband_wife_killed_in_apparen.html

 

http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2015/08/couple_charged_with_capital_mu.html

 

http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/index.ssf/2015/04/shooting_hostage_situation_und.html

 

http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/index.ssf/2015/07/husband_charged_in_wifes_death.html

 

http://www.al.com/news/anniston-gadsden/index.ssf/2015/08/oxford_man_arrested_for_stabbi.html

 

http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/index.ssf/2015/01/birmingham_woman_run_over_kill.html

 

That's not including the ones who have been physically injured by husbands and lived to tell the story.  Here's ONE recent example of an Alabama wife who survived the abuse that her husband was committing against her. 

 

http://wiat.com/2015/10/06/man-shot-in-ensley-taken-to-hospital-with-life-threatening-injuries/

 

In Alabama, we've also had several high profile cases where Christian pastors have tortured, beat and killed their wives. 

 

http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/index.ssf/2015/05/homewood_pastors_wife_cited_hu.html

 

http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/index.ssf/2014/08/handsome_devil_case_of_former.html

 

http://blog.al.com/live/2010/04/jury_finds_preacher_guilty_of.html

 

http://www.al.com/living/index.ssf/2014/06/she_still_fears_her_father_pas.html#incart_story_package

 

That's why it's a red flag when people start promoting this kind of stuff in the name of Christ. The Bible does NOT say that husbands should torture, beat, strip naked and hang their wives until dead. The Bible does NOT say that husbands should verbally threaten their wives with violence (being tortured, beaten, being stripped naked and hung until dead) if they don't live up to their husbands' expectations or demands.  Husbands are instructed to love their wives like Christ loved the  church and gave himself up for her (Eph 5:25). Christ didn't torture, beat, strip naked or hang the church (his bride) until dead, and husbands shouldn't do that to their brides either.

 

If Christ proved anything it’s that true love is sacrifice, and in the dynamic between a husband and wife, there’s probably no greater display of sacrifice for her than for a woman, who’s equal to man in form, to humble herself and to submit her will to his until death.

 

 

Husbands (not wives) are directly, specifically and emphatically commanded to love their wives like Christ loved the  church and gave himself up for her (Eph 5:25).  Gave himself up for her meaning "die" for her.

 

Of course, we generally don't expect husbands (Christ-like or otherwise) to get on a cross and die a physical death like Jesus did, but a Christ-like husband's goal will be to die to sin: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, greed, idolatry (Col 3:1-11, Rom 6:2-11). 

 

On a side note, dying to sin: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, greed and idolatry is also a congregational instruction. The congregation of Christ is instructed to die in this way. That includes married folks - BOTH husbands and wives.  

 

Now such a love/sacrifice requires strength and trust. The wife must be a very strong person to sacrifice such a freedom (which her single life afforded); to trust and have faith in her husband’s will and position as leader over her life. 

 

 

The Bible teaches us to put our trust in God alone and not people - husbands or otherwise. There are a multitude of verses about trusting God; far too many to list here. However, this is what the Bible teaches as it relates to trusting mankind:
 
It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. Ps 118:8
 
Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save. Ps 146:3
 
Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he? Is 2:22
 
This is what the LORD says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD. Je 17:5
 
Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint. Pr 25:19
 
Although the Bible tells us to trust God and not mankind, Pr 31:11 states that the husband of a virtuous wife can trust her. However, there is no equivalent verse stating that a wife can or should trust her husband.  

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@ Joshua

However, for the wives subjected to husbands who command them to do sinful and/or foolish things, it's not a hypothetical situation or exception, it's a reality.

 

Hi Proverbs. As we discuss this now in this thread, indeed it's also a reality that virtuous men have commanded their virtuous wives in holiness. It's also true that virtuous men have suffered through lives with sinful rebellious wives. It's also true that sinful men and and sinful wives have ruined the biblical institution of marriage, following no scripture...

 

My comment here was in support of Johnny's statement, that indeed we can imagine a whole host of negative scenarios but it provides no net benefit to the discussion (of a wife submitting biblically) to argue these instances unless it can be proven that the *majority* of Christian husbands - as a rule - command their submissive wives to sin. If you can't prove that, it's a waste of time to consider the virtue of this issue based on that.

 

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the CHURCH submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Eph 5:22-24

 

Wives are NOT instructed to submit to their husbands "like Christ submitted to the Father." That's not a Biblical instruction for wives. The Bible specifically and emphatically instructs wives to submit to their husbands like the CHURCH SUBMITS TO CHRIST. The Bible does NOT say that wives should submit to their husbands "like Christ submitted to the Father." Therefore, the focus should on how the CHURCH submitted to Christ. The parallel, analogy and context of Eph 5:22-24 is between wives and the CHURCH - not wives and Christ.

I don't really understand your contention here.

Aren't ALL followers of Christ commanded to follow Christ's example, which *supersedes* any relationship we have with one another? Paul's letter came after Christ's gospel. Indeed Christ's example is for women and men, as such is paramount to this faith, isn't it? Is Christ all of our example...or are you implying that Christ is just men's example to follow (leaving women without obligation or *right* to Christ)?

We must consider the entire counsel of God with issues (i.e. all of scripture). For instance, I could've said women must submit to their husbands like Israel (called God's wife [Jeremiah 3:8]) submitted to Nebuchadnezzar (book of Daniel) in the OT, and it would've been scripturally accurate, because God appointed him as "head" over Israel. And what's interesting is Neb is considered a "vessel of dishonor" (i.e. a bad guy) who was responsible for Israel's *punishment* and *suffering*...appointed by God over his "wife".

I could've then referenced Paul's NT instruction to submit to government (Romans 13:1) - as an example of a wife's responsibility to submit to her husband - because that's the "authority (head)" God ordained over the people. And as such an ordained authority, Paul also commands not to *resist* or *rebel against* the authority placed over you because God is the one who established it (Romans 13:2).

 

So whether that authority is good or evil, one who's under an authority is required to submit to it because those placed in certain positions of authority by God (parents/husbands/governors/presidents/priests/kings) *must* answer to God at the end of days for how they handled their responsibility. It's not our job to judge them as worthy of our submission as children/wives/subjects/flock/people. The way of God is not a democracy (i.e. bottom-up). It's a theocracy (top-down).

This should make it clear whether we should resist any authority over us for any reason: Child to parent; wife to husband; people to government; church to Christ; Christ to God.

Again here's 1 Corinthians 11:3 - But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

...so the hierarchy of authority (headship) is:

God

Christ

Man (as Husband)

Woman (as Wife)

 

Unlike God the Father (Christ's head) husbands are fallible, imperfect sinners. Therefore, if a husband is telling his wife that she must be tortured, beaten, stripped naked and hung until dead in order to please her husband, that's domestic violence, and it's not Christlike. Unfortunately, far too many husbands believe that they have a divine right to torture, beat, strip and/or kill their wives.

You miss the point of marriage and you miss the point of biblical faith. Why marry someone if you're not going to trust them??

In biblical marriage you are agreeing to a head over you of you're a woman, and a responsibility of headship if you are a man. And with that agreement the woman is expected to have faith in her husband that he is a man of God, while the man is to have faith that his wife is a woman of God. But if these two things are untrustworthy to you (man or woman) then by all means do not marry. It's better if you remained single.

We don't operate off of what we see. We operate off of faith, which necessitates believing in what we *do not see* (Heb 11:1), so your evidence doesn't translate into valid reasons for a woman to be ready to resist or rebel her husband. "What God joins together" (Matthew 19:6) means he has ordained that husband over that wife. And if she CHOOSES to make him her head (as no one is forcing her into it), her responsibility is to submit to her husband. His responsibility is to submit to Christ. Christ's responsibility is to submit to God.

 

So the best advice for any Christians seeking marriage is to weight the costs (Luke 14:28), both man and woman.

 

...but by all means red flag me :)

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'tis the bearded, I've asked you several questions, which you never addressed, so I'm not really inclined to answer any more of yours until you do.

 

I have made my view clear. You have made it clear that you oppose my position yet any further attempts to understand your position have been met with contradictory explanations, however clearly I state the inquiry. My focus on your position was in an attempt to gain some coherency to it. Regardless of whether my position is supported by evidence or not it is internally consistent – yours does not appear to be so and I wanted to clarify the inconsistency before proceeding.

 

The resolution of a potential ethical dilemma - whether or not it is a moral law for a wife to submit/obey her husband even when the command stands in opposition to other moral commands – is obviously more fundamental than exploring any non-conflicting operations of the rule. Hence, my intentions of focusing on this aspect first.

 

 

I don’t have an issue with husband-headship, what I do have an issue with is when that headship is defined and practiced in a way contrary to scripture.

 

 The Bible vests authority in various roles:

Governing authorities and Kings

Church leadership

Masters (of servants/slaves)

Parents

Husbands

 

Yet this authority is not to be followed when to do so would be contrary to the will of God. Consider the examples of disobedience to such authorities in the scripture:

The Egyptian midwives not obeying Pharaoh’s orders to kill Hebrew boy babies

The Canaanite Rahab assisting Hebrew spies in Jericho

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego disobey King Nebuchadnezzar

Daniel’s disobedience of King Darius’ decree

Obadiah saving persecuted prophets

Jonathan disobeying his father Saul’s orders to kill David and instead protecting him

Abigail disobeying her husband Nabal

Peter and John disobeying the Sanhedrin

 

We are not made unaccountable for our actions merely because we follow an earthly authority even one instituted by God. There is no Nuremberg Defence. All human authority is subject to that of God and God must be obeyed first. Acts 5:29 states “We ought to obey God rather than menâ€. Consider the story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-11. Why was Sapphira also punished for her lie when it could easily be said that she was merely acting in compliance with her husband’s wishes?

 

In Ephesians 5, wifely submission “as unto the Lord†does not mean that wifely submission must have the same unconditional ultimacy of her commitment to Christ – that would constitute idolatrous submission.  Rather the manner of submission should be similar in quality to her devotion to Christ. Consider the usage “as to the Lord†in Colossians 3:23-24 which indicates that the service/submission is in service to God not merely man and as such it should be qualitatively different than may ordinarily be expected. Consider also the parallel verse in Colossians 3:18: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lordâ€.  

 

Note also that the wife’s submission is not imposed but chosen. Husbands are commanded to love their wives rather than make them obey. In Ephesians 5 Paul only brings up husband-headship when exhorting wives, not when addressing husbands themselves. This indicates that husbands are not exhorted to exercise headship by keeping their wives in submission. Rather Paul presents husbands with Christ’s headship of sacrificial love towards the church. The church willingly chooses to obey Christ in response to his redeeming love. (Certainly the Church/individuals will reap the ultimate (and natural) consequences of their choice but the choice is nonetheless free and uncoerced.) Thus to the husband, headship is not so much presented as a right over the wife than an obligation to care for his wife. I think it is important to consider what aspects of Christ’s headship Paul draws on in clarifying headship; does he reiterate the absolute power of God? His absolute ability to judge between right and wrong? Deserving of absolute obedience and worship? Paul also draws on the head/body analogy in that the husband should care for his wife as he does for his own body – this would eliminate the wrongs associated with hierarchical marriages. Biblical headship is for the sake of building others and not for one’s own benefit. As Christ’s headship is not tarnished by his self-sacrificing love, so the Church’s submission to Christ’s headship doesn’t tarnish her or her ability to develop to the fullest. Neither headship or submission prevents self-growth and personal fulfilment nor do they change the individual’s equality and value before God. Consider the example of the Godhead (or Trinity or Triune whichever term you use though the definitions do carry a difference in theology): the headship of God the Father does not lessen the value of the Son – both are equally God. It is a matter of function, not value.

 

 

As regarding irresponsible headship (or unbelievers) 1 Corinthians 11:3 sates “the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.†Arguably, a husband cannot rightfully claim headship while in violation of what headship constitutes. Effective headship requires the husband to submit to Christ or at least to the principles of Biblical headship. A husband who is not under the rule of Christ cannot represent the relationship of Christ to the Church. Obviously (as pointed out above) when the chain of responsibility is broken, any God given authority becomes impaired – be it in the home, government, church, or employment/master-servant relationships.

 

It should also be noted that Paul is addressing the case of Christian couples. Peter on the other hand refers to the union of a Christian wife with an unbelieving husband in 1 Peter 3. In such cases the wife is counselled to nonetheless be submissive for the sake of being a witness and condemns wives’ subversiveness merely on the grounds that the husband is an unbeliever. Wives of unbelieving husbands should nonetheless be model wives and can be an enormous blessing to their husbands but as in the case of “Christian†husbands this does not mean they have to submit to abuse. Note that as in the Christian couple, submission does not extend to compromising on God’s law or one’s faith. This is specifically implied here by verse 6.

 

Does this address all your previously unaddressed questions?

 

 

 

 

 

Also, could you explain what you mean by temporal death vs eternal death with regards to using Christ as an example for a wife submitting until death? I understand what they are but I'm not sure what you mean here in relation to the discussion. Thanks.

 

It was to differentiate submission/acts done in accordance with morality unto death (temporal death) and actions done in known violation of morality unto death (unrepentant wilful sinning – leading to eternal death). I just see the "love until death" thing for us humans to only refer to the temporal death - if love is used to excuse actions that would lead to an eternal death then I have a problem with that interpretation.

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'Tis the Bearded One, if you want to consider my explanations contradictory, then that's certainly your right, but that doesn't make it true. I already allowed for the fact that wives may certainly need to disobey in certain circumstances in order to prevent committing a “greater evil,†and by using the phrase “greater evil,†I'm just acknowledging that a biblical principle is being violated in order to keep from violating another. Consider that in John 19:11 that Jesus told Pilate, "You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason He who delivered Me to you has the greater sin." Do we honestly think God can “sin†or that He was doing so by sending Jesus to die, or do we think Jesus was simply acknowledging that by all appearances sending an innocent man to die would be a violation of biblical principles (even though it really wasn't)?

 

I appreciate your explanation and your use of biblical examples. That's what I was hoping for. I would add to the biblical examples you cited that that while the early church was instructed to obey the law of the land, they were right to refuse to do so when the law called for them to abandon their Christian faith or to pledge their loyalty to idols. However, if I stated that there was no scriptural command or counsel for believers to obey the laws of the land, would that be an accurate statement, simply because there could be exceptions to that biblical admonition? Even more importantly, would you tell a bunch of anarchists that there is no scriptural command to obey the laws of the land? In the same way, I wouldn't recommend stating that there is no scriptural command for wives to obey their husbands in everything, since feminists and egalitarians, of whom we have plenty in the readership here, might take that statement differently than you mean it.

 

I don't actually think we're that far apart in our views on this overall submission subject, but I would argue that any wife who has been exposed to biblical teachings, particularly those on submission, is not like the person in your example who is wearing earphones and simply cannot hear his father telling him what to do. I think a more accurate analogy concerning a wife who has been exposed to submission teaching (or just reads the Bible herself) who refuses to submit is of someone who is intentionally wearing headphones in order to not hear his father. When a wife needs to go against her husband (like allowing herself to be raped like in the legal case you mentioned), it should be pretty clear what's right and wrong. I don't really understand the need to bring up such rare exceptions as the basis for your original statement on submission in regards to the NYC Pastor's post, since the list he mentioned didn't really seem to go against your position, but he is pretty extreme in some things (e.g. hell for dead babies and remarriage being an ongoing adultery), so maybe I missed something.

 

I disagree that “as unto the Lord†or “as you do to the Lord†in Ephesians 5:22 has the same meaning as “as is fit (or is pleasing) to the Lord†as mentioned in Colossians 3, but this nuance is basically irrelevant, since you could take Ephesians 5:22 out completely, and you would still have the scriptures following it, which state for wives to submit to their husbands as the church submits to Christ.

 

I'm still unclear over whether you think wives are only required to submit to husbands who are behaving in a Christ-like manner. We certainly agree that husbands should behave in a Christ-like manner, that this is the responsbility of husbands as Ephesians 5 clearly points out, and that the Bible doesn't provide any avenue for a husband to rightly lead in a way that isn't Christ-like, but is leading in a Christ-like manner the “qualifier†you mentioned in order for wives to have to submit? If so, I would again ask if husbands only have to love their wives if their wives are submissive.

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Unlike God the Father (Christ's head) husbands are fallible, imperfect sinners. Therefore, if a husband is telling his wife that she must be tortured, beaten, stripped naked and hung until dead in order to please her husband, that's domestic violence, and it's not Christlike. Unfortunately, far too many husbands believe that they have a divine right to torture, beat, strip and/or kill their wives.

 

...tortured, beaten, stripped naked and hung until dead.... it's not Christlike...  That's an understatement to say the least.  I agree, there are a few sick men (and women) in this world who will use anything to justify their twisted behavior.  It's horrible what those men did to their wives.  If a husband is beating or raping his wife, call the police. If he has some creepy torture basement, call the police.  If he is making verbal threats to cause his wife bodily harm, call the police.  This is a given.  Nobody is telling women they should handcuff themselves to a pole and submit to torture because their husband told them so. 

 

However, I find it highly problematic to use a demented fractional percentage of the population as a guideline for husbands in general.  You went from "men are fallible" (yes, I agree) to "men who torture, strip, beat and murder their wives" (the vast majority of men do not do this).  And in the cases where men DO behave this way, the authorities should be involved immediately.

 

But that begs the question: should husbands still love their wives, even though women are fallible people who sometimes verbally abuse their husbands?  I mean, maybe God only meant for a husband to love his wife when she is Christlike.  If she isn't, then maybe the husband should not love or honor her.

 

I think you made a salient point about trusting God.  It's interesting how Sarah is praised in 1 Peter for obeying her husband -- we can probably agree that Abraham was a very fallible man.  He had his wife pretend to be his single sister and put her in a potentially dangerous situation just to save his own skin.  And yet she is called strong because she trusted in God enough to listen to her fallible, sinful husband.  Husbands are also told to honor and be understanding of their wives. 

 

1 Peter 3

...For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.  Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.

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'Tis the Bearded One, if you want to consider my explanations contradictory, then that's certainly your right, but that doesn't make it true. I already allowed for the fact that wives may certainly need to disobey in certain circumstances in order to prevent committing a “greater evil,†and by using the phrase “greater evil,†I'm just acknowledging that a biblical principle is being violated in order to keep from violating another. 

 

As I've written above, a greater evil requires the existence of a lesser evil. Both evils are nonetheless sin.

 

Let me put it this way: If a wife refuses to murder someone, you are saying she is committing a "lesser evil" because she is violating the biblical principle of obedience to her husband.

                 Will this wife be held accountable for her lesser evil?

                 If not, then you have a case of a person knowingly and intentionaly violating a moral imperative without sanction/consequence which goes against pretty much everything written in the Bible.

                 If she is held accountable, then you place the wife in the possition of choosing between sins (murder or disobedience) with no choice to be without sin - a manifestly unjust situation.

 

I believe that in refusing to committ murder, the wife has committed absolutely no evil/sin (no Biblical principle has been violated) and has nothing to be held accountable for in disobeying her husband. 

 

This is based on my understanding that all sins are essentially equal in that all constitute disobedience to God. Someone who murders an individual has sinned just as someone who has told a lie. Of course the mortal consequences are different but this does not change the fact that both sinned! Thus while the effect of sin is equal, the magnitude can be different in relation to the mortal effects and particularly in regard to the degree of guilt of the offender. I believe no sin is small in the sight of God and can thus be excused - if there was a small sin you'd thing eating a fruit when told not to would qualify.

If you are of the persuasion that some sins break God's law less than others and are thus "better" in that sense and this allows for a hierarchy and a morally sound choice between immoral actions - then I can understand your position a little. Though I don't believe the Bible supports such a view. Really, what you're talking about then is utilitarianism in excusing/justifying the lesser evil to avoid the greater evil...

 

 

 

 

Consider that in John 19:11 that Jesus told Pilate, "You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason He who delivered Me to you has the greater sin." Do we honestly think God can “sin†or that He was doing so by sending Jesus to die, or do we think Jesus was simply acknowledging that by all appearances sending an innocent man to die would be a violation of biblical principles (even though it really wasn't)?

 
God can sin. The thing is He doesn't....
Regarding John 19:11 - I could not find a version of the Bible that supported your quotation of John 19:11 with a capitalised "He". My understanding is that it refers to Caiaphas. In regard to the "greater", I think it refers to the degrees of guilt. Compare the guilt of Pilate who though declaring Jesus innocent subjected Jesus to punishment. Pilate, Herod, and the Roman soldiers were comparatively ignorant of Jesus. Compare this to Caiaphas, who as the high priest represented the Jewish nation. They knew of the prophecies proclaiming Christ and also of Christ's own teachings and miracles. Caiaphas/the Jewish judges received unmistakable evidence of Jesus' divinity and they still condemned him to death. Having the greater light which they violated, their sin was comparatively greater than that of the ignorant Pilate.
 
I don't think that Jesus would effectively state God the Father sinned when in fact He really didn't....There is nothing that suggests to me that he is merely acknowledging false appearance of sin. But if you think so, in your reference to the wife committing the "lesser evil" of disobedience (instead of the "greater evil") are you saying it only appears to be a lesser evil when in fact it is not any kind of evil??
 
 
 

I would add to the biblical examples you cited that that while the early church was instructed to obey the law of the land, they were right to refuse to do so when the law called for them to abandon their Christian faith or to pledge their loyalty to idols. However, if I stated that there was no scriptural command or counsel for believers to obey the laws of the land, would that be an accurate statement, simply because there could be exceptions to that biblical admonition? Even more importantly, would you tell a bunch of anarchists that there is no scriptural command to obey the laws of the land?

 
Scripture commands/counsels believers to obey the laws of the land.
 
OR
 
Scripture commands/counsels believers to absolutely obey all the laws of the land regardless of merit or conflict with God's moral law.
 
See the difference?
 
 

In the same way, I wouldn't recommend stating that there is no scriptural command for wives to obey their husbands in everything, since feminists and egalitarians, of whom we have plenty in the readership here, might take that statement differently than you mean it.

 
I'd say that feminists and egalitarians would agree with your formulation of my position in that quote. Egalitarians by definition agree and (the stereotypical) feminists probably moreso if they are believers in the Bible. If not, then yes I see your point since they are likely to extract only a part of scripture. That being said, I already covered this. Allow me to quote myself:
 
 

Ephesians 5:24: Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

 

To take one verse, or in your case a part of one verse, and to say that therefore a certain command exists is a bad case of reading out of context. At best you could say that "part of a verse commands that wives be subject to their husbands in everything" even that is far stretched because you cannot cut out the bolded section of the verse below without the rest making ANY sense so you would have to say "a [warped] paraphrase of part of a verse commands that wives be subject to their husbands in everything". 

 

Rules, conditions, and exceptions to commands are PART OF THE COMMAND because without them you are presenting something incomplete and out of context.

 

 

Even if we restricted the analysis to only Ephesians 5:24 it does not present an absolute command for wives to be subject to their husbands in everything to say so would be to ignore the first and very important section of the verse which presents a context/condition to any possible command: "as the church is subject unto Christ". 

 

...to use words like "everything" without expounding on what that "every thing" means in that verse and simply applying the modern english definition of "every thing" misrepresents the true meaning according to Expositor's Greek Testament which states it refers to everything pertaining to the marriage-relation. What that exactly excludes or includes is a whole issue in itself.

 

So at best you could say "an incompletely, verbatim, paraphrase of part of a verse of the English translation....."

 
 
If I state: "scripture commands wives to obey their husbands in everything" it presents a warped picture of the issue of marital submission since there is so much more to it. Hearers will interpret it according to normal english language usage (which implies an absolute obedience to absolutely everything) which would be incorrect when you contextualise the issue of marital submission in the Bible.
 
If I cherry-picked Nahum 1:2 [ KJV: God is jealous, and the Lord revengeth; the Lord revengeth, and is furious; the Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies. NLT: The LORD is a jealous God, filled with vengeance and rage. He takes revenge on all who oppose him and continues to rage against his enemies!] and used it to say:
 
    The Bible states that God is a jealous God, filled with vengeance and rage and wrath!
 
Would this be an accurate statement considering how people will interpret these words to a meaning not supported by scripture? [for those interested in the scriptural meaning see http://christianthinktank.com/madgod.html] 
 
Another classic would be texts that refer to fearing God. If I didn't explain the type of fear referred to, an uninitiated will misunderstand the meaning. 
 

 

I don't actually think we're that far apart in our views on this overall submission subject, but I would argue that any wife who has been exposed to biblical teachings, particularly those on submission, is not like the person in your example who is wearing earphones and simply cannot hear his father telling him what to do. I think a more accurate analogy concerning a wife who has been exposed to submission teaching (or just reads the Bible herself) who refuses to submit is of someone who is intentionally wearing headphones in order to not hear his father. 

 

The issue was whether knowledge was required for culpable disobedience/rebellion regardles of the context/issue be it submission in marriage or otherwise. Wilfull ignorance is tantamount to knowledge. When you but it like that yes, she is being disobedient. However I would be careful to assign a requisite degree of knowledge merely from exposure or reading the Bible - her interpretation of submision and its boundaries may well be different from that of her husband.

 

 

 

When a wife needs to go against her husband (like allowing herself to be raped like in the legal case you mentioned), it should be pretty clear what's right and wrong. I don't really understand the need to bring up such rare exceptions as the basis for your original statement on submission in regards to the NYC Pastor's post, since the list he mentioned didn't really seem to go against your position, but he is pretty extreme in some things (e.g. hell for dead babies and remarriage being an ongoing adultery), so maybe I missed something.

 

"Pretty clear what's right and wrong" doesn't help the matter when one makes a statement that strongly suggests absolute obedience to the husband in everything is commanded by scripture. People believe some pretty wacky stuff about the Bible and in general people can have some VERY different perspectives on right and wrong so appealing to common sense is an insufficient context to the statement of marital submission. 

 

The NYC pastor didn't seem to go against my position though an uninitiated reader could draw the conclusions that would oppose my position from his writings. Thus I merely mentioned it as an aside and further explanation.

 

 

 

 

I disagree that “as unto the Lord†or “as you do to the Lord†in Ephesians 5:22 has the same meaning as “as is fit (or is pleasing) to the Lord†as mentioned in Colossians 3, but this nuance is basically irrelevant, since you could take Ephesians 5:22 out completely, and you would still have the scriptures following it, which state for wives to submit to their husbands as the church submits to Christ.

 

 

I would counsel against simply taking out part of a paragraph and claiming its meaning remains intact especially considering the ancient greek in which it was written lacked punctuation and spacing.....Also both verse 23 and 24 build on verse 22 in starting with "For" and "Therefore". v 23 and 24 can be seen as an expansion and explanation of v22.

 

But for arguments sake, if there was a substantive difference in meaning, if they are mutually exclusive and do not inform eachother, how would you resolve this conflict? Who would be subject to which one? Consider how similar the sentences are:

 

Collosians 3:18 - Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.

Ephesians 5:22 -  Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

 

 

I'm still unclear over whether you think wives are only required to submit to husbands who are behaving in a Christ-like manner. We certainly agree that husbands should behave in a Christ-like manner, that this is the responsbility of husbands as Ephesians 5 clearly points out, and that the Bible doesn't provide any avenue for a husband to rightly lead in a way that isn't Christ-like, but is leading in a Christ-like manner the “qualifier†you mentioned in order for wives to have to submit? If so, I would again ask if husbands only have to love their wives if their wives are submissive.

 

 

I think wives should also submit to non-believing/non-Christlike husbands as mentioned in the last post. But as I understand the issue wives are not require to submit to immoral commands or abuse regardless of whether the husband is a believer or not. 

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As I've written above, a greater evil requires the existence of a lesser evil. Both evils are nonetheless sin.

 

Let me put it this way: If a wife refuses to murder someone, you are saying she is committing a "lesser evil" because she is violating the biblical principle of obedience to her husband.

                 Will this wife be held accountable for her lesser evil?

                 If not, then you have a case of a person knowingly and intentionaly violating a moral imperative without sanction/consequence which goes against pretty much everything written in the Bible.

                 If she is held accountable, then you place the wife in the possition of choosing between sins (murder or disobedience) with no choice to be without sin - a manifestly unjust situation.

 

I believe that in refusing to committ murder, the wife has committed absolutely no evil/sin (no Biblical principle has been violated) and has nothing to be held accountable for in disobeying her husband. 

 

This is based on my understanding that all sins are essentially equal in that all constitute disobedience to God. Someone who murders an individual has sinned just as someone who has told a lie. Of course the mortal consequences are different but this does not change the fact that both sinned! Thus while the effect of sin is equal, the magnitude can be different in relation to the mortal effects and particularly in regard to the degree of guilt of the offender. I believe no sin is small in the sight of God and can thus be excused - if there was a small sin you'd thing eating a fruit when told not to would qualify.

If you are of the persuasion that some sins break God's law less than others and are thus "better" in that sense and this allows for a hierarchy and a morally sound choice between immoral actions - then I can understand your position a little. Though I don't believe the Bible supports such a view. Really, what you're talking about then is utilitarianism in excusing/justifying the lesser evil to avoid the greater evil...

 

 

I already explained my reasoning for using the terminology I did. I don't really care enough to continue to discuss the use of it when it was just a figure of speech to begin with, so feel free to disregard that part of my post if you want.

 

Regarding John 19:11 - I could not find a version of the Bible that supported your quotation of John 19:11 with a capitalised "He". My understanding is that it refers to Caiaphas. In regard to the "greater", I think it refers to the degrees of guilt. Compare the guilt of Pilate who though declaring Jesus innocent subjected Jesus to punishment. Pilate, Herod, and the Roman soldiers were comparatively ignorant of Jesus. Compare this to Caiaphas, who as the high priest represented the Jewish nation. They knew of the prophecies proclaiming Christ and also of Christ's own teachings and miracles. Caiaphas/the Jewish judges received unmistakable evidence of Jesus' divinity and they still condemned him to death. Having the greater light which they violated, their sin was comparatively greater than that of the ignorant Pilate.

 

You could be right. I would need to review this section of scripture again with this thought in mind. However, I wouldn't necessarily draw conclusions about the subject of a noun or pronoun based on which words are capitalized, since capital letters didn't exist in the Ancient Greek writing and were added by the English translators. (You're probably aware of this, but not everyone is).

 

I don't think that Jesus would effectively state God the Father sinned when in fact He really didn't....There is nothing that suggests to me that he is merely acknowledging false appearance of sin. But if you think so, in your reference to the wife committing the "lesser evil" of disobedience (instead of the "greater evil") are you saying it only appears to be a lesser evil when in fact it is not any kind of evil??

 

Yes.

 

 

Scripture commands/counsels believers to obey the laws of the land.

 
OR
 
Scripture commands/counsels believers to absolutely obey all the laws of the land regardless of merit or conflict with God's moral law.
 
See the difference?

 

Yes, but who's argued that wives should obey husbands regardless of merit or conflict God's moral law? The problem, though, is that not everyone is going to have the same concept of what's moral. So far, I believe you've used examples that very few people could argue against like in regards to rape and murder, but there are plenty of other, more likely examples of what we may find in Christian marriages. Let's say a wife feels it's wrong to eat out on Sundays. (Some people do. I know some of them). Can say she won't let her husband take the kids out to eat after church on Sunday? Can a wife rightly nag her husband if he lets their daughters wear pants instead of only skirts? Can a wife rightly refuse to sleep in the same bed as her husband if he watched Game of Thrones that night, assuming he wants her there (http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/2015/02/husband-watches-nudity-on-tv/)? I say no to all of these, but again, I know each believer has to search these issues out for him or herself.

 

    The Bible states that God is a jealous God, filled with vengeance and rage and wrath!

 
Would this be an accurate statement considering how people will interpret these words to a meaning not supported by scripture? [for those interested in the scriptural meaning see http://christianthinktank.com/madgod.html] 
 
Another classic would be texts that refer to fearing God. If I didn't explain the type of fear referred to, an uninitiated will misunderstand the meaning. 

 

It would be an accurate statement, and it would be a grossly inaccurate statement to claim that there's no scripture which states that God is a jealous, wrathful, and vengeful God. 

 

The issue was whether knowledge was required for culpable disobedience/rebellion regardles of the context/issue be it submission in marriage or otherwise. Wilfull ignorance is tantamount to knowledge. When you but it like that yes, she is being disobedient. However I would be careful to assign a requisite degree of knowledge merely from exposure or reading the Bible - her interpretation of submision and its boundaries may well be different from that of her husband.

 

Oh, I'd say most people's interpretation of submission in the Western church is going to be a feminized version. That's where you get the idea of "mutual submission" or even submission reversal (i.e. the husband submitting to the wife). However, I don't believe people are going to be held blameless for simply misinterpreting scripture, particularly when their interpretation of it is causing them to violate it.

 

"Pretty clear what's right and wrong" doesn't help matters when one makes a statement that strongly suggests absolute obedience to the husband in everything is commanded by scripture. People believe some pretty wacky stuff about the Bible and in general people can have some VERY different perspectives on right and wrong so appealing to common sense is an insufficient context to the statement of marital submission. 

 

It doesn't? Apparently, it was clear enough that Paul didn't feel the need to point out that wives aren't compelled to have to murder people if command to do so by their husbands, even though he used the words "in everything." Why do you think Paul wrote that scripture the way he did? I don't believe I've heard you explain that yet. By the way, you're the only one who's used the word "absolute."

 

 

I would counsel against simply taking out part of a paragraph and claiming its meaning remains intact especially considering the ancient greek in which it was written lacked punctuation and spacing.....Also both verse 23 and 24 build on verse 22 in starting with "For" and "Therefore". v 23 and 24 can be seen as an expansion and explanation of v22.

 

 

So verse 22 is more like a verse in another section of the Bible than it is like the two verses immediately following it? Verse 22 only means "as is fitting" and not "in the same manner as" even though Paul expounds on what verse 22 means in the verses that follow it with the Christ / church model?

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@ Sabrina

 

tortured, beaten, stripped naked and hung until dead.... it's not Christlike...  That's an understatement to say the least.  I agree, there are a few sick men (and women) in this world who will use anything to justify their twisted behavior ...

 

 

More than a FEW husbands have abused their wives and used the Bible to justify that abuse. Unfortunately, there is a lot of domestic violence going on behind closed doors, and a lot of the victims and their abusers attend church. Christian-based LifeWay Research recently conducted a study called In church, a taboo topic: Religious leaders try to break silence about domestic violence on abuse among flock. http://res.dallasnews.com/interactives/2014_deadlyaffection/part8/

 

I also acknowledge that some wives verbally and/or phyiscally abuse their husbands, and that's not right either. However, I've never heard about any women attempting to use the Bible to justify wives verbally and/or physically abusing their husbands.

 

Nobody is telling women they should handcuff themselves to a pole and submit to torture because their husband told them so.

 

 

Some clergy have encouraged wives to continue living with and obeying abusive husbands.

 

A battered wife, Karen Cox Smith, sought help from her local church. Afterwards, the couple reconciled and lived together in DeSoto. The Smiths and their three children began attending Inspiring Body of Christ, a church in the Red Bird area. Ferdinand Smith - the abusive husband - joined the choir and served as an usher. His wife thought he had changed. But the change didn’t last. The victim's mother said she begged her daughter to leave, but the Smiths’ pastor, Rickie G. Rush, advised otherwise. Her husband, Ferdinand Glen Smith, 42, gunned her down as she left work. He killed her and confessed to the shooting. Pastor Rush would not comment on the murder of Karen Cox Smith and would not return repeated telephone inquiries from the media. 

 

Things got so difficult at home for slay victim Deisy Garcia, “She asked the pastor for help. She wanted help with her husband. He had a bad attitude,†said Diana Villa, 44, a fellow parishioner at Iglesia Naciones Unidas en Cristo, the Queens church attended by the deeply religious Garcia, an immigrant from Guatemala. Her husband, Miguel Ramos, would later  murder her and their daughters, Danielle, 2, and Yoselyn, 1.

 

When Connie Nash showed up at church “black and blue†from her husband’s beatings, a pastor told her she “needed to keep forgiving, and I needed to pray for him and just keep asking God to change him and to help me be a better wife,†she remembered. 

 

To some in the Christian community, discussing Christian husbands who abuse their authority and questions like the ones posed by the OP are a waste of time since the majority of Christian husbands - as a rule - don't torture, beat, murder or command their wives to sin. However, God cares about the minority just as much as he cares about the majority. A good shepherd will leave the 99 sheep in the fold (the majority) to search and rescue the 1 (the minority) that got lost (Luke 18:12).
 
Some in the church consider discussions about Christian husbands who abuse their authority and questions like the ones posed by the OP a waste of time since the majority of Christian husbands don't torture, beat, murder or command their wives to sin. However, the government took these issues like seriously. The murder of Karen Cox and the murder of Deisy Garcia and her 2 kids spurred new domestic violence prevention legislation.
 
However, I find it highly problematic to use a demented fractional percentage of the population as a guideline for husbands in general.  

 

 

Where does it say that I was referring to husbands in general? Where? To say that Christian husbands generally command their wives to sin would be an example of stereotyping. To say that Christian husbands generally torture, beat, strip naked and murder their wives would be an example of stereotyping; and as an African American, I know the damage stereotyping can do. 
 
The OP was not asking about husbands in general. The OP was specifically asking about "a husband [who] commands his wife to do something which violates God's law or any rights she has according to scripture?" The OP never stated that all husbands do that. The OP never stated that husbands generally do it. 
 
You went from "men are fallible" (yes, I agree) to "men who torture, strip, beat and murder their wives" (the vast majority of men do not do this).  

 

 

In post #10, Joshua (not proverbs35) said, "If I consider the hypothetical questions from this angle, they remind me of this scene with Christ in the garden. Christ’s head, his leader, is telling Christ he needs to be tortured, beaten, stripped naked and hung until dead. Imagine a husband saying this to his wife."

 

Joshua introduced the imagery of a husband telling his wife that she needs to be tortured, beat, stripped naked and hung until dead based on some sort  of religiosity. I RESPONDED to the idea of a husband telling his wife that she has to be tortured, beaten, stripped naked and murdered in order to please her husband. I didn't introduce that idea, phrase or imagery. I RESPONDED to an idea, phrase and imagery that had already been presented. 

 

Ideas, phrases and imagery like that are EXTRA-biblical and counterproductive, especially in light of what happened to Karen Cox, Deisy Garcia and her 2 kids and Connie Nash. They didn't have to IMAGINE it. They experienced it, and some of 'em didn't live to tell the story.

 

But that begs the question: should husbands still love their wives, even though women are fallible people who sometimes verbally abuse their husbands?  

 

 

Yes. Husbands (and wives) should love their spouses unconditionally. Agape love is unconditional. Agape love never fails (1 Cor 13:8). However, obedience is CONDITIONAL, and that's illustrated in the Bible. See Scripture references below.

 

... we can probably agree that Abraham was a very fallible man.  He had his wife pretend to be his single sister and put her in a potentially dangerous situation just to save his own skin.  And yet she is called strong because she trusted in God enough to listen to her fallible, sinful husband.  

 

 

Indeed, she did. Sarah bore Abraham's buderns and prefered his need (preservation of his life) before her own virtue. Therefore, her example is an important one, but it's not the only one presented in scripture about submission to authority. We, unlike Sarah, have a progressive revelation of God's word. God did not unfold His entire plan to humanity in the Book of Genesis or in the entire Old Testament. God revealed various aspects of His will and overall plan for humanity over different periods of time from Genesis to Revelations. Paul said, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Tim 3:16-17). 

 

1.) Should wives submit to their husbands? YES! Why? Because the Bible commands it: Eph 5:22, Col 3:18, 1 Pet 3 :1, Tit 2:5.
 
2.) Should a wife obey what the Bible CLEARLY defines as sin or foolishness because her husband commands her to do it? We have several demonstrative, Biblical examples that illustrate NO. 

 

  • Abigail disobeyed her husband's foolish instructions. Abigail went behind Nabal's back and against his wishes and sent David and his men bread, water and meat. David thanked Abigail for staying his hand and repented of his own rash decision to slaughter Nabal and the men in his house(1 Samuel chap 25). 
 
  • Unlike Abigail, Sapphira was a foolish wife. She conspired with her husband and lied to the Holy Spirit. As a result, she followed her husband straight to an early grave. Although she was only doing what was generally considered a wife's duty by cooperating and agreeing with her husband, Sapphira received the very same punishment as Ananias. She didn't receive mercy because Ananias was the the head and she wasn't (Acts 5:1-11). 
 
  • According to a law established by the king, Esther's husband, no man or woman was suppose to approach the king in the inner court without being summoned. The penalty for approaching  the king in the inner court without being summoned was death, unless the king decided to grant  the person mercy (Es 4:11). Esther disobeyed that particular law. She risked her life by approaching the king in the inner court without being summoned in order to intercede for her people (Es 5:1). Long story short, Esther found favor with the king and was able to help save the Jews from annihilation. Focus On The Family: When Not to Submit to Your Husband
 
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right (Ep 6:1). Col 3:20, Ex 20:12, De 5:16 
  • Jonathan's disobeyed his father. He refused to comply with his father's plan to kill David (I Sam 19 & 20). 
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God (Ro 13:1). 1 Pe 2:13-14
 
  • Jonathan's disobeyed his king. Jonathan refused to comply with the king's plan to kill David.  Saul was Jonathan's father (parental authority) and king (governmental authority).  I Sam 19 & 20.  
 
  • The king instructed the midwives to kill the newborn Hebrew boys, but the midwives refused to kill the infants. As a result, God was kind to the midwives and gave them families of their own (Exodus 1:15-22). 
 
  • Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.†(Ex 1:22). However, Moses' mother refused to kill him. 
 
  • So the king of Jericho sent this order to Rahab: "Turn over the men who came to you--the ones who came to your house--for they have come to spy on the whole land!" (Jos 2:3). Rahab disobeyed and hid the Israeli spies rather that turn them over to her government (Jos 6:25). 
 
  • All the royal officials at the king's gate knelt down and paid honor to Haman, for the king had commanded this concerning him. But Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor (Es 3:2).
 
  • The royal officials all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den. 8Now, Your Majesty, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.†9So King Darius put the decree in writing. (Dan 6:7). However, Daniel refused to stop praying to God.
 
  • The  3 Hebrew boys refused to bow to king’s golden idol (Daniel chapter 3).
 
  • Amos continued to prophesy at Bethel right after the king ordered him to stop (Amos 7:10-17). 

 

  • The rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem commanded  Peter and John  to stop speaking or teaching at all in the name of Jesus. Peter and John refused to stop speaking and teaching in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:18). The apostles were brought before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. "We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,†he said. Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings! (Acts 5:29).
 

 

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@ Joshua:

 

it's also a reality that virtuous men have commanded their virtuous wives in holiness.

 

 

That's true, and it's absolutely beautiful when BOTH spouses are committed to God and each other and fulfill their marital obligations.

It's also true that virtuous men have suffered through lives with sinful rebellious wives. 

 

 

 

I agree. The reverse is also true. Some virtuous wives have suffered through lives with sinful, disobedient husbands.

 

It's also true that sinful men and and sinful wives have ruined the biblical institution of marriage, following no scripture... 

 

 

Absolutely. I agree with you on that.

 

My comment here was in support of Johnny's statement, that indeed we can imagine a whole host of negative scenarios but it provides no net benefit to the discussion (of a wife submitting biblically) to argue these instances unless it can be proven that the *majority* of Christian husbands - as a rule - command their submissive wives to sin. If you can't prove that, it's a waste of time to consider the virtue of this issue based on that.   

 

To some in the Christian community, discussions about HOW a wife should respond (or not respond) to a sinful and/or foolish instruction given to her by her husband are "a waste of time." However, just because human beings consider a subject a waste of time doesn't mean that God considers that subject matter a waste of time. God is not classicist or discriminatory. God cares about the problems that only a few people face just as much as he cares about the problems that most people face. A good shepherd will leave the 99 sheep in the fold (the majority) to search and rescue the 1 (the minority) that got lost (Luke 18:12).

 

I could've then referenced Paul's NT instruction to submit to government (Romans 13:1) - as an example of a wife's responsibility to submit to her husband - because that's the "authority (head)" God ordained over the people. And as such an ordained authority, Paul also commands not to *resist* or *rebel against* the authority placed over you because God is the one who established it (Romans 13:2).  

 

 

So whether that authority is good or evil, one who's under an authority is required to submit to it because those placed in certain positions of authority by God 

 

We must consider the entire counsel of God with issues (i.e. all of scripture).  

 

 

I absolutely agree that "we MUST consider the entire counsel of God with issues (i.e. ALL of scripture). "

 

ALL SCRIPTURE is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Tim 3:16-17). 

 

Therefore, it's necessary to consider other examples in scripture that illustrate HOW subordinates should respond to commands from an authority that violate God's law (i.e. what the Bible defines as sin and/or foolishness).

 

Wives, place yourselves under your husbands' authority as you have placed yourselves under the Lord's authority (Ep 5:22 GWT). 

 

 Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord (Col 3:18). 
 
In a similar way, you wives must submit yourselves to your husbands so that, even if some of them refuse to obey the word, they may be won over without a word through your conduct as wives  (1 Pe 3:1).

 

The Bible specifically and emphatically teaches that wives should submit to their own husbands. However, wives should not obey commands given by their husbands (or any other human authority) that violate God's law (i.e. BIBLICALLY defined sin and/or foolishness). There are multiple examples of that in scripture:

 

  • Abigail disobeyed her husband's foolish instructions. Abigail went behind Nabal's back and against his wishes and sent David and his men bread, water and meat. David thanked Abigail for staying his hand and repented of his own rash decision to slaughter Nabal and the men in his house(1 Samuel 25:32–34). 
  • Unlike Abigail, Sapphira was a foolish wife. She conspired with her husband and lied to the Holy Spirit. As a result, she followed her husband straight to an early grave. Although she was only doing what was generally considered a wife's duty by cooperating and agreeing with her husband, Sapphira received the very same punishment as Ananias. She didn't receive mercy because Ananias was the the head and she wasn't (Acts 5:1-11). 
  • According to a law established by the king, Esther's husband, no man or woman was suppose to approach the king in the inner court without being summoned. The penalty for approaching  the king in the inner court without being summoned was death, unless the king decided to grant  the person mercy (Es 4:11). Esther disobeyed that particular law. She risked her life by approaching the king in the inner court without being summoned in order to intercede for her people (Es 5:1). Long story short, Esther found favor with the king and was able to help save the Jews from annihilation.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right (Ep 6:1). Col 3:20, Ex 20:12, De 5:16 
  • Jonathan's disobeyed his father. He refused to comply with his father's plan to kill David (I Sam 19 & 20). 
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God (Ro 13:1). 1 Pe 2:13-14
  • Jonathan's disobeyed his king. Jonathan refused to comply with the king's plan to kill David.  Saul was Jonathan's father (parental authority) and king (governmental authority).  I Sam 19 & 20.  
  • Nabal's servant went behind his back and informed Abigail about his decision to withhold bread, water and meat from David and his men. The servant obeyed Abigail rather than Nabal and took David and his men food and wine. The servant disobeyed Nabal's wishes. Nabal almost got himself and all the men in his house killed, but David spared Nabal's life and the lives of the men in his house because of what Abigail and the servant did (1 Sam 25).  
  • The king instructed the midwives to kill the newborn Hebrew boys, but the midwives refused to kill the infants. As a result, God was kind to the midwives gave them families of their own (Exodus 1:15-22). 
  • Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.†(Ex 1:22). However, Moses' mother refused to kill him. 
  • So the king of Jericho sent this order to Rahab: "Turn over the men who came to you--the ones who came to your house--for they have come to spy on the whole land!" (Jos 2:3). Rahab disobeyed and hid the Israeli spies rather that turn them over to her government (Jos 6:25). 
  • All the royal officials at the king's gate knelt down and paid honor to Haman, for the king had commanded this concerning him. But Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor (Es 3:2).
  • The royal officials all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den. 8Now, Your Majesty, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.†9So King Darius put the decree in writing. (Dan 6:7). However, Daniel refused to stop praying to God.
  •  The  3 Hebrew boys refused to bow to king’s golden idol (Daniel chapter 3).
  • Amos continued to prophesy at Bethel right after the king ordered him to stop (Amos 7:10-17). 
  • The rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem commanded  Peter and John  to stop  speaking or teaching at all in the name of Jesus. Peter and John refused to stop speaking and teaching in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:18). The apostles were brought before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. "We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,†he said. Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings! (Acts 5:29). 
(parents/husbands/governors/presidents/priests/kings) *must* answer to God at the end of days for how they handled their responsibility. It's not our job to judge them as worthy of our submission as children/wives/subjects/flock/people. The way of God is not a democracy (i.e. bottom-up). It's a theocracy (top-down).

 

Absolutely! Parents, husbands, governmental officals and religious leaders WILL answer to God for how they handled their responsibility and authority. However, those under authority (wives, children, and other subjects) WILL also have to answer to God if they obey commands given by human authorities that violate God's law (i.e. what the Bible defines as sin and/or foolishness). There are multiple examples of that in scripture:

 

1.) Sapphira conspired with her husband and lied to the Holy Spirit. As a result, she followed her husband straight to an early grave. Although she was only doing what was generally considered a wife's duty by cooperating and agreeing with her husband, Sapphira received the very same punishment as Ananias. She didn't receive mercy because Ananias was the head and she wasn't (Acts 5:1-11).  
 
2.) God promised King Jeroboam, the son of Nebat,  a secure kingdom and a long lasting dynasty if he would trust the LORD, but Jeroboam didn't believe God would deliver on his promise. In order to achieve security, he abolished the national worship of the LORD and inaugurated the golden calf cult. Sexual immorality had long been part of calf worship. Jeroboam led the children of Israel into sin against God (1 Ki 11:25 - 14:20; 2 Ch 10:1 - 13:20). 
 
Jeroboam became the prototype of an evil king. Several kings who ruled after him followed his example and continued to lead the children of Israel into sin:
  • Jeroboam's son Nadab became king over Israel during the second year of the reign of King Asa over Judah. He reigned over Israel for two years, practicing what the LORD considered to be evil, living the way his father did, committing sins, and leading Israel to sin (1 Ki 15:25-26).
  • Later, a message came from the LORD to Hanani's son Jehu. It was directed to rebuke Baasha, and this is what it said: I raised you from the dirt to become Commander-in-Chief over my people Israel, but you've been living like Jeroboam, you've been leading my people Israel into sin, and you've been provoking me to anger with their sins (1 Ki 16:2).
  • When Zimri observed that the city had been captured, he retreated into the king's palace, set fire to the citadel, and died when the palace burned down around him because of the sins that he committed by doing what the LORD considered to be evil, living like Jeroboam did, and sinning so as to lead Israel into sin (1 Kings 16:18). 
  • Omri practiced what the LORD considered to be evil, doing far more evil than anyone who had reigned before him. He lived just like Nebat's son Jeroboam, and by his sin he led Israel into sin, provoking the LORD God of Israel with their idolatry (1 Ki 16:25).   
  • Ahab asked Elijah, "So you've found me, my enemy?" Elijah answered, "I found you. Because you sold yourself to do what the LORD considers evil. 21So I am going to bring evil on you. I will destroy your descendants. I will destroy every male in Ahab's [house], whether slave or freeman in Israel. 22 I will make your family like the family of Jeroboam (Nebat's son) and like the house of Baasha, son of Ahijah, because you made me furious. You led Israel to sin." (1 Ki 21:20-22)
  • Ahab's son Ahaziah became king over Israel in Samaria in the seventeenth year of King Jehoshaphat of Judah. He reigned for two years over Israel. He practiced what the Lord considered to be evil by living life like his father and mother did. He lived like Nebat's son Jeroboam, who led Israel into sin (1 Ki 22:51).
  • Jehoahaz son of Jehu began to rule over Israel in the twenty-third year of King Joash’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria seventeen years. 2 But he did what was evil in the LORD’s sight. He followed the example of Jeroboam son of Nebat, continuing the sins that Jeroboam had led Israel to commit. 3 So the LORD was very angry with Israel, and he allowed King Hazael of Aram and his son Ben-hadad to defeat them repeatedly (2 Ki 13:1-3).
  • Jehoash son of Jehoahaz began to rule over Israel in the thirty-seventh year of King Joash’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria sixteen years. 11But he did what was evil in the LORD’s sight. He refused to turn from the sins that Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel to commit (2 Ki 13:10-11).
  • Jeroboam II, the son of Jehoash, began to rule over Israel in the fifteenth year of King Amaziah’s reign in Judah. Jeroboam reigned in Samaria forty-one years. 24He did what was evil in the LORD’s sight. He refused to turn from the sins that Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel to commit (2 Ki 14:23-24).
  • Zechariah son of Jeroboam II began to rule over Israel in the thirty-eighth year of King Uzziah’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria six months. 9 Zechariah did what was evil in the LORD’s sight, as his ancestors had done. He refused to turn from the sins that Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel to commit (2 Kings 15:8-9).
  • Menahem son of Gadi began to rule over Israel in the thirty-ninth year of King Uzziah’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria ten years. 18 But Menahem did what was evil in the LORD’s sight. During his entire reign, he refused to turn from the sins that Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel to commit (2 Kings 15:17-18).
  • Pekahiah son of Menahem began to rule over Israel in the fiftieth year of King Uzziah’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria two years. 24But Pekahiah did what was evil in the LORD’s sight. He refused to turn from the sins that Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel to commit (2 Kings 15:23-24).
  • Pekah son of Remaliah began to rule over Israel in the fifty-second year of King Uzziah’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria twenty years. 28But Pekah did what was evil in the LORD’s sight. He refused to turn from the sins that Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel to commit (2 Kings 15:27-28).

God held King Jeroboam and the kings who followed his evil example of leading Israel into sin accountable. However, God also held the children of Israel accountable for obeying and following those evil kings into sin. God wasn't pleased with the children of Israel because they obeyed the evil commands and practices of those particular kings. God didn't reward the children of Israel for that kind of obedience. God punished the children of Israel for obeying and following those kings into sin by EXILING them:

 

the people of Israel were exiled to Assyria ... 7 This disaster came upon the people of Israel because they worshiped other gods. They sinned against the LORD their God ... 8 They had followed the practices of the pagan nations the LORD had driven from the land ahead of them, as well as the practices the kings of Israel had introduced (2 Ki 17: 6-8). 
When the LORD tore Israel from the house of David, Israel made Jeroboam son of Nebat king. Then Jeroboam led Israel away from following the LORD and caused them to commit great sin. 22 The Israelites persisted in all the sins that Jeroboam committed and did not turn away from them. 23 Finally, the LORD removed Israel from His presence just as He had declared through all His servants the prophets. So Israel has been exiled to Assyria from their homeland until today (2Ki 17:21-23).
 
Modern Examples that Garnered National Attention:
 
Scott Catt's teenage son and daughter were his accomplices when he robbed banks. When the crime spree was finally foiled, father, son and daughter were ALL held accountable and jailed. His son and daughter didn't get a "get out of jail free card" because it was their father's idea, and he's the one directly responsible to God for any decisions affecting the entire family.
 
Adam Mayes killed Jo Ann Bain and her daughter, Adrienne, then hid out with her youngest daughters Alex and Kyliyah in the woods until they were found two weeks later. The wife of Adam Mayes admitted to helping him kidnap and murder members of the Bain family. Mayes' wife didn't get pardoned for submitting to her husband in sin. She was sentenced to 35 years
 
Wanda Barzee says she learned to be submissive and obedient. Wanda Barzee helped her husband, Brian Mitchell, kidnap Elizabeth Smart so he could use her for his sex slave. Wanda Barzee didn't get pardoned for submitting to her husband in sin. She was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for her role in the kidnapping and sexual assault of Elizabeth Smart.
 
A Bonner County woman who helped conceal the body of a murder victim out of fear and misguided devotion to her husband was sentenced to two years in prison. 
 
Her husband told her to nurse and drive, wife testifies. Police stopped Catherine Nicole Donkers after a trucker called 911 to report he had seen a woman driver holding a baby on her lap.  She was charged and found guilty of violating child-restraint laws, driving without a valid driver's license and fleeing police. She didn't walk away scot-free because she was submitting to her husband. She was sentenced to three months' house arrest and fined $300. 
 

 

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2.) Should a wife obey what the Bible CLEARLY defines as sin or foolishness because her husband commands her to do it? We have several demonstrative, Biblical examples that illustrate NO. 

  • Abigail disobeyed her husband's foolish instructions. Abigail went behind Nabal's back and against his wishes and sent David and his men bread, water and meat. David thanked Abigail for staying his hand and repented of his own rash decision to slaughter Nabal and the men in his house(1 Samuel chap 25). 
  • Unlike Abigail, Sapphira was a foolish wife. She conspired with her husband and lied to the Holy Spirit. As a result, she followed her husband straight to an early grave. Although she was only doing what was generally considered a wife's duty by cooperating and agreeing with her husband, Sapphira received the very same punishment as Ananias. She didn't receive mercy because Ananias was the the head and she wasn't (Acts 5:1-11). 
  • According to a law established by the king, Esther's husband, no man or woman was suppose to approach the king in the inner court without being summoned. The penalty for approaching  the king in the inner court without being summoned was death, unless the king decided to grant  the person mercy (Es 4:11). Esther disobeyed that particular law. She risked her life by approaching the king in the inner court without being summoned in order to intercede for her people (Es 5:1). Long story short, Esther found favor with the king and was able to help save the Jews from annihilation.

 

Upvote for providing the examples I was too lazy to go back and find.  :D

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