“Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.” - Jonathan Edwards -

Monday, July 02, 2007

Men at Work III - Marital Roles

So, we have looked at what men's ministry is not; but what should it be? What should we be inculcating in our men?

Let's start by looking at the marriage in general. I heave heard Ephesians 5 taught in a number of ways -- one way, traditionally by Fundamentalists, is to emphasize the word SUBMIT found in the 22nd verse, while downplaying the verses that spell out a husband's role. "Wives are to SUBMIT to their husbands"; a second way is to go back one verse to Ephesians 5:21, and emphasize the submission of one to another, "we are to be in submission to ONE ANOTHER". This is generally taught in mainline denominational churches.

Because of this faulty and unbalanced teaching, men are often not taught the gravitas of marriage as a witness to the world of Christ and His bride. We often end up with men who are domineering and egoists, or men who are incapable of, or unwilling to, make leadership decisions in their home, often these men are ruled by their wives and children.

So, let us first look at the wife's role. This is well-known, and contentious, but I pray that as we explore this Scripture, men will begin to see their role in a different light. I 'preached' this passage on Saturday to a couple renewing their vows.

Ephesians 5:22 - 33 -- Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

This immediately grates upon the nerve of any feminists that read it (even women who would not describe themselves as 'feminists' are often so steeped in the feminist mindset that they react exactly the same way). It uses that obscene word "submit". In our day and age, no woman should ever submit to anyone else, and ESPECIALLY not their husbands! Yet, here it is, not matter how much the liberal community attempts to change the wording, the meaning, and context, it says the same thing.

The word translated 'submit' is hupotasso, and it means what it says. As we look through the New Testament, we find this word used in a number of other places. Here are a few that are interesting:

Luke 2:51 -- And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.

Now, who is this 'He' that is being discussed? It is Jesus, the Christ -- and here He is hupotasso towards His parents. Even though He is the Second Person of the Godhead, he submitted Himself to the earthly parents that had been chosen.

1st Corinthians 15:27, 28 -- For "God has put all things in subjection under his feet." But when it says, "all things are put in subjection," it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.

Again we find Christ's submission.

It seems that it is perfectly acceptable for the Savior to submit to His earthly parents for a time, and submit to His Heavenly Father, bringing to culmination to great plan of salvation, yet we must not use that word about wives!

In Ephesians 5 Paul clearly states that marriage is a picture of Christ and His Bride (the church). The church submits to the Savior, who gave Himself up for Her, dying on a tree for her redemption; a Savior who is active in the sanctifying work of His Bride. Wives should submit to their husbands for the same reasons. As we look at the role of the husband in the next post, we will unpack this more.

Let me ask you a question -- considering the value that society places on marriage in general, and on roles within marriage in particular -- it is any surprise that we have such a man-centered theology permeating the church? When egalitarianism is all the rage, we lose the ability to understand our role as the Bride of Christ, thinking ourselves peers with our Savior (not that we would ever word it that way).

We preach man-centered sermons, accompanied by man-centered singing, and man-centered gatherings. The truth is that our churches betray our egalitarian mindset -- everything the church does is often built around man and his comfort as opposed to Christ and His Glory! We even have some heretics who preach that we are all little gods,equal to Christ, and these people are considered 'Christians' by many in the church!

By bringing back the fullness of marriage in its Biblical context we will once again display to our children, and the world the picture of Christ and His Bride. And we will again understand the position of the church in relationship to Her Bridegroom!

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