Her Submission is Her Glory

In the previous post on wives and women to be in submission I noted that there is much more instruction in the Bible about the order of Christian households than there is about the administration of baptism or the Lord’s Supper. Six passages were listed within the post, but I left out one in particular; a bit of “meat on the bone” that I hoped a commenter might gnaw off.

1 Corinthians 11:2-16 [1]

Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you. But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven.For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head. For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.10 That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. 11 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; 12 for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God. 13 Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a wife to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him, 15 but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. 16 If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God.

With this passage St. Paul blows out of the water the nonsense idea of “mutual submission” that so many pretend to glean from Ephesians 5:21.

My next post will probably be about my own error in applying 1 Cor. 11:15, but what is important in this post is:

  1. Understand that there is no excuse for the supposed “confusion” about who is supposed to submit to whom, and how.[2]
  2. Understand that a wife’s submission to God through Christ and through her husband (But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.”) is supposed to be conspicuous–utterly obvious; not just a so-called “matter of the heart”. The sign and evidence of her submission is her glory! Without it, she has no glory.
  3. If your church teaches Biblical Inerrancy, but it does not teach overt wifely submission and head coverings, why–in light of 1 Cor. 11:16–would you believe it is a church of God?

[1] The ESV translators footnote that the words wife and husband used in the passage could be translated as woman and man, depending on the context, and that that word for angels could be translated as messengers or observers

[2] The linked post of Sheila Gregoire’s blog would be hilarious if she represented only a fringe element of Christian culture. She actually writes of those who quote 1 Peter 3 on the submission of women that they are ignoring the entire rest of the Bible, and that Peter’s instruction that wives act like Sarah is only in reference to Sarah when she followed Abraham out of Ur!

My drive-by commenters believe this verse clearly says that women should always obey their husbands no matter what. However, the readers of Peter’s letter would never have thought that. First, they would have known that Peter didn’t think this; but second, even if Peter had wanted to tell his readers to do so, he would not have used Sarah as the example. Sarah’s life was hardly the picture of a wife obeying her husband in everything!

Instead, when contemporary Jewish readers encountered Peter’s command that women emulate Sarah, who obeyed Abraham “rather than giving way to fear”, that last part would have given them the context of what Peter meant. They would have known that it was not a command to obey in all circumstances. Instead, they would take that bit of the verse–“rather than giving way to fear”–and hearken back to to the time that Sarah DID obey, even when it was scary.

And that was the time that Sarah followed Abraham out of Ur, because God called him. That was a pivotal time in Jewish history (really the beginning of Jewish history). It would make sense that Peter would remind his readers of it. And the message they would take? When God is speaking, you follow by faith. It’s that simple.

They would never think that it meant that women should not confront their husbands’ sin, or that women should forget God’s will and only follow their husband’s will, because that would go against everything they knew of Sarah, and everything they knew of Peter. [Emphasis in original text]

 

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In for a Penny, In for a Pound

 

MKT pointed out a video celebration of J.D. Greear’s election as president of the SBC.

In his comment, MKT noted Russell Moore’s cameo, but Beth Moore is in there as well. If you watch both videos you’ll see that it’s a who’s-who of the SBC’s ascendant politburo.

But today I want to talk about the animating spirit behind J.D. Greear’s ascendence, and I want to do that by examining the message put out by one of his biggest fans, the producer of this video. Her name is Ashley Unzicker. [1] She is a member of The Summit Churches in NC where her husband Todd Unzicker [1] is a sort of pastor of the 10,000 plus church, according to this McClatchy article about how evil Trump is.

It turns out that the celebration video is a follow-up to this video from March 14, 2016 in which she pimps big for Greear to be president. [2]

The lyrics point out that Greear is accomplished, smart, well-travelled, has a full head of greying hair, runs a successful and growing corporation, pushes diversity, and handles loads of cash. She literally puts her whole being into service to joyfully sing and dance Greear’s praises.

Two and a half months after (May 30, 2016) “J.D. Greear for SBC President Rap”, Ashley released another video.

The video is titled “Husbands say ‘No’ to Cleaning”, but in the song it’s the wife saying no to her husband. It mocks her husband as a slobby and irresponsible man-child who isn’t allowed to go play until he finishes his chores, or else she will shame him on Facebook.

Her husband Todd helped her make the video by starring as one pathetic boob representative of all husbands. (It’s called “HusbandS say ‘No’ to Cleaning”.) Perhaps that’s not a fair reading of her intent. After all, this is a diversity-loving woman. Maybe she meant Todd to only represent boring, unsexy, white husbands.

With whom should we assume Ashley is infatuated?  J.D. Greear at whose feet Ashley devotes herself body and soul, or Todd whom she mothers, dominates, and shames online?


[1] Check out Ashley and Todd’s profile tags. 

Hers: Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

His: Follower of One, husband of one @AshleyUnzicker , dad of three, sender of many @Summitrdu

[2] Here’s a video of J.D. Greear withdrawing his 2016 candidacy for SBC president.  If that looks familiar, it might be because you read Greear’s January 30, 2018 post “Why I’m Accepting the Nomination for SBC’s president”. The post’s header image is taken from that 2016 withdrawal announcement. It was posted five months previous to the SBC women’s letter which led to the ignoble ouster of Paige Patterson; a political assassination which would frighten the sheep right into Greear’s woman-shaped arms. Spooky? Nah. That’s just good plans.

On Christian Female Bloggers II: The Gold Standard of Reverent

Prepare to be offended.

But as for you [Titus], teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

I think my readers know what is meant by “not slanderers” and “or slaves to much wine”, but “reverent in behavior” means what for people in our society? Towards the end of his post (and him with no knowledge my post was in the works) Dalrock translated the specific Greek words used in Ephesians for fear and reverence.

Fearing women, however, is not something that the Bible teaches.  Christians are to fear God, and wives are to fear their husbands.  As every Christian feminist’s favorite verse in Ephesians 5 explains, Christians in general are to submit to one another in fear (also translated as reverence) of God:

21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

A bit later, in Ephesians 5:33, Paul explains that a wife is to fear (also translated as reverence) her husband (ISV):

33 But each individual man among you must love his wife as he loves himself; and may the wife fear her husband.

Interestingly in some translations fear is used in verse 21 while reverence is used in verse 33***, as is the case with the King James version:

21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

…33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

Other times we see it the other way around as is the case with the International Standard Version:

21 and you will submit to one another out of reverence for the Messiah.

…33 But each individual man among you must love his wife as he loves himself; and may the wife fear her husband.

Translation is a necessary and noble endeavor, but it is one I am happy to trust to professionals and my friends[1].

My process is much simpler. I performed a Google search of every blog recommended to me for the word knee because kneeling is the gold standard of submission and reverence. That (should have) found even comments with knee and its derivatives. Then I bookmarked each result. Of them all, only one post contained a reference of one spouse kneeling to another. It was at “A Peaceful Wife”, by April Cassidy[2]

It came from an email from a reader which April posted for mutual inspiration. She wrote:

I finally found out what he meant by “arguing” by reading your blog. I seriously had NO IDEA!! I didn’t understand why he would get mad when I “shared my feelings” with him until reading your blog. I felt absolutely baffled by it! He also notoriously calls me “negative” and tells me I “complain” a lot, which would make me furious! And so I would defend myself thinking that he would then see that he was hurting me and fall on his knees to apologize.. I had no idea that I was actually perpetuating the disrespect by defending myself. This is still the hardest thing for me because I hate being wrong and being the person who needs to apologize, etc.[3]

She knew that the right thing to do when asking forgiveness was assume a humble posture, but when she realized it was herself who should apologize: She didn’t kneel as she had wanted her husband to do. Instead she took April’s advice and walked out of the room. Later she told her husband he’s a very good boy:

One other huge break through, I have tried many times in the past to tell him things I do respect about him but he has never believed me and he knew I was just doing an exercise I read in a book or something. However, after reading your blog and comments on there, etc, I realized that he has never withdrawn from me or our boys and he has never stopped leading, even in the face of my disrespect and attempts to control.
  • So I told him that I was very impressed that he still continues to lead, to tell me my sin, and to try to engage in the family even when I’m wrong and even when most men do the opposite.[3]

April posted this to her own blog as an example of a submissive wife. That–walking out of a room, and saying what a good boy a husband is– is not a picture of submissive wife. That is a picture of a doting mother. I must assume she knows the difference. Remember: This woman wanted her husband to give her the gold standard in submission. She knows that standard is kneeling.

In fact none of the female Christian blogs I searched ever mentioned a wife assuming the posture of submission; of her kneeling. There are admonitions for tone of voice, and silence, and just about any other vagaries of action which are only nonchalance disguised as submission. This lack shows in a couple ways. First, you can see it in wordiness and meandering of posts on submission by otherwise well-meaning women. (One has to shovel a lot of vagaries to fill the hole left by kneeling.) Second, even women who are trying to be submissive leave comment after comment about “running out of ideas” on how to make their submission apparent to their husbands; as if men hadn’t the eyes to see submission. I’m sorry to say that is often the charge leveled at husbands. If a wife kneeled, could her submission be in question? No.

This topic makes me uncomfortable. I don’t think I’m alone in that. Dalrock’s post continues:

This is not to say that Christian wives are to worship their husbands as Christian men today so often worship women, but clearly there is a healthy reverence wives are instructed to have for their husbands in line with headship and submission.

I know I’ve said the same. While it is murmured elsewhere that I am an oppressive dolt, the fact is you can’t keep me from tripping over myself to make clear my haste to demonstrate my lack of need for submission…which is a lie that I’ve been telling myself since I began thinking about submission. I do need my wife’s submission if I want a wife at all!

The truth is that I I had been overlooking it forever. And–in my defense–I’ve been warned away from female submission my entire life. In the post this series corrects, I erroneously wrote:

Submission is the absence of rebellion. Wives don’t have to learn “how to be submissive”; they just have to decide not to rebel.

It’s true that one way to define submission is the absence of rebellion, but I was wrong in that women do have to learn to submit. And I do have to learn how to accept it. My mind has put forth to me every kind of excuse against kneeling, but–discomforting or not–the fact is irrefutable that the gold standard of submission is kneeling. Therefore, can we say of anyone who disdains (or even merely eschews) kneeling, that they are in submission?

I’m a bit timid of this line of thinking. There is some sickness in me that wants my wife to find me…what? Equal? Unworthy? Something. At the same time: The sickness makes me bitter when it gets its wish! It is a stupid sickness of the Old Adam and it must be crucified within me. Healthy marriage is too important.

Here’s why: I see the ships of those who pilot for Biblical Marriage repeatedly crash on the shoals of questions like this:

  • What if my husband asks me to sin?
  • What if my husband won’t follow-through on (church, praying, controlling finances, etc.)?
  • What if my husband ignores me?
  • What if my husband won’t forgive me for my mistakes?
  • What if I really need (food, clothes, etc.) but my husband won’t provide it?
  • What if I’ve tried everything and nothing works?

Here’s my response from now on: After you tried smiling sweetly, and doting on him, and the silent treatment, and standing up for yourself, and going behind his back, and taking matters into your own hands, and bringing in the pastor: Did you try kneeling before your husband in submission?

Are Christian female bloggers aware that kneeling is the gold standard of submission? Yes. In fact, the more “spiritual” the blogger wants to sound, the more she mentions kneeling submissively in prayer. “Hit my knees!” “Fell to my knees!” “Knelt right there on the linoleum!” They know submission during prayer is important.

As I said: Not one of the Christian female bloggers suggest kneeling to her husband. To be reverent to their husbands, and to teach young women to be submissive, they must start.


[1] I’m looking at you, Deep Strength, Jonadab, and others!

[2] Who is not 60, nor a grandmother, nor post-menopausal. In no way do I find her to be an elder woman.

[3] Emphasis in original

On Christian Female Bloggers I: Who Should They Be?

Author’s Note: I hope my readers find this first entry worth the wait. It’s been tough to decide how to section up this piece. On the plus side: Just me talking about this has stirred up a lot of conversation on the topic. As I followed the links to female Christian bloggers that were left to me, I found several of them have been writing scurrilously about female teachers. That doesn’t even include Dalrock, Deep Strength, and others from the blogs I read for my own pleasure and edification.

But as for you [Titus], teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

In this passage we have the most robust statement in the Scriptures of what women teachers look like, what they should teach, and who they should teach. Bloggers on Christian marriage, I think one must agree, are a kind of teacher so in whatever way we judge them, St. Paul’s instructions to Titus must figure largely–if not prominently!–in any discussion of how to judge a female Christian blogger.

In the post I mean to correct, I brought up a distinction between an indicative (a description of what and how a this is) and an imperative (commands on what it is to do). St. Paul was fond of pairing up a set of linked indicatives with an set of imperatives. We see them throughout his letters to the churches. What sort of woman should qualify for a teacher of women?

All of them.

Well, at least the older ones. Paul says, “Older women are likewise to…” and then goes into a list of indicatives of older Christian women. Are there any Christian woman who are to be irreverent in behavior, slanderers, or slaves to much wine? No. In the same way as all Christian women are to be reverent, all Christian women are to be teachers of the younger women. He gives an imperative: “They are to teach”, Paul wrote, once they are older.

What does older mean? I think it could be fairly interpreted a couple ways. The first is a mother of a mother. It is unavoidably natural that a mother of a mother would have teachings for the younger. A grandmother has successfully raised her own children, and if she is a Christian grandmother then she should still be married, or a widow, or–at worst–a repentant and chaste woman who confesses her foolishness to the younger women that they might learn from her sins.

The second demarcation I can countenance for an older woman is menopause. It has been my experience that once a woman sails beyond the Red Tide that she ceases to become so irrational and carried away, and often becomes (emotionally and mentally) something nearer to an old man than a young woman. In a word: Self-controlled.

Part of that self-control will be exhibited in her long hair (if she can help it; covered if she can’t). It will also show in her lack of public prophecy (“The Lord spoke to my heart…”) which is rampant and shameless among female Christian writers. Unless she is prepared to be sought out, questioned mightily, and ready to confess that she heard an audible voice as the prophets of old did, I want to hear nothing of the Lord “speaking to her”. It’s blasphemy at the least and likely an evil spirit.

She, the older woman teacher, will also confess and profess what is good; the list of which is greater than this post, but I will cover in the near future. Mind you: She doesn’t just teach what she is good at, or what she would like to be good, but what is good.

Of the female Christian bloggers which were recommended to me as good teachers only one met this simple criteria: Lori Alexander; who has been on my blogroll. The rest are young by any standard except a teenager’s. Again, I want to point out that older women teaching the younger is an imperative; they all ought to be doing it. So what we’re seeing isn’t just a bunch of young foolish whipper-snappers, but a dearth of old, self-controlled, biddies.

This wasn’t the conclusion I thought I’d reach when I started thinking seriously about female teachers, but I can’t see any other explanation.

Someone suggested “Thatmom.com” (the authoress of which is a grandmother) but after reading some of her posts I have concluded that she was suggested to me so that I would put the torch to her…literarily. Perhaps later I will, but I already have the next post mostly done so she will have to wait.

On Christian Female Bloggers: A Preface

I was never happy with this post. Because I know my inner thoughts, I know what I tried to say. However; it is not what I wanted to say, and it’s not what I should have wrote. Reading it again I find it confused; an early concoction of an idea with the right ingredients, but in wrong states of emphasis. Since then I’ve been brewing and distilling (with the help of other Christian men) and I hope what follows is better.