Jesus sets the record straight on the submission of women!

"Don't Submit" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“Don’t Submit” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

I think a lot of the problems Christians and churches have is because we so adamantly want to passionately abide by a strict, literal, and letter-for-letter interpretation of the bible.

So, instead of wrestling over the word “submit” and trying to figure out how to do it without controlling or abusing women (which I think is well-nigh impossible), just realize this was written at a patriarchal time when women were less than men, with less power, and hardly amounted to more than men’s possessions.

Hm! Have things changed that much?

Why can’t we just say, “Well, that’s obviously dated, so let’s chuck it!” We do that with a lot of the other biblical admonitions. Why not this one that’s obviously doing a lot of damage to women?

Here’s a good post that talks about the problem of abuse among Slavic churches, but that, as J. Lee Grady asserts, it’s not just the Slavic church’s problem, but the church’s problem:

“We need to face the fact that Lyuba’s murder doesn’t just represent an issue among Slavic believers. For years American pastors have been telling women to “just submit” to abusive husbands without realizing that such advice can actually provoke more abuse.”

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4 Responses

  1. Caryn LeMur says:

    David: I think we are also looking at the limitations of paradigms, and their appropriate application.

    I am a believer, and hold to the Bible being quite a collection of wisdom.

    When the system is broken, I recommend that the Book of Nehemiah be used – walls and gateways should be established. These are boundaries/protections and points of entry under the owner’s control. Given the system is broken, a professional counselor can greatly help.

    When the system is not broken, I recommend that the Book of Ephesians be used – the husband gives his wife veto power over any decisions/direction that are/appear damaging to her; and that she submits in other things. But submission also means that certain areas-of-responsibility (AOR) are hers to operate (since the husband is to love her like Christ loved the church – and Jesus does not interfere with the majority of church activities). This means huge amounts of communication.

    Thus, “submission at all times” (even when it is damaging to you) – in my opinion, is applying the wrong paradigm.

  2. I suppose there are just as many strategies for getting around difficult passages as there are people.

  3. Sue Bonner says:

    It’s almost humorous that the church leaders who quote the verse in Ephesians “wives submit to your husbands” conveniently forget the one before it that says “submit yourselves to one another out of reverence for Christ. That section refers to mutual submission to each other, not a ridged one up, one down relationship. I’m not a Bible scholar, but the way I see it, it talks about two equals surrendering their selfishness for their mutual benefit.

  4. Brigitte says:

    The other day, I was led down the garden path by the internet and ended up listening for however many minutes to a guy who was selling his relationship advice. It went on and on and he had us on the tenterhooks for the ONE thing that will make the relationship tick, to do the one thing that will glue your man to you. I will tell it to you quickly, as not to waste your time: “respect your man”; that was the great secret to his heart and to his loyalty to you.

    I do think that respect is what a man needs, and I am happy to frame submission in that sense. If he is wise, he will respect your wisdom as well (especially if you have some). If he is a fool, he will forge ahead unadvised and unaided. That’s not the idea of partnership or marriage. Love is always hard work. No way around it.

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