6. Redemption in Christ aims at removing the distortions introduced by the curse.
It does, but the Danvers statement did not biblically back up their assertions on what distortions were caused by the curse, except for one part: The curse caused male domination. (See the discussion under point 4, in part 3.) I do not expect to see a solution in the Bible for “problems” not taught in the Bible, and as such, any solutions offered here for “removing the distortions introduced by the curse” has to be for problems mentioned in the Bible.
· In the family, husbands should forsake harsh or selfish leadership and grow in love and care for their wives; wives should forsake resistance to their husbands’ authority and grow in willing, joyful submission to their husbands’ leadership (Eph 5:21-33; Col 3:18-19; Tit 2:3-5; 1 Pet 3:1-7).
Husbands should forsake harsh leadership. In fact, nothing teaches that they should lead at all. It says they are – not should be – the head of wives. (Eph 5:23; also see 1 Cor 11:3 which the Danvers statement did not handle up to this point.) As such, even the most hen-pecked man is “the head” in some way, but no command is given to men to lead. And even if the two male headship verses and the Genesis prediction is turned to commands, no text would show men should rule families.
As for “wives should forsake resistance to their husbands’ authority”, Eph 5 could be understood that way, if “head” means authority. Otherwise, she is asked to submit without him having authority. Col 3:18-19; Tit 2:3-5; 1 Pet 3:1-7 do not mention his authority either. The only text in the whole New Testament which speak of the man’s authority is 1 Cor 7:4, which in some translations uses the word authority, and in Greek has the Greek word for authority. That text says that spouses, male and female, both have authority over each other’s bodies.
This wifely submission (and perhaps husbandly lead, if you think that is in the text), if you refrain from adding to scripture – is a marriage role or two. It is not gender roles. It says nothing of the still-single ones, the divorced or the widowed, who make up a very great percentage of adults. It makes no distinction between children, the girls and boys who want to follow God.
Titus 2:3-5 tells older women to teach submission to younger women. It does not command wives to submit. Having to teach something, and having to keep on doing it is not synonymous. Nor does it give husbands leadership.
1 Peter 3 also speak of wives submitting, but it does not call men leaders either. In fact, the reason for submitting to unbelieving men is so the men could perhaps be led – to God. (:1) And husbands should do “likewise (:7)”. Likewise to what? Likewise, to what was said before to wives, we may presume.
Joyful submission? None of the texts tells women to submit “willing(ly)” or “joyful(ly).” Joyful submission to husbands, which is certainly not commanded in the Bible, is even harder than submission. Submission goes like this:
Husband: I won’t spend money on the heating for the home where you and the eight children live full time this winter, nor on our youngest who suffers from failure to thrive. I want to spend money on my tractor collection instead.”
Wife: Yes, dear. I won’t protest your decision.
Joyful submission goes like this:
Wife: Yahoo! My husband is getting an extra tractor for his collection! Rather than crying about my children who are suffering, I will rejoice in my non-farming husband’s extra tractor!
This example is not fictitious. There really is an ex-very-submissive wife whose non-farming husband bought an extra tractor while her house had no heating and her baby failed to thrive. Joyful submission is not only unbiblical, but a crazy requirement.
· In the church, redemption in Christ gives men and women an equal share in the blessings of salvation; nevertheless, some governing and teaching roles within the church are restricted to men (Gal 3:28; 1 Cor 11:2-16; 1 Tim 2:11-15).
Something is strange about the Danvers wording here: If men and women have an equal share in the blessings of salvation, but some governing and teaching roles are restricted to men, are those roles not part of the blessings of salvation? Is having a teaching/ governing role in the church not a blessing, or not for the saved?
If some governing and teaching gifts at church is a blessing for only males among the saved, then females do not share equally in the blessings of salvation.
Gal 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
Gal 3:28 say men and women have an equal share in “the blessings of salvation.” I believe we should not define these blessings too narrowly.
There is neither male nor female, and then the Bible gives a reason why this is so: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. The plain meaning is that in some sense there is no male or female, and “for ye are one” gives the reason why this is true. “One in Jesus” does not limit the prior part. It does not give us the only way in which this is true.
1 Cor 11:2-16 limits no teaching or governing roles to men. Read for yourself: The one task reserved for men is the role of not having anything on the head while praying. Two verses probably weakly defend the notion of men and women having an equal share in the blessings of salvation: verses 11 and 12. But the rest of 1 Cor 11:2-16 seemingly has no relevance to this point.
If you take 1 Timothy 2:11-15 on face value, it does say that a woman (singular, in the Greek and in at least one translations) should not teach or usurp authority over a man. Since Jesus said clearly that believers should not exercise authority over other believers (Mat 20:25, Mar 10:42, Luk 22:25), you do not have to read that as a gender role. Still, it is possible, if you ignore or explain away a myriad of other things in the Bible, to get to the conclusion that this verse limits some church roles of teaching and authority to men.
Note that this will not be a gender role either: The majority of men at church are not leaders or teachers. Is following the leaders a female gender role? No. Everyone in the church – leaders and teachers and men and women – should be eager to learn and to follow good church leading, so that is no gender role either.
7. In all of life Christ is the supreme authority and guide for men and women, so that no earthly submission-domestic, religious, or civil-ever implies a mandate to follow a human authority into sin (Dan 3:10-18; Acts 4:19-20, 5:27-29; 1 Pet 3:1-2).
True, but not a defence of BMaW (different gender roles). This is also a lot vaguer than it sounds at first glance. To show one problem, here are two quick examples of opposite situations:
Cindy came to God from an unbelieving background, shortly prior to marrying a church-going man. Their church, like the Danvers statement and the Council of Biblical manhood and womanhood, emphasizes female submission and never emphasize how each woman and man have the responsibility to read the Bible for themselves. Her husband says she should sleep with his friends too. She has heard at church that she should not commit sexual sin, without sexual sin being specified, but she believe her husband is her authority, and he commands this. She can easily conclude that the real sin is the one directly preached against – disobeying her husband.
If some kinds of authority and teaching only belong to men, then the authority from men to do [x] will obviously count more than the idea, unconfirmed by men, that [x] is a sin.
2. On the other hand, there is also a way of reasoning which could use this idea – submit short of sin – to negate submission almost completely, unless you know your husband just spoke the will of God. But an egalitarian wife who knows that her husband has just spoken the will of God will also submit, and a Christian husband also has to submit when he knows his wife just spoken God’s will. This way of thinking probably makes complementarianism in marriage meaningless.
And submitting, without following into sin, could also leave women like this out in the cold:
Annie has an abusive husband who spends his money on alcohol rather than food for his family. Annie say she submits short of sin – if he abuse their children, she does not join in doing so. She would not take money from him on payday to ensure her children gets fed – he is the head of the family and his choices for the family is law. She does not protect her children from abuse by him, for the same reason.
Of course, the way of understanding that I link to (in point two of the two opposite examples) would solve that. But how much room would that leave for complementarian submission?
[To be continued in part 5]