Feb 7, 2007

She does him good, not harm

"[Sarah Edwards] uniformly paid a becoming deference to her husband [Jonathan Edwards] and treated him with entire respect, she spared no pains in conforming to his inclinations, and rendering everything in the family agreeable and pleasant: counting it her greatest glory, and that wherein she could best serve God and her generation, to be the means, in this way, of promoting his usefulness and happiness. (Edwards “Works” Banner, Vol 1: xlv)."

I don't know if you've been in a group where there are two people fighting for leadership. It doesn't work out, does it?

As women called by Christ, He's assigned us the task of being helpers. We are to be submissive to our husbands and to our leadership. Submission, however, does not mean inferiority. It's a delight to provide our husbands and leaders the help they need to prosper (when I say prosper, I do not mean in wealth, such as riches, but prosper as in following Christ).

We are not to desire glory for ourselves, but glory for the LORD. So glorify Him with the tasks He's assigned us. "God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him" -John Piper

The following link is some of the best encouragement I've heard for women. I pray you are as encouraged as I was.

Sovereign Grace Church: Women's Ministry

And if you desire to learn more about our role as wives, I'd suggest you stop by Stan's blog: Birds of the air

The role of a wife: Part 1
The role of a wife: Part 2
The role of a wife: Part 3
The role of a wife: Summary

6 comments:

Julianne said...

I guess since I have seen so much of the abusive side of this in my life and in the lives of so many sweet sisters in Christ, maybe I am not the right person to comment. However, I do know that the Bible also says we are to submit one to another. It is the all around attitude of the heart. Do I do something for my best interest or for God's glory? If both spouses are laying down their lives and seeking God's glory then they are submitting to God first and one to another.

Also, I guess I am still questioning some of the things I believed my entire life until I lived with a husband who deceived me and an entire congregation that he was a Christian and the more I was the "1 Peter 3" wife, the more the sin escalated and the more corruption the children and I were exposed to and it has done spiritual and emotional damage to some of our children.

Then when he left because of his sin...other Christians judged me, not him. I must not have been godly enough or he would have become a godly man. Ugh! They have never lived with a sociopath obviously. Sociopaths like the "submissive" types as they will put up with and stay in a commitment to a sick man. They actually seek out victims who believe in being submissive.

It was so precious to find out how much of our church judges unrighteously and joins in the abuse towards women. Fortunately, my pastor and his wife and the elders did know what was going on up in our old church, so they stood with me knowing I was a godly wife and mother. They said it was about time I dealt with the sin in my home.

Now when I study in light of all the current archeological evidence on the subject of what words mean...I find that perhaps "head" should not be interpreted as "leader or ruler", but would be better translated in that time period as "source." Same with the word for "submission" in that time period. The other Greek documents of that period show these words to mean something other than what we say it means in our Bibles...why?

I am still researching all of this. I am not of definite opinion. However, I cannot dismiss that which I have researched. So all of this is very questionable now.

All of this is under review in my life. I have seen the ugliness and damage done to those submitting to husbands who do not walk in obedience to Christ. I have seen the blessings to those who confront husbands abiding in sin and seek Church discipline, even if the couple end up separated or divorced. God said in Malachi He wanted a godly offspring, which does not happen when a spouse is abiding in sin and living in the household with the children. His sin leavens the entire lump.

I am still very much a conservative in Christianity with most of my views, but I examining what the Word truly has to say about certain things I was taught my entire life and that now just don't hold water in light of more and more evidence.

I know those interested in this can find all of the stuff online to read. I did. Recently, I just don't have the free time to study this issue a lot more so it is on the backburner until God speaks differently on it. Right now with my family, ministry, and work, my days are too short.

PS...I have seen both types of families work out beautifully. Ones where the husband is the leader and the wife is the helper and ones where they use equality. I have seen both types live unto Christ and seek His glory and treat each other beautifully. I have seen both types also end up in divorce. So I can't find the proof by looking at these types of relationships. What I do see is that the abuse does not seem to be happening in the homes where a woman is valued as equal in the eyes of God and the man fears the Lord.

Samantha said...

Commentary on 1 Peter 3:1

"Likewise, wives, be subject. THe word "likewise" refers back to the general principle of submission in 2:13 and is not intended to equate the wife's submission to the husband with that of a slave to a master. The word "likewise" recurs in v.7, establishing that just as the wife submits to her husband, so also the husband must give understanding and honor to the wife (cf. Eph 5:25). The relationship of men and women involves both spiritual equality ("hers with you," v.7; cf. Gal. 3:28) and some differntiation of roles and functions in the home and church."
-R.C. Sproul

I never said nor implied that physical abuse or any other sort of abuse is ok in a relationship. But God gave us roles. To me, submission. To my husband: leadership. We are still equal, but with different roles.

Submission doesn't mean tolerance to abuse.

Stan said...

Julianne,

I wonder if you could, when you get the opportunity, offer your ideas about how it would look in your view of how it should be. I'm wondering about how you would re-interpret the several passages about wives submitting and how husbands are the head, how a "co-equal head" works out when they disagree, and why it is that Christianity has been so wrong for 2000 years and is just figuring out the truth now. (It would seem that something went horribly wrong if the Holy Spirit was unable to communicate about something written in Scripture that was intended for us all to have 20 centuries ago.)

I understand that you aren't set on this, that you are researching and reviewing, but I'm curious about how you see it now. Feel free to respond with email if you'd prefer. I'm merely curious.

Julianne said...

Stan, that would be like saying the Holy Spirit was unable to communicate something written in Scripture that was intended for all of us to have 12+ centuries ago and then never admitting the catholic church was incorrect about some of their doctrinal stances. Why bother with the protestant movement?

Just because something has been going on for a very long time does not make it correct. I don't currently believe the way things are being taught about women are how they were taught in the beginning of the church. I think they were like several other things...arranged to make certain parties more comfortable. Now while grace is being taught again after 12+ centuries and some can see Israel as a possibility of being still in the eye of God again after 18+ centuries, why can't we believe there are other issues that were not taught accurately for ceturies?

As for how the "co-equal head" works out. I imagine if two people are submitted to Christ, it works out a lot like God the Father and Christ the Son. I don't imagine that because they are equal they argue or disagree with nobody to have the FINAL say. I think they are in agreement. I don't think God the Son disagrees with the Father's ideas, but just submits to them because He knows His role. I think They are like minded and agree on Their purpose.

I think in a godly marriage, a wife and a husband are both able to hear from God. I do not see it in the Bible where it says upon marriage a woman can no longer hear from God, but He only speaks to her husband. Christ is her only mediator too. So if they both love Christ, they are both hearing from Him. If they disagree about something, then one of them or both of them are not in alignment with God's Word and will. If they both submit to one another and pray about it to become like minded with Christ, read the Word, and seek godly confirmation through others known to be sound in the Word...they are going to come to a place of agreement.

Where I work, I have more than one boss. The bosses have EQUAL authority. They each have VERY different strengths and weaknesses. They do not agree on all matters by "nature." One boss is a visionary, as in he gets BIG ideas and see the big pictures and wants to go gung-ho. One of my other bosses is a more grounded type. He sees the details and the risks and is frugal. A lot of times they don't agree and I truly mean they DON'T AGREE. One of them does not get the FINAL say in the matter. They both submit to God and to each other out of desire for God's glory over their own plan. They sit down together and pray over the matter on which they disagree. They seek God's Word. They seek godly confirmation through the brethren. They come into agreement and then wholeheartedly submit themselves to the unified plan. They have great success in this. They balance each other. They keep each other from making wrong decisions, because they both have to agree after seeking God together and they respect each other for their strengths they are lacking and for the balance they both bring to the business. Their co-leadership is absolutely astounding.

I see it work. Yes, it would be an issue if they were both full of pride and fighting for leadership. But they are both humble and see God as their only head. Why couldn't a marriage work the same? I know couples who do the same thing and their relationships are incredible. There is such a love and respect for each other.

So that is just an answer to how I see it working in a godly marriage. In a marriage where one spouse insists on having their way and will not submit to God and one to another, then I guess after giving it to prayer, if one feels that it will not injure God's glory or violate His Word by giving in to the situation, they should submit for the sake of peace. If they feel is will injure God's glory or violate His Word, then they are going to have seek godly confirmation to stand up for what is right and then carry through, trusting the Lord.

Again, these are just thoughts, not anything concrete.

PS Samantha, I did not think you were condoning abuse dear sister. I just always have to clarify my stance after what I have lived through and am watching a couple of my dear sisters currently living through.

amy said...

Well here is an oxymoronic marriage for you. I am the breadwinner of our home-- and I didn't ask to be. If it were up to me-- I rather be a stay at home mom and actually have a family. But God has other plans for us as a couple. My husband suffers from chronic back pain from a work injury 15 years ago and will never be able to work again. So I have been faced with and given the grace from God alone to work and provide for our home. It's hard and grueling on me and I'm sure humiliating for my husband. Not to mention making the submission part of our marriage more challenging to embrace for me. But isn't true that even if a woman didn't work and was home --she could wear the pants just as well? Anyway...that's my 2 cents worth. I didn't ask to be a leader--it's innate in my family that I constantly have to deny my flesh it's desire to reign.

Samantha said...

You can be submissive and still be the "bread" winner in your family:D