Submission & The Proverbs 31 Woman

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When you get into a conversation with someone about biblical submission in marriage, things can get out of hand quickly.

First, there is a misconception about what biblical submission in the marriage looks like.  For those who are not understanding the scripture, or twisting it, they believe it is the woman being a doormat and the husband is the ultimate supreme dictator of the marriage.  They look at the first portion of the scripture from Ephesians 5, about the wife, and neglect that latter half that is directed to the husband.  Additionally, they are not acknowledging the very direct instructions given to husbands throughout scripture (Eph. 5:25 and 28, Col. 3:19, 1Peter 3:7, just to name a few).   It is true that some religious groups and families may use this scripture to advocate abuse and oppression of the wife.  But, remember, they are the bad apple amongst the bunch… unfortunately.  They give the rest of us a bad name.  When you tell someone you believe in “biblical submission to your husband”, they are envisioning you are one of these bad apples.  If you can get the opportunity to explain yourself, you can help them recognize the difference.

Second, there is a misconception that biblical submission in a marriage is going to look identical in every family, which is not only untrue but also not even practical.   Different families will have different structures in place based on the needs of the family.  A wife who has a deployed husband is going to carry a lot more authority in her home when it comes to making day to day decisions, than a woman who has a husband who works from home or a regular 9-5, Monday – Friday job.   There are some people/groups who define what the gender roles and responsibilities are, and sell them as a one size fits all package.  You will find some women in your life may try to convince you their way is the right way, the only way.  The truth is no two families in the Old Testament were the same, nor are they today.  Deciding what submission will look like in your home is going to come from God through prayer and communication with your spouse.

Third, you will find some people will try and refute biblical submission with the scripture found in Proverbs 31.  This woman is clearly not a doormat, she makes fiscal decisions, she makes decisions for the family and the household.  In fact, she does quite a bit of things that may be defined as “man’s work”.  She works out of the home.  She’s making major purchases (she bought a vineyard!).   Naysayers will try and push that if this is a woman who is of “noble character” and a woman to be desired as a wife, and ideal wife… then it negates biblical submission.   This is what I would like to address today.

WHAT IS BIBLICAL SUBMISSION:

Biblical submission is a two way street.  It requires something from both the wife and the husband.  She is to submit to his authority, he is to love her as Christ loved the church.  This means that she allows him to make the final decisions for the family & he takes the burden and accountability of those decisions before God.  He will love his wife so much that he will be willing to sacrifice himself (his time, money, resources, pleasure) for her.  He will consider her feeling, opinions and even expertise in his decision making.  It is a reciprocal relationship of mutual love and respect.

WHAT BIBLICAL SUBMISSION IS NOT:

Biblical submission is not a husband dictating the wife, or family, from a place of superiority.  It is not the wife having no voice, or opinion, on matters related to the home.  It is not a clear cut check list of “his duties” and “her duties”.  In fact, when it comes to gender roles in scripture there is no clear cut do/don’t do check list.  In fact, it is quite broadly defined.    Most of the very clear cut instructions are relative to how we treat one another, and how to unify ourselves as one flesh.  God didn’t dictate who would do the dishes, mow the lawn and decide the china pattern.

WHAT ABOUT THE PROVERBS 31 WOMAN?  ISN’T THAT A LIST?

Yes, it is a list.  No, not necessarily a list for everyone.  If you believe that ANY WOMAN on the earth could accomplish all that is listed there, you will be let down.  First, it is acknowledged by scholars that the Proverbs 31 Woman was not an actual living, breathing woman.  Instead, it was an idea.  King Lemuel’s mother wrote him a letter detailing out what he should be looking for in a wife.  There is really nothing amongst that list of duties she accomplished that isn’t noble or good.   A Professor I once had, who was also a Pastor, told me that in scripture when you see a “therefore” or a “but” you need to stop and see what they are there for.  In other words, when you see a list like this and it is capped off with a “but”… that is when you are finally going to see the point of the scripture.

In the case of Proverbs 31 after the “but” you read “a woman who fears the Lord is worthy to be praised”.  The point of the scripture is that while all of this attributes, character, skills and abilities are great and desirable in a wife…. THE MOST IMPORTANT is that she is a woman who fears the Lord.  We know that if we are communing with the holy spirit, there will be fruit that we produce.  All of her attributes and skills and her very character are a result of her fear of the Lord.  They are her fruit.  Different women, wives, will produce different fruit. Just as some fruit trees produce oranges and other apples.  We are the body of Christ, we can’t all be hands.  We must also be feet, eyes, ears, etc.  If we all were to bear the same fruit, the world would lack & our service would be limited.

SO HOW DOES THIS ANSWER THE ARGUMENT AGAINST SUBMISSION?

To answer that, we have to go right to the scripture itself.  In Proverbs 31:11 we are told that “her husband has full confidence in her, and lacks nothing”.    This means that the Proverbs 31 Woman is trusted by her husband.  He can trust her to make good decisions in his absence, because they are of one mind.  She is not making these decisions based on her own desires or wants.  She is a woman who is of “one flesh” with her husband, her thinking is in accord with his.

Sometimes in our society we can find that a household could have two sets of rules.  Either because the parents are in disagreement, or even divorced.  So there are “mom’s rules” and “dad’s rules”.  I have seen women who, for example, will disagree with their husband about whether or not the kids can watch a certain tv show. So, when dad is at work the kids are allowed to secretly watch it, but when dad gets home the rules change.  Or, at mom’s house the kids are allowed to dress one way, but when at their dad’s house they can’t.  There is a LOT wrong with this thinking.  First, it illustrates that mom and dad are not a team.  Kids will learn who to ask, in order to get what they want.  Second, it creates confusion for kids because there are not clear cut rules and can create division between the parents.  Third, the children are being taught at an early age that they can manipulate or bend rules not just when home with mom & dad, but also in their future relationships.

The Proverbs 31 Woman has a husband that knows that when he is away, she will make the same decisions as if he was home.  He can TRUST her.

WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH SUBMISSION?

The Proverbs 31 Woman’s husband can trust her BECAUSE she is a woman who submits to her husband as the head of the home.  Over time, she has proven herself to be wise, to make good decisions, to be a good steward with the money, to make decisions as he would, and so on.  Over time, he has learned that she can be trusted because she was submitting to his headship.  The more she has earned his trust, the more he feels she is capable of making decisions in her absence.  When you are an Eph 5 Submissive Wife, the better you get at it, you become the Proverbs 31 Woman who has a husband that has confidence and trust in her.

When we as wives are doing things behind our husband’s backs, they learn that they can’t trust us.  If we have a different set of rules for when our husband’s are away, we are untrustworthy.  When we make purchases that we know he wouldn’t agree with, or do not consult him over the cost, we are untrustworthy.  Scripture says that those who can be trusted with much are given much, and those who are untrustworthy with little are given little.  This isn’t just applicable to God’s blessings, but also to how our husbands will respond to us.

A husband who wants total control of his home is due to one of three things.  He s either an authoritarian, married to an untrustworthy woman, or has a history with untrustworthy women (his mother, ex-wife).  The first, that is an issue with him & something we can pray for God’s hand in changing.  The second, that is an issue with us & something we can change through confession (to God, to our husband), prayer & becoming more trustworthy.  The third, is a combination of the two.  We must pray for his heart to soften and his ability to trust us be strengthened, but we also must continually prove ourselves to be trustworthy.  We must also have the understanding that patience will be required during this time.

TAKE AN HONEST LOOK AT YOURSELF

If you find that your husband wants total control in your home, you have to start the process of change by taking an honest look at yourself first.  Before you pointing the finger at him, you need to examine yourself.   Have you been honest and trustworthy?  Have your decisions been consistent with his?  Have you respected his headship of the home, or are you fighting to get your way?  Do you manipulate him to sway him to come to your conclusions or do you submit to his? Submission is not about giving up control. It’s about establishing trust.  The reward is that the more he can trust you, the more control you will have in your home.  Because not only will be in accord with him, but you will desire to be in agreement with him vs. your own ways.  In other words, you won’t do it just because God wants you to… YOU will want to.

TAKE A KNEE FOR HIM

If after your own self examination you find that the trust issues lie within him, take a knee.  The greatest gift we give our marriage, and honor we can show God, is by praying over our husbands and our marriage.    We can pray for the changes that need to take place in him, we can pray for our own strength and patience during the this time, and we can ask God to reveal to us any ways in which we may be showing ourselves as untrustworthy and not even see it.    In the interim, we still remain submissive & trustworthy wives…even when we don’t agree with him.  God will honor your obedience and bless your marriage.

A QUICK NOTE TO HUSBANDS

I’d like to address a point regarding trust with the husbands, please do not ever give your wife a reason to be untrustworthy.  What I mean by that statement is that you need to always remain approachable, understanding and compassionate.  If you tend to overreact to certain situations, your wife may avoid coming to you in order to not upset you.

Finances are one of the most touchy subjects in my house.  I have a set budget, and any time I have to come to my husband because that budget isn’t enough for that time period … he gets unhinged.  Finally,  I told him that I would rather sell my own possessions at a pawn shop than ask for more money.  That shocked him.  He had come to a place where money had become such an issue to him, that he had become unapproachable.    Do not be unapproachable.   If you wife comes to you over a subject that is your hot button, learn to: hear her, ask her for some time to think about it, take a step away until you are clear headed and then talk with her/give her your decision.  Don’t let her see you get unhinged.  If you let her know she can come to you with ANYTHING, at ANY TIME… she will.

ABOUT THOSE BAD APPLES

I can’t walk away from this entry without addressing those bad apples, the ones who give us a bad name.  We can’t deny that there exists groups who utilize submission in an unbiblcal way.  Wives and children are abused under the notion that this is something God has ordained.   As a body of believers we can pray for these families.  We can pray that the eyes of the husband are opened to his sin.  We can pray for the safety of the women and the children.  We can offer aid and shelter to those who are fleeing to safety.

If you are reading this, and you are in an abusive marriage…. THIS IS NOT WHAT GOD WANTS FOR YOU!  Please, seek help.

 

I FEEL LIKE I HAVE FAILED YOU

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It’s been just one week since my nephew got married.  I’ve attended quite a few weddings in my life, but to be honest, this was probably one of the most God centered.  It was as if Jesus himself was sitting in the first row, smiling upon this holy union, a covenant made in His authority and for the glory of God.

It was a simple wedding, with delicate touches.  And, as I reflect upon it, I think that simplicity helped not detract our attention from who this marriage was really about.  It was about God.  In the beginning God created man, and felt man should not be alone.  From man’s rib he created woman.  He breathed life into them.  Joining them in the first marriage, a holy covenant not just between man and woman… but GOD, man and woman.

His importance in their lives and in this wedding was evident from the vows (which included biblical submission, the correct full version)… to the couple’s decision to celebrate holy communion together…. and even into the reception as they bound a cord of three threads.  It was felt in the very air around them, God was present.  He wasn’t just on the guest list… he was the guest of honor.  In fact, God had planned this wedding before a ring was on her finger, before they first time they spoke the words “hello”, even before bride and groom were taking their first steps holding onto their parents hands.

When they were engaged, my sister had shared with me that she has always prayed for her children’s future spouses.  Since they were babies, this was part of my sisters prayer life.  Little did she know the plans God had in store for her son, joining our family to one that not only amazing…. but as I have said numerous time, a family that feels like they have been here all along.  We just couldn’t see them yet.  Like distant relatives, you have been waiting your whole life in anticipation to meet.

When the hustle and bustle of wedding day was over, when the family had recuperated from the festivities… I began to feel pretty down.  Not about the wedding or this fantastic couple, but instead it was a conviction in my heart about my own family.  I sat in awe of this beautiful godly woman.  I knew in my heart that a large part of who she is was rooted in the parents who raised her.  As I looked to my own children, I felt like a failure.

I wondered, would God be such an important part of my own daughter’s wedding?  Had I dropped the ball on stressing the importance of that.  Then I felt conviction over every Sunday that I allowed her to stay home from church because she was tired, or I was tired of fighting to get everyone out of the house on time.  I felt conviction that I hadn’t stressed more the importance of finding not just a man who believes in God, but a strong believer who would lead the family.  My sister had definitely accomplished that with her son.

One evening, several days after the wedding, I was having a conversation with my eldest daughter.  First, I want to acknowledge that I am very grateful for the relationship I have with my daughter.  We speak about things that can, at times, be uncomfortable.  However, her candidness and honesty speaks volumes to the amount of trust she has in me.  You see, there is a very special guy in her life.  They speak of their future together.  His grandmother already refers to her as her granddaughter.   They are making plans, having conversations about marriage.  When to get engaged.  When to get married.  When to start having kids.  What they want to do between those steps.

Since my husband was unable to attend the wedding with us, her boyfriend came in his stead.  Which of course, brought wedding thoughts to her head.  So, we began talking.  I was asking her questions about the wedding,  specifically about what details she really liked.  I replied with a few things that caught my attention.  Then, I got quiet.  I turned away from her, I quietly said “I feel like I have failed you”.

This of course caught her off guard, and she asked me to repeat myself.  I turned back toward her, and said it again.  “I feel like I have failed you.”  She looked puzzled.  I explained all of my thoughts.  My conviction about letting her skip out on church.  My conviction that I hadn’t infused God into her life more.  I told her that I knew as a mom, my job was to shape my daughters to love God and make him central in their lives…. just like this beautiful bride.

She looked me in the face, with a big smile beaming and said … “Mom, I”m only fifteen.”

Yes, you dear sweet child, you are only fifteen.

My life mantra is that each day is a new chance to be better, to do better, to get it right.

In such few words, she expressed a lot.  There was wisdom and hope in those words.  There was no lack of rebellion or disinterest.  There was love and compassion.

There is hope for me yet.

TGC Women’s Conference – Part 2 (Pre-Conference, Male & Female- He Created Them)

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Last post was about The Gospel Coalition’s Women’s Conference, Pre-Conference “Make & Female, He Created Them”.

This first portion recaps some of the highlights of the two speaker panels.  The Pre-Conference concluded with Don Carson and was focused on the Book of Genesis, Chapters 1 & 2.

Here are the highlights I took away from this session:

There were two creation accounts in Gen 1 & 2.

1st – God Created Earth

2nd – God Created People

The first creation story establishes that God existed before the creation of the Earth, he self-exists.  He created everything in this story by speaking it into existence.

The second creation story establishes a more intimate creation.  God didn’t speak man into existence, but formed him & formed woman from him.  This was a process, interactive, involved.

Scripture indicates that God is different than his creation.  Gen 1 is like the “google earth view”, global scale view.  Gen 2 is the “google street view”, an intimate perspective.

Scripture tells us that God was detailed oriented, he cared so much about us that each of us is known by name, down to the number of hairs on our head.

Gen 1 establishes that God made man in his image, but they are not diety.   “Male and female, God made them”.  Not us.  Them.

Gen 2 gets into the specifics that man was made first, but needed woman and thus woman was made from man.

Additionally a hierarchy was established of man naming and ruling over the animals in creation.  Man is not diety, but it is more than just an animal.  There is a difference.

Made in God’s image = look, capacity of thought, creative, authority, interactive.  The human being has value outside of marriage.  But we are also relational, relational to God, to our spouse, to our family, to our church family.

Man & Woman has a purpose from God, within their family and within their church.  We all have a role to play, gifts and abilities to use.

In the order of the 2nd creation account… we have:

Man 1st created in garden -> rules were established -> man alone was not good -> animals were separate from man/he had dominion over them -> woman made from part of man (not the same as man, a compliment to man).

Before the fall the relationship with God, with spouse was ideal.  Candid.  Open.  No shame.  No anger.  Not hate.  No malice.  No grief.  No pain.  No hurt.

Man and woman were created differently, this was not the union of two identical people, rather 2 complimentary people, 2 halves that complete each other.

The role of man and woman carries from Gen into the New Testament. Eph 5:21 – 33, 1 Cor 11, 1 Tim 2, 1 Cor 14

Husbands are to be filled with the Holy Spirit, speaking, thanking and submitting to God.  leading their home in accordance to God’s direction, standing in authority out of love, self sacrificing for her good so that she is presented increasingly holy.  Husbands should be leading their home with spiritual authority not attitudinal authority or dictatorship.

Submission in marriage is submission to God.  He submits to God, she submits to God through her submission to her husband.

Our relationship with God is mirrored through our earthly marriage.  Both sides much be fully committed to these principles.  If they were it would put an ending to all marriage problems.

Biblical submission is not being a door mat, because our husbands are called to love us as Christ loved the Church, in which ultimately he sacrificed his very life for the church.  So should a husband die to himself for the good of his wife, to present her holy.

Wives are to submit to their husbands in all domains, there is nothing closed off.  You can call yourself a submissive wife if you are holding any area back from your husband’s authority.  If you are making decisions outside of his counsel, or doing things differently when he is not home vs. when he is.  We are submissive even when he is not perfect, when he is not being loveable.  Remember, HE is bearing the burdens for the decisions of the family due to this authority.

People want options whenever possible, and open as long as possible & tend to be not very tolerant of anything or anyone who threatens to end those options.  This is evident in business, travel, culture, etc.  But more options doesn’t always equal freedom, in fact sometimes we can become a slave to those options.  Never able to move forward because we can’t commit.

This is one of the biggest issues men face, always looking for better.  It’s why they can’t commit to marriage.  Or why they volley back and forth on big financial decisions, or wait until the last minute to decide.  In the end, if you get caught in the slavery of options, you will end up with nothing and no one.

One of the greatest issues women have faced is that through feminism they were given more options, and it is harder and harder as times passes for women to give back that control.  They want to have say and they want to have imput.   However, complementarianism in marriage is NOT about tearing down feminism but building up family.  Finding balance and complementary roles for both husband and wife.  No two houses will look the same, because the needs, calling, gifts/talents of each house will vary.   And because your husband loves you, as Christ loved the church, he will see you of the same value… worth dying for.  You will still have a voice, an opinion, be wise counsel to him.  In the end, he simply carries the accountability for the family through his decisions.

The next installment, will be the main conference, breaking down the book of Nehemiah.

 

IN REVIEW – The Gospel Coalition National Women’s Conference (Part 1)

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When I shared that I would be attending The Gospel Coalition National Women’s Conference, my friends asked for my notes before I even left.  First of all, this illustrates that my friends know me well.  I am a note taker.  Second, my friends know that my notes are good.  It isn’t because I have a keen ability to key into the important things that are being said.  Not at all.  It’s quite the opposite. I write everything down.  Like, everything.  I came home with well over 100 pages of notes.  There was a distinct moment, about half way through the conference, I realized I may not have bought a large enough notebook.

I do this style of note taking for 3 reasons.

1) I’m generally overwhelmed with information, and I can’t always detect what “the point” is.  Writing it down allows me to reflect on it later, when my head isn’t so clogged with thoughts and information.

2) My memory isn’t as good as it used to me (thank you Hashimotos).  If I don’t write it down, I’ll forget it.  Writing it down helps me commit it to memory.  Sometimes the full information, sometimes all my memory catches is a brief synopsis but tags in my head “you wrote that down in the blue notebook from the conference”.   I can almost always find that information I can’t remember.

3)  I believe that God can use the same notes I took today, ten years from now to tell me something else.   I don’t perceive any information as invaluable.  It may not matter or make sense today, but 10 years from now… it very well could.

So, on to the conference notes… that my friends are so eagerly awaiting.  Let me assure you, I am not posting 100+ pages of notes here.  I’m going to give out some highlights, things that jumped out at me when I looked back over the notes.  If anyone would like more specifics, I’m sure we can work something out.  🙂

I am going to also be providing these notes in installments.  So, consider this:  Installment 1:  The Pre-Conference.  I’ll then move onto the Main Conference,The Workshops, and finally my overall review of the conference itself, as a whole.    I’m going to be working on these as I have time.  So I make no promises of the notes being posted on a set schedule.  I may knock out a few in a week, or it may take me a few months.   Also, several of the speakers have their own website and blogs.  I am going to try and link as many as possible, as they are excellent sources of information on a variety of topics. I encourage you to seek them out.  Others may not have blogs or websites, but have written books.  I will do my best to link to pages that list those books, so that you can seek out great reads.

INSTALLMENT ONE:   THE PRE-CONFERENCE – Male and Female, He Created Them

The pre-conference was basically a “bonus” for those of us arriving early.  It wasn’t exactly related to the main conference theme.  But the information was valuable, none the less.  It was broken up into three sessions.   The first was a panel made up of men & women (Don Carson, Tim & Kathy Keller, Kathleen Nielson, John Piper).   The second panel was made up of all women (Trillia Newbell, Kathleen Nielson, Noel Piper, Jenny Salt, Carrie Sandom).  Both panels were handled in question/answer sytle, where the third session was a topical presentation from Don Corson.

First things first, the panel were all in agreement on their “complimentarian” beliefs.  This falls between the idea of “egalitarian” and “patriarchal”.  Big words, I know.  I had to look one of them up during the conference to ensure I knew what they were talking about.  Smart phone, for the win.  Egalitarians, in short, believe that all are created equal, “have equal responsibility to use their gifts and obey their calling to the glory of God; and are called to roles and ministries without regard to class, gender, or race” (wikipedia).  Patriarchals, in short, believe in very distinct gender roles.  They believe “that God has ordained a specific family order, and that this family order must be followed. The husband leads, the wife submits, and the children obey. (patheos.com).  Complimentarian falls somewhere in between.  It agrees with egalitarian beliefs that we are created equal before God to use our gifts as God has called us to, despite class or race.  However, when it comes to gender it bends slightly toward the patriarchal side.  The complimentarian belief is that we are created equal but different.  Equally valued, equally purposed, equally important, equally loved.  Different roles and responsibilities, that compliment one another.  It supports biblical submission, that the man is the head of the household.  However, it doesn’t fall to the extremism that patriarchal Christians can take.  It doesn’t support abuse or even dictatorship in the home.  It doesn’t even imply that certain tasks are for the men, and other for the women.  One of the speakers shared how when his father was away at work, his mother filled the role of his father in his absense.   She would fix things around the house, mow the lawn, discipline and train the children, take care of the finances, etc.  However, upon his father’s return, she would return all of those duties back to him.  He was given back his authority, and frankly she was given a reprieve.

I can relate to this, especially during certain times of the year, when my husband is working 12-14 hour days, 13 days in a row with only a single day off before he starts over again.  Military wives can relate to this when their husbands are away on deployment.  Too often when they return home we can still try and run the roost because we are accustomed to it.  We need the reprieve of handing it back over, and they need it too!  And, it’s good for our children to see that changing of the guard.  He isn’t just a man who pays the bills, he leads the family.

What I also appreciated about these sessions was that all of the speakers had a very clear definition of what “biblical submission” is, and what it isn’t.  This is a subject that can spark a lot of controversy.  Biblical submission is a mutual relationship where the wife submits to her husband’s leadership… not the wife becomes the husbands doormat.  In return the husband loves his wife, like Christ loved the church… by willing sacrifice.  Christ sacrificed his very life for the church, and husbands should be willing to die to self for their wives.  In this mutual relationship of submission and love, we have a wife who has her feelings, wants and desires considered.  She is allowed to voice her opinions to her husband, and he considers them in his decision.  But ultimately the final decision (and accountability  for that decision) rests on his shoulders.  The wife is not cast aside, while her husband runs the home like a dictatorship.  A great line from the women’s panel said “Men often see leadership as authoritarian, but that is wrong.  Leadership is sacrificial”.

Between the panels they related that the idea of husband and wife are wound throughout scripture, from Genesis through Revelation.  They confirmed that while these roles are biblically supported, they are not salvation issues.  However understanding this “equal, but different” complementary relationship will create a ripple effect that impacts how you read scripture.   No one gender is better or worse, but have different gifts by the very nature of their gender.  John Piper referred to his mother as “omni-competent”, clarifying that biblical submission is not competence based.  It’s not about what you CAN do, but what you SHOULD do… what God has called you to do.

This complementary relationship isn’t a “women’s issue” because it is important to the husband, and the children whom it is modeled before.  So while yes, women should be invested in biblical submission from the standpoint of their responsibility … so too, should the husband.  Don Carson very strongly implicated that men do not know enough & should learn more about what REAL biblical headship looks like.

And, what I thought was FANTASTIC about the panel… was that they addressed what this looks like in the life of the single man, or single woman.  If you are not married, there are still applicable lessons here for your relationship with the church.  As a single man, are you stepping up into leadership within your church?  Mentoring?  Leading a study?  Women, are you submitting to the authority of your Pastors (please do not read that in any sort of way that supports abuse of position, or that women should be silent in the church)?  Are you stepping up and mentoring, leading studies, helping with the children’s ministries, etc?

The panel was also very clear that these relationships are not hard lined, but flexible.  We can allow denominational differences to try and say “the way our church does it, is the right way”…. and we can do it personally by saying “the way my family lives this, is the right way”.  But that is simply not true.  This mutual relationship of Biblical Submission (wife) and Biblical Headship (husband) is going to look very different from home to home.  It will not look the same in the home of a deployed soldier and a full time missionary.

Biblical Headship (husband) puts the weight of the burden on the family on his shoulders.  He is accountable before God for every decision he makes for the family.  It’s not a power trip, it is leadership.  He doesn’t rule from over you, he leads from the front lines of the family.

Biblical Submission (wife) is beautiful and she is pleased by his leadership when it is well.  And, while the panels didn’t say this, I’d add in… when he is wrong, God honors her for her obedience to His word and protects the family from his errors and helps them recover.

From the women’s panel, Carrie Sandom referenced that 70’s feminism taught us that we, as women, can do anything a man can do… in fact, even better.  However, God promises us even BETTER when we are in alignment with HIS WORD, HIS DIRECTION, HIS PLAN.  In fact, we are seeing more and more women abandoning feminism and returning to the word because they were lacking satisfaction in the “equality” that feminism brought.

In the Complementarian Christian churches you will not find a woman as Pastor, they believe this is a role God clearly defines for me.  However, they do not discount the role of women as teachers and leaders.  In fact, Completementarian Churches strongly support their women’s ministries, because “the ministry of women to women beautiful and connects in a way men can’t”.  It is within these ministries that God uses our gifts and talents.  This is where our gifts of administration, stewardships, leadership, organizaton, etc all SHINE just as equally as our ability to create, nuture and love.    We have a goal to encourage and shape women, to grow in godliness, understand the gospel, and teach other women and to make these things happen we have to be able to organize and prepare.  Either on our own, or paired up with someone who compliments us.  Where one is weak, the other is strong.

Equality.  Diversity.  Unity.  Order.  – It’s all biblical. Found in the Word.  It’s not a single topic, but woven throughout.

We need to be grounded in the word to fight against the culture that is changing around us.  We need mentors who have wisdom to share.  We need to be studying the word alone, but also with others.  We need to be involved in ministry work, somewhere… somehow.

The ladies panel was very adamant that there should be a role in the body for everyone to serve.  That while yes, some women want recognition, most really just want to feel needed.   They addressed some of the benefits and difficulties of women working in ministry with men, which really supported the idea that we are indeed made equal, but different.  We see things different, process things differently, and respond differently.  I’m going to save some of these bits for a future post.

The women’s panel wrapped up their portion with 3 key things we can do to encourage strong biblical leadership… model it in your marriage, speak respectfully about your church leaders and pray for them & your relationship with them.

Don Carson’s presentation (3rd part of the pre-conference) really deserves it’s own space.  So, I will be writing on that next.  It really goes into detail about “Complimentarianism” with scriptural support.  I am HOPING, that I can save my fingers and your eyes, and that in the next few days they will have the video from the pere-conference on their website.  Then you can watch it for yourself. 🙂