Some men really won’t like this discussion, but I assure you many women in the Independent Baptist world could tell you a thing or two. They know something isn’t right and face incredible pressure to not say anything, nor even think about it. They are quieter than those in many other groups, but they are thinking about it. I know. Too many of them have written my wife and I.
Now, let’s have no misunderstanding. The Bible is clear that men and women have different roles in the home and church. That difference implies no difference in worth the Bible makes equally clear. Like many fine Christians, including some reputable scholars, I am a complementarian. That position retains “wives submit” while strongly emphasizing “husbands love”. So it is not the egalitarian position that takes the verse Galatians 2:28 that says that in Christ “there is neither male nor female” to mean that Ephesians 5, Colossians 3, and I Peter 3 are not binding. Both sides there are true of course, but while it is true, some have used it as a cover for abuse.
It is one thing to speak of the man being responsible for a spiritual leadership, yet it is quite another to say he gets to call every shot. That he gets to demand an obedience from his wife equal to what his children must give is over the top. That setup between adults means he gets to spiritualize his natural selfishness. Selfishness is something in our flesh we must all deal with, but it is sure to warp when we can claim to the one we are imposing our selfishness on that God expects it of them. I wish I could say I have never played that card in my marriage, but I won’t defend instances of doing it. Let’s be real, the need of spiritual leadership is probably less than 5% of the issues that a Christian husband and wife disagree on. That means 95% of the time we should work it out with the give and take that is normal between adults.
When our pulpits exaggerate this biblical truth beyond its actual meaning, people are hurt. I have seen many pastors create an environment where women were second class. Beyond the true role difference ( like they may not be a pastor of deacon), they are presented as intellectually inferior. That is absurd and without a shred of biblical evidence. Some of these pastors not only run women down, they actually abuse them. Have you ever seen a pastor’s wife with ever downcast eyes? Often this is the reason. Some husbands might even do better if they weren’t told they were a spiritual wimp if they can’t lead their wife around like a puppy on a leash!
Some pastors abuse women further by not only giving husbands a license and encouragement to mistreat their wives, they in turn hold themselves up as am authority to the women as well. When the pastor and husband are not in agreement, the wife is in an ugly catch 22.
In my last article, I referenced Bill Gothard, who is now embroiled in scandal. He had incredible influence on pastors, even among Independent Baptists, who are now in their 50s and 60s. He taught a “chain of command” that goes beyond what the Bible actually says. He has a diagram that has an umbrella of protection where if the wife is under the husband then no matter what he does, or she made by him, will fall on her and she will be protected by God. Children are in the diagram under the wife. This is a gross misrepresentation of Scripture as it violates the clear mandate for the priesthood of every individual before God. This is a flawed model wreaking havoc on homes. It can run in a negative way through our churches too.
That teaching even puts single women under their fathers no matter their age. There are 40 year-old women out there that can’t do the simplest things without Daddy’s permission. As wild as this sounds, we have several churches and pastors in our movement that teach this system of belief. It should stop!
It reminds of the Pharisees. Pharisees would often testify of what the were especially thankful for. They were so thankful they were not a Gentile. That is a little superior, isn’t it? Do you want to know another one? They were glad they were not a women! They used women and changed the reasons for divorce time and again. Here, as in many other ways, I say it is time we stop following them!
Find all articles in the series here.
Here is an another article I wrote discussing the complementarian position–<a href="https://reaganreview.wordpress.com/2012/08/15/443/">Hey Guys