Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands… (1 Peter 3:1a)
Let’s be totally honest with each another. As I sit here preparing to write this article, we both have to wonder why I would ever want to step onto burning coals; why do I want to open a can of worms; why do I want to load the guns for my own firing squad? Choose your metaphor because there are a number that can apply. This is a topic that rarely results in a favorable outcome—that is unless I am talking to godly people that want to honor the Lord more than anything they do with their lives.
Most people believe that a relationship between a husband and wife in marriage that requires the submission of the wife is a totally bizarre, archaic notion. In many homes, even Christian ones, the wife is the person in authority. Everything runs through her and husbands cower in the corner living with the axiom, “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” To be as blunt as I can be, this is rebellion against the word of God. We are fond of saying, “The Bible is our rule of faith and practice,” which in practicality is actually, “unless it rules against what we already practice.” In most marriage ceremonies, the vow for the bride which says, “I promise to obey” is often excluded, although it is not one that I allow to be excluded in any marriage ceremony I officiate.
The Bible clearly shows us that the husband is to be the head of the family. This is the divinely instituted order which began with the creation of the man before the creation of the woman. Woman was created to be man’s helper. Adam was given dominion over the earth which is an authority that was not granted to the woman. However, Eve was to support Adam in exercising this authority.
Perhaps the most convincing argument for submission is given by the apostle Paul in Ephesians 5. He said, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing (Eph. 5:22-24). The key to understanding these verses is to consider that submission of the wife to the husband is actually submission to the Lord. This is obedience to God’s order of creation. It does not mean the woman is inferior to the man. Submission has nothing to do with inferiority any more than Christ’s submission to God the Father implies that He is not co-equal with the Father. Submission is the willingness to accept the role that God has for each of us whether we are talking about the wife in the family, the children to their parents, or the man to his head which is Christ. We simply do what God has designed us to do.
These designations also hold true in the church. The reason women are not allowed in the pastorate is because it upsets the divine order. When women are made pastors, they are actually destroying God’s structure from the top down. While many people believe women pastors are uplifting and thought provoking, they are actually subliminally or otherwise destroying the church by destroying families that make up the church.
No matter how many centuries go by we are never going to improve on God’s order. The husband is the one in authority over the home. Time and space fail me to explain the use of his authority, but suffice it to say it should be exercised in supreme love (Eph.5:25) and not in insufferable lordship. A husband that loves his wife as he should will have a wife that willingly submits. If you want success in your home, don’t upset God’s order!
Pastor V. Mark Smith