Because Christianity is bigger than Biblical manhood or Biblical womanhood

A wife whose husband was involved with alcohol, drugs and other women, and who was worried that her husband might infect her with AIDS, once wrote to Jonathan Lindvall asking for advice. She was in fear of her life. Lindvall replied, “But what is God’s purpose here? We’re all going to die (unless the Lord takes us before death). I would rather die (and enter Jesus’ presence) prematurely because of my obedience than live a long life wondering if God might have been more pleased and glorified if I had taken the risk to surrender all to him, even my life. I would rather risk reckless obedience to His ways revealed in scripture.” (From Jonathan Lindvall’s Bold Christian Living E-Mail Newsletter, Issue #88, 2001.)” -told by Prince Asbel on Amazon

Too many pastors (if there is one, it’s already too many) excuse abuse with the idea that the woman should just submit to it, that it will be to the honor of God if she submit.

Quick response: The relationship between husband and wife is supposed to mirror the relationship between Christ and the church, they say. Christ loved us first, and we responded. We follow because of our confidence that Christ’s way is right: Good, loving and wise. And why do we have this confidence? Because of Christ’s actions.

In a situation where a man’s way is good, loving and wise, while the wife’s is less so, following him in that situation mirrors the relationship Christ wants with the church. Christs way will always be good, loving and wise, while the fleshy ways of mere humans will not be so. But in the earthly walk with a spouse, there will -of course – be times when either partner is not so right, good, loving and wise that we could follow as we do with Christ.

If a man is abusive, obeying him cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, resemble the relationship between Christ and the church. When the husband is abusive, he resembles Satan, not Christ. Satan came to steal, kill and destroy. Following where Satan lead is sin.

We are told to love others as ourselves. Do we want others to suffer this way? A complementarian/patriarch who teach a wife to submit to a man like this husband is very wrong.

The devil must be resisted (Jas 4:7), even if he come in the form of a loved one. (Mat 16:23)

Comments on: "Wife, submit. How, if the husband is abusive?" (3)

  1. Verity3 said:

    The way I see it, for a complementarian to avoid supporting sin, he/she *must* recognize that the go-to passages used to support male leadership, like Ephesians 5 (even if comp interpretations were correct), are not sufficient to address situations involving sin, such as abuse. They *must* prioritize passages advocating helping the oppressed, in such situations (regardless of whether they think a wife has fulfilled her submission “obligations”). I know there are comps who do this (a counselor of mine, for example, to whom I am grateful), but unfortunately they seem to be in a minority.

  2. Verity: Absolutely. Helping the oppressed is prioritized from early in the Old Testament law, and through the later books of the OT. It is restated when Jesus starts his ministry by saying he came to free the captives, and in the second of the two greatest commandments. It is implied in the golden rule, and in everything the Bible say about justice, It is really central from the beginning to the end of the Bible.

  3. Another thought: An abusive man is sinning.

    A helper will help him get out of the sin, not enable him to stay in it. Especially since enmity between the woman and Satan was prophesied in Genesis.

    A wife should help her husband away from sin. And even a not abusive, but self-centred man is helped towards sin if his wife gives in to his every whim. Submission does not mean we are allowed to enable sin, even the sin of self-centredness.

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