This blog has several articles refuting or exploring the implications of the complementarian idea that husbands represent Jesus and wives the church, and for that reason, women should unilaterally submit. If you want to explore the idea, here are the links. (more…)
Posts tagged ‘marriage picture of Christ and church?’
Biblical™ Womanhood theology, if consistently applied, is worse news for widowed women, divorced women, not-married(-yet) women, and girls of all ages, than it is for married women.
The Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood does not officially say women should live with male relatives, not go to college, not work outside the home, and not be independent. But they are – I will motivate my accusation just now – on a road that logically leads towards these views. I will quote some Biblical™ Patriarchy supporters, which openly expresses the logical conclusion of the CBMW view:
1) “And does it really make economic sense to invest tens of thousands of dollars for a woman to get an advanced education (often having to go into debt to finance that education) that she will NOT use if she accepts that her highest calling is to be a wife and mother?” – Brian Abshire, quoted from now-deleted material at the Vision Forum ministries website.
2) Kevin Swanson and Dave Buehner believe parents should not raise daughters who are “going to compete with men in the marketplace,” but should train their daughters to be “a woman who will be a helpmeet to a man so he can compete in the marketplace.” They speak out against female independence.* (more…)
Part 1 showed how a 1st Century husband could picture Christ, and a possible reason why the Bible asked Christ-like behaviour of husbands in particular here, while elsewhere all Christians are called to act Christ-like.
The same way the Bible calls everyone to be Christ-like but repeats it to the one who is, like Jesus, in the stronger position, the Bible asks all believers to submit to one another, but in Ephesians 5 repeats it to the wife: “Submit as to the Lord.”
How do we submit to the Lord? We love Him (and submit to Him) because He loved us first. Submitting to the Lord is never about fulfilling Jesus’ selfish desires or ego trips, because Jesus is not selfish. It is about learning from the one who knows best, and living by that knowledge. It is about accepting the glorious riches of heaven that Jesus shares freely. It is about doing the same things Jesus did, and even greater things. (John 14:12) “The same things Jesus did and even greater things” doesn’t sound like gender roles at all!
We saw how the red and blue lines do pretty much the same thing in the second picture as in the Gospel picture. The difference is that the start of the male/ female picture was equality (we do not have that with God), and a total restoration to what God created us to be would also be equality.
Can complementarians today fulfil the gospel picture? Here is a picture of what happens when you impose complementarianism on today’s society:
1) Eve was made as an equal to Adam, and the first picture is of equality. 2) In modern Western society, men and women have basically equal rights before the law and equal opportunities. (There are still problems, reasons why feminists rightly complain, but the big picture is one of roundabout equal rights.) (3) Complementarians impose hierarchy and gendered responsibilities on two people with equal opportunities and gifts. Instead of moving them closer together, it moves one person who don’t have more rights (thus no more ability to get legal protection for them both) or wisdom or perhaps even money above another, and turns him into the leader seemingly simply because he has the right genitalia.
Does this look at all like the gospel? To me, it doesn’t. I think modern day Christians can learn from Jesus and the church in Ephesians 5:
When one party has way more of the good stuff (opportunities/ property/rights) than the other party, it seems the Bible suggests a “complementarian” relationship whereby the one with more helps to lift up the one with less, and the lower has the responsibility to learn to use good things wisely (submit to the teaching and discipline needed to handle the good things). But this complementarian relationship does not suggest eternally separate roles, but the lower one becoming more like the higher one.
Of course, this passage does have applications for modern cultures, where a woman can be as likely as the man to be the one with more (knowledge, education, wisdom, opportunity or whatever good thing): Use whatever you have more of for the benefit of both you and your spouse, lifting him/ her out of their bad situation. When your spouse is the one who has more, work along with him/her, learning to use the good thing wisely.
My egal friends may shoot me for this, but I am 100% sure Paul envisioned complementarian marriages in Ephesians 5.
But, please do not quote- or argue with – that statement without the rest of this article. (more…)
Suppose, for a moment, that you saved me from a horrible fire when I was a little girl. I escaped unharmed, but you almost paid with your live and have horrible burn scars.
Assume, now, that a few business owners say they want to celebrate you and your great sacrifice, and celebrate [fill in your name] principles at work. You were friendly when you saved me, and they will celebrate by being friendly with their workers. And just like I should be very grateful for your great sacrifice, the workers should celebrate [fill in your name] principles by acting very grateful – they should willingly work overtime at short notice, accept low pay, obey all commands immediately…
Will you think these employers are celebrating you, or that they are trying to pull a fast one on the workers? (more…)
When reviewing one of my older posts (which disagrees with a Mary Kassian idea that sex symbolize our unity with God), I found this sentence again:
Believing that sex is the main way people can understand the gospel, would lead to one of two ways of treating children: You could either get to the conclusion that the gospel is not meant for children, or that sex and marriage is meant for them.
“Biblical” patriarchy supporters promote several books (To train up a child; Child Training tips) that imply the spirit of God cannot work in children to teach them to act right, out of love for Jesus – you have to install obedience by beating them the moment they disobey. This, insists their child raising books, readies them to obey God without your help one day when they are adults. The gospel of God’s love and mercy is seemingly not for their children.
They also believe in marrying very young if possible. Marriage is, in their view, for the very young who never experienced decision-making apart from their parents.
I never heard one of them say sex symbolize our unity with God, but they do believe in the “man symbolize Christ, woman symbolize the church” idea, which is the logical predecessor to “sex symbolizes our unity with God”.
Coincidence – or is it?
I heard a new idea concerning sex last week. It is that God made sex to explain to us what a relationship with Him is about. According to that idea, God is the man, Christians are the woman, and sex is a symbol of our unity with Him.
If that was true, we could study the way females experience sex as an example of how we should think about unity with God. (more…)
(Many complementarians claim that marriage is a symbol of Christ and the church. Here is how I think such a marriage, symbolic of Christ and the church, will look like.)
If marriage was symbolic of Christ and His bride, then …
> The groom has to leave marvellous wealth and power behind, and live in squalor like the very poor bride, before asking her to marry.
> The groom would have to accept any whore who wanted to be His bride, and regard her – from the day of marriage – as clean and never, ever, bring up her past again.
> While accepting any whore as bride, he himself has to have a spotless past, never marred by any sin.
> The groom has to die and get raised before getting the bride.
> The groom will trust the bride enough to go away for a long time. (The time between His ascension and his second coming, about 2000 years and counting now.)
> We could spend everything on the most lavish wedding ceremony imaginable (second coming) – there is no tomorrow that our earthly resources have to be saved for.
> The groom will never be selfish, and never make a bad choice.
Now a man could ask himself: Does he really want to be Christ, with his wife as the church, in such a picture? Does he want to be judged by God for not living up to all that? When we tell him that the Bible do not call marriage a picture of Christ and the church, (it probably does not, it seemingly calls Christ and the church a picture marriages can draw from) should he be relieved or disappointed?
John Piper asserts women were made, right from the start, to represent the church, and man to represent Christ. (Why his view is logically untenable can be found here.)
Let us suppose that from the creation story, one of the two is a character who need rescuing (representing humanity, the church), and the other came down to rescue (representing Christ).
Who, in creation, has a problem? “It’s not good for a man to be alone…” The man has a problem. Who, in the Christ – church picture, has a problem? We do, not Christ.
What help is sent for the man? An ezer k’negdo*, a help meet for him. Ezer translates as helper, but not as in assistant. Almost every time it is used in the Bible, it refers to God helping humans, a strong, rescuing help you cannot do without. In the Christ – church picture, Christ is the helper, the strong, rescuing help you cannot do without. (more…)