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May 17, 2007

Food for Thought

In "Women and the Church," a new downloadable resource from, Jill Briscoe shares this:

"I accept headship as a biblical concept. I also accept equality as another biblical concept. And just as I cannot bring predestination and free will together, I cannot bring headship and equality together, but I embrace them both. And sometimes I model submission to my husband as head, and sometimes I model equality with my husband. Just as sometimes, if I'm in trouble, I'm a Calvinist. And if I'm talking to someone on the plane, I'm an Arminian, because I'm going to lead him to Christ, and I believe he's got a free will. At that moment, I cannot reconcile both predestination and free will. And so my husband, in his headship, makes sure I'm equal, but it's no less headship for that."

We'd love to hear what you think about this. IIf your interested in reading more about this issue, check out "Women and the Church."


Changing the topic!
Many years back I told my husband that I was called to pastor a church. He said no way.
I said yes I will, one day. After our children grew and left our home. I now see the reality of His calling.
He called me in my 40's yet it took so much time for me to prepare and become healthy again. The enemy of our soul was out to kill and almost did in July 2005.
But God's plan became clear to me so many years ago. Now in my 60's I am so happy in my little church.

Could I have done all of this much sooner? Maybe, maybe not. God has a perfect time for everyone.

Great response! Although in leadership in a church especially a paid position I think we would have to choose or be told to choose or be told this is what you will choose if you want to work here. No?

You know that feeling you get when you swivel the focusing knob on your camera and the picture comes into focus? THAT's how I felt reading this post! Thank you so much!

There are several areas which appear to be in contradiction to each other, but I have just learn to accept that God just hasn't yet revealed to me the way they can both be true.

Going back to the topic.
I do not think there is a contradiction between the Christian doctrines predestination/free will, and headship/equality. The Father predestines the good life for his creation, and quickens their hearts to freely choose what is predestined. Likewise, husband chooses what is good for his wife, and explains why it is best for her, and the wife freely submits. Both of these headships involve sacrificial love, and both of these submission involve willing respect for this kind of love. Godly submission is not slavery because the submission is neither made to a selfish tyrant, nor the submission is forced. That is why we are given free will, to be able to love, forceful submission is not love but slavery. However, if the God is a tyrant Allah, and a husband is a selfish polygamist then a woman becomes slave to both.

On predestination many people get tripped up because our culture teaches us to look at things from an individualistic viewpoint. This was a foreign concept in biblical culture. When Paul speaks of predestination, he is speaking to the church as a whole not to individuals i.e. John's going to heaven, Joe's going to Hell, etc.. God predestined the Church for eternal life. Looking at predestination from an individualistic viewpoint would negate freewill and John 3:16 that "god so loved the world He gave His only Son that "whoever" (emphasis mine) believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. So when reading the Scriptures, read them through the lens of group and then you'll be reading them in the context that the biblical authors intended.

On headship, Paul uses the word kephale (source) rather than the word arche (ruler, over) when speaking of the relationship of a man/husband to woman/wife. It hearkens us back to the creation account. This was a radical notion for that culture because outside of the church in society men and husbands were arche.

My husband and I of nearly 27 wonderful years have always practiced the mutuality of Ephesians 5:21--submit unto one another out of love for Christ. God doesn't intend for a woman to check her brains at the door after the I do's. To insinuate that a husband is to do all the choosing for his wife is an insult. God gave us intelligence with the ability to make our own decisions. Biblical women leaders like Deborah, Huldah, Priscilla, Phoebe, Lydia, Junia are a testament that God didn't create us to be Stepford Wives who couldn't think or make choices for ourselves.

Response to Rev. Cartene,

I do not think predestination negates freewill if we think about it in the context I explained previously.
Also, you have given the meaning to headship, but what about the authority of men, and the final decision made by men (about their family)in case of disagreement. What if a husband disagrees and tells his wife that she cannot further her education because he think it is not good for the family. Should the wife use her brain to decide? Does not she need his permision.
Also, wans't women mentioned above were all single women?

i'm 26 years old and struggling to understand what God expects of me as a women. In my attempts to submit to my husband, I feel a sense of "loss of self" but in a way that makes me feel like less of a person. I love reading what you wise women have to say on this topic. I have yet to understand how this is all supposed to work in the eyes of God but one thing that keeps me up is that verse in Proverbs" He who finds a wife, finds what is good." So surely I am good.....

The Bible has a lot of paradoxical pictures and theology. Being saved by grace and yet admonished to good works and other similiar verses. Personally I believe that any decision that a husband and wife cannot agree on should absolutely be tabled until with prayer and talking it out, a resolution for both. There is NO decision we have faced in 20 years that could not wait until we had spent some time in it. That is just a "red herring "argument. Unity is a predominant theme in Scripture and unity is never found in dominance/submission-that is the relationship between a man and his dog, not a man and his wife.

To Sharmin,
No, Deborah was married to Lappidoth, Priscilla was married to Aquilla and Junia was likely married to Andronicus.

Scripture doesn't promote the authority of men only (Phoebe was not only called a deacon by Paul--there's no such word as deaconness in the Greek--but he also said she had been a prostasi --overseer, guardian and protector--of many including himself. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that the final decision must be made by the husband. Gal. 3:28 says there is neither male and female you are all one in Christ. The man who would nix the idea of his wife furthering her education, especially since it would be to make a better life for her family--is selfish, insecure and not being Christlike. If a husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church he will want to encourage and support his wife in her decision to further develop her talents--just as Christ gives gifts to both males and females to better the church. I am grateful for a husband who not only supported my call and education for ministry, but also was willing to leave his job, uproot and move when it was time for me to go to a seminary halfway across the country

I realized I had never addressed your response to mine on predestination. Your explanation of it still negates freewill. Either there is freewill or there is not-one cannot have it both ways. Jesus let people walk away from Him if they so chose to like the rich young ruler. God predestined a people-the Christian Church, just as He chose the Jewish people as a whole, not individual Jews until they turned away from him and fell from His grace.
And by the way, I agree with Trisha about the red herring argument. Just as for she and her husband of 20 years there has been no decision in our almost 27 years of marriage that could not wait until we spent some time on it. The wife is not a dog or a child who needs her husband's "permission" to do everything--marriage is a partnership, not a master /slave "Stepford Wife" thing as was the societal norm of Paul's day. One of the places where he made it clear that this was not the Christian way is in 1 Cor. where he tells the husbands--your body is not your own it belongs to your wife and he says the same thing to the wife in regard to her husband. There is a directive of mutuality there not dominance/submission like as Trisha put it as a man and his dog.
Priscilla and Acquilla are a good example of a marital team. Priscilla's name nearly always except for one time appears before her husband's name--that was unheard of in that culture because order of name indicated prominence. But Acquilla was obviously not threatened that his wife was the more prominent Bible teacher because they worked together as a team--the very picture of unity that Trisha spoke about.

My understanding of predestination is shaped by Esther 4:14. I believe that verse backs up the idea that predestination is for the people, but each indervidual person has free will.
I am still working out the concept of headship in my marrage though and I value what is being said in this discussion.

Shamim, Priscilla was not single. She was married and preached alongside her husband Aquila. They were friends with St. Paul. I don't know about the other women, I'd have to read up on them more. :)

Oh also, I was reading the rest of the comments, and Trisha & Carlene:
I think the dominance/submission concept is obviously wrong. It is also completely unrealistic. However it is also wrong to assume that submission is somehow the opposite of dominance and that one must have the other. On the contrary, dominance is self-destructive while true submission, in Love, is self-enforcing. Eph 5:21 that Carlene referenced explains it best, I think. submission isn't slavery. on the contrary it is freedom. :)

Carlene is arguing that submission is wrong and unbiblical. I agree with you that submission can be out of love and respect, especially, if the husband is willing to lay down his life for his wife. We are talking about Biblical submission to a Godly husband, not a tyrant. Even if a husband tells his wife that she has had more than enough education that is needed, and if the wife sees that the husband has her best interest in mind she would love to submit, respect her husband for loving her. Furthermore, husbands minds can be changed out of good behavior of wives, instead of nagging because we all know that men are not God, and it is wives responsibility, as a sister in Christ, to correct him, pray for him, and guide him with love in making right decisions.

I don't know how you managed to come to the conclusion that I said submission is wrong and unbiblical--I never said that. What I did say and what Niki picked up on is the mutual submission spoken of in Ephesians 5:21. That comes before the verses of husbands and wives.
Marriage is a partnership-a relationship where when mutual submission is practiced works beautifully which I can attest to after almost 27 years of such a marriage. It is unbiblical to approach it like a corporation with the assumpton that the husband is "the boss." I've seen those and--no thanks! They are rife with power struggles--the wife merely finds covert ways to get what she wants.
I can't imagine a "Godly" husband telling his wife--you can't go to school, you've got too much education as it is. In a godly marriage, the husband and wife, in keeping with the practice of mutual submission, sit down and talk about the matter and decide together what's best. As Trisha mentioned in an earlier post it requires a willingness to spend time together as a marital team considering matters until you've reached a mutual decision. And it may take a while--that's why many won't do it

I want to speak to the other side of not going to school. Many years ago, my husband was in school and we had one child, I was working and lonely, so I went back to school as well. My husband was against it, but didn't force the issue. As a result, I managed to burn my entire family out. If we had communicated better, and if I had been open to 'submission', we would have avoided a very painful time. Sometimes 'no' from our husband is actually God's wisdom. Since that time, I have put my husband in charge of my schedule - not the minute details, but big responsibilities(I tend to take on a lot). I don't add new responsibilities unless he agrees. In this, I am submitting to my husband as unto Jesus. My opinion is that if God wants me to do something, He is fully capable of letting my husband know as well.

This played out well when God did call me back to school just after our 4th child was born, I was homeschooling and working. My husband agreed, and somehow - miraculously - our schedules worked beautifully and we were all strengthened through the process.

So, I wouldn't say that a husband not letting me do something is necessarily a bad thing. In that case I would take it to the One who works in all things and wait until He either changed my 'wanter', or changed my husband. We are a unit, and we work best when we move forward together.

My question actually comes from the psychological side. I've been reading "Rocking the Roles" by Robert Lewis and William Hendricks. It feels to me that when I get the wife thing down (and they do a great job of explaining things in a balanced way), I become a great helper. Then I'm at work being a leader - although many things about good leadership work well with being a great wife, there is still a wierdness. I'm with Jill on the whole not really being able to reconcile things completely - but I think that is good. In leadership, it keeps me at the feet of Jesus, not pushing forward faster than He wants to take me, and being willing to wait for those around me to come along for the ride. In the home, it keeps me at the throne of heaven being willing to risk conflict, being willing to accept answers I don't like, and watching God develop my family into the people He created them to be - and He lets me be part of the process.

The bible clearly reveals the full scale campaign of destruction of the female principle.

We read of the murder and dismembering of alleged prostitutes (harlots) and the cutting open of wombs of single pregnant women and the stoning of women who are not virgins on their wedding night.

WE read also about the selling and swaping of females by fathers and brothers. The abduction of women and forcing of them into sex slavery. The torture and humiliation of females and the propagandizing against them (see Esther where the king sends out written notice far and wide on how to deal with disobedient wives).

In the bible women are disalowed a voice including the right to make an oath. They are disallowed to travel alone and be on their own and are forced into marriages.

Living biblically means living a horrid wretched exsistence for women.

The bible is no friend to females.

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