Because Christianity is bigger than Biblical manhood or Biblical womanhood (Blog of Retha Faurie)

“A wife should submit to her husband in everything, short of sin.” – Common complementarian teaching

Suppose a wife believe that, and want to live it out, what should she do in practice? I guess it depends on your definition of sin.

On the one end of the sin definitions is the definitions that has to do with gross disobedience, doing things you clearly know is wrong. That is the way young children think. When you ask eight-year olds what is sin, they usually mention things like stealing and murder and hurting others.

On the other end there is this definition: Whatever you do while doubting if it is right, is sin.(Rom. 14:23) Sin is missing God’s perfect goal.

Someone who believe the sin definition of an eight-year-old, and also believe the short-of-sin quote, will teach that a woman should obey her man in almost everything. From what food to buy to what church to go to; from wether the children should be strapped into seat belts when he is in a hurry and don’t want to wait for her to do it; to what time she should go to bed. Whatever selfish whim he has, she should obey.

But the second sin definition is better. Under the second definition, she has to submit to her husband whenever she is sure that what he is saying is the perfect will of God. And since men, like women, are imperfect, that will often not be the case. Under this sin definition, it is equally true that the husband have to do what his wife say when she speaks the will of God. And nobody has to give in to every selfish whim, because it is not God’s will to give either a man or woman their every selfish desire. This is as much effort as the previous way of submitting, but the effort is spent in a different way. The effort of the wife in the previous paragraph is to do whatever her husband say. The effort of this wife is to get to know God and His will.

See this diagram:

Remember how the New Testament teaches us to submit to authorities (Heb. 13:17). Remember also how the apostles, when authorities wanted them to shut up about Jesus, told: “One must yield to God rather than to men.”(Acts 5:29) And remember that under the first definition of sin, shutting up about Jesus would have been no sin. That is pretty much an analogy for how to see submission to husbands.

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