Saturday, March 8, 2014

He walks the line

I'll be referencing a post and comment thread on Vox Popoli: The Churchian elevation of sin.
This debate is quite fascinating... I believe in submitting to my husband over everything (though I fail a lot), but I married a good man who makes good choices for his family and his errors are minor.

I would not submit to my husband in such a case* - and I believe God would have mercy on me in such an extreme position in spite my sin of disobedience. - C
*In this case, what she's determined would nullify her submission is the command to have an abortion or any other egregious sin. Likely not a little sin, just the sinful commands that cross her line.


I Walk the Line - Johnny Cash
I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
I keep my eyes wide open all the time
I keep the ends out for the tie that binds
Because you're mine, I walk the line

I find it very, very easy to be true
I find myself alone when each day is through
Yes, I'll admit that I'm a fool for you
Because you're mine, I walk the line

As sure as night is dark and day is light
I keep you on my mind both day and night
And happiness I've known proves that it's right
Because you're mine, I walk the line

You've got a way to keep me on your side
You give me cause for love that I can't hide
For you I know I'd even try to turn the tide
Because you're mine, I walk the line

I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
I keep my eyes wide open all the time
I keep the ends out for the tie that binds
Because you're mine, I walk the line 

I asked several times yet no one wants to answer the question of how. How does the wife exert her disobedience to those things which she's determined is not what she should submit to? I asked this repeatedly because no matter your answer, the result of it is that she will determine a husband unworthy and not submit at all.

When she has determined he has crossed the line with a sinful request that she can not submit to, she will then stop submitting to anything and everything. The spirit of submission will be gone from her (though I'm dubious it was ever there to begin with if she had a list already made in her head "I'll submit to him, out of obedience to God except for if/when he does this, this, this and that").

The men in these marriages are never truly respected and honored as the head. How could he be? There is a line that if he should cross it, will detonate his authority and she determines that line by her interpretation of what the Commandments say - which in and of itself dismisses her husband as her spiritual authority. - Sarah's Daughter

 SD - I concede.

You are right, I would stop obeying my husband in all things after disobeying him on that one thing. Not so much due to my rebellious spirit, but more so because my husband commanding a thing so egregious would result in a complete and total loss of trust and respect from me.

So... I would definitely no longer be a suitable wife and it would be best for me to just seek a divorce.

I love how all the answers we have here are all defined as sin. -C

I've highlighted this woman's comments because of how forthcoming she was and because I would have written the very same things five years ago. I was the wife who breathed that sigh of relief having married a good man. It's a wise thing to do - marry a good man. You'll find security in knowing that this good man will not lead you astray. He will not deceive you, he will not fall from Grace, he will do what is right, though he may sin a little, he will not cross the line.

Right?

And if that's right then the Scripture is easy:
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.  Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. -Ephesians 5:22-24
Yes, there is that word "everything" in there, but no worries, my husband knows when everything doesn't actually mean everything. Sure, I'll let some little sins pass but he knows where the line is and will never put my obedience to the Scripture to the test. I'm safe.
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. - James 1:2-4
Uh oh.

I don't stay awake at night worrying about whether my husband will; tell me to have an abortion, tell me sacrifice one of my children, tell me to worship Satan, start abusing me or my children etc. However, since I have confessed with my mouth that I desire to be obedient to God and His commands for me in marriage, I've been tested with many little things. Many of which, if my submission was reliant on his goodness, would be quite easy to rationalize and justify as areas that fall outside of "everything" - that is, if I am the determiner of what is and is not good.

If I am the determiner of what is and is not good, then I am the Spiritual Authority of our marriage, my husband is not. If I am the judge of his behavior (discerning its sin content), if I am the arbiter of what is or is not respect worthy, then I have elevated myself to head of the marriage, I have drawn a line.  
SD - it doesn't take a lot of discerning to know that the Bible says "Do not murder." It also doesn't take a lot to know not to put anyone above God. - C
If my husband walks a line, I have put myself above God.
For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.- Ephesians 5:23

I'll tell you the truth of where I've been tested most since my vow of obedience to God's command for me to submit to my husband in everything: the very little things that in no way are sinful. It is not sin for my husband to ask me to prepare him some food when I'm tired and irritable. It is not sin for my husband to ask that I return a phone call that he answered and told the caller I'd get right back to them. It is not sin for my husband to admonish me for having an ungrateful attitude. Yet these are three of the times, just last week, I've been convicted in my heart of my rebellious spirit. Because I suck and fail - a lot. The difference between now and five years ago, I am convicted that I have two choices, rationalize and justify my behavior in rebellion to God or repent of it and ask for forgiveness and correction and return to obedience.

When I've rationalized and justified my behavior, contention remains in our home.
 It is better to dwell in a corner of a housetop,
Than in a house shared with a contentious woman. -
Proverbs 25:24
When I repent and return to obedience, I am at peace.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:6-7
I've successfully done both. I've tested the results. It is with my moral agency (something I've been accused of claiming women do not posses or must deny to be obedient to God's Word) that I choose peace. 

*Edit - In the comment thread on VP, blogger, Subject by Design, left a link to her blog that is excellent further reading: On Being a Subject  

5 comments:

  1. Well put. My impression is that the women seeking permission to not submit in a so-called extreme case are really wanting to justify not submitting in any case.

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  2. SBD,

    I believe you are correct.

    We had a soul winning campaign several years ago at our church. One women who became a Christian very quickly immersed her self in nearly every church activity. She became a enthusiastic participant in just about everything. Overnight she went from being a sinful person to one of the most dedicated Christian women you'd ever meet. On the surface it sounds like a tremendous success. Her husband had grown up in church, knew it to be "the right thing" but hated his wife's new found spiritual life and enthusiasm. Over a period of 3 or 4 years her church going became a major problem in their marriage.

    At the time I was teaching bible study class, and was unaware of any of her personal issues. She asked me one day after class if she was expected to obey her husband. NO other information, or explanation, just that question. I told her that yes she was. About six months latter she wrote a letter of resignation. It explained that she would stop being in charge or involved with just about everything at church and that she would only becoming on Sunday morning, but that her husband would come with her and her kids. She said that her husband had made her an offer to come to church with her on Sunday morning if she would stop, "all the other nonsense:. This upset several people.

    Fast forward to today. She and her family and husband attend. He is still a hold out in terms of faith. She didn't get divorced again. Last year she came to work as part time help where I work. She told me that things are going well in her marriage and that she hopes that her husband is coming around spiritually.

    While its not a total success story (yet) a second divorce or a miserable marriage isn't a success either. By obeying her husband and accepting his offer of a compromise, she pleased God. What and how God deals with her husband over his handling of the situation is now and always has been in God's hands. If he becomes a Christian, she will have won him through obedience. If he does not, she did all God asked and required of her, counter intuitive as it may have been.

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  3. There was a time recently, in the past couple years since you showed up on Keoni's blogroll, where I hated this blog and RLB's comments about MGTOW. Of course, I started out reading stuff on his blogroll atheist and then returned to The Fold. I've started to think that you might be required reading for prospective wives of Christian men after a life of debauchery and, to quote Voddie Baucham, the spirit of the age. I read that comment thread noting how the trolls could not answer you but could only take extremes. "But, abortion/threesome/murder!!"

    I do still think RLB's thoughts on mandatory marriage and anti-MGTOW are still wrong, though.

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  4. SD, I can't remember your exact position, but I would completely agree with the point you make about extending the question to every activity the wife doesn't like. It is not submission if you never have to go a way you don't want to go.

    I still remain unconvinced that a wife should do something sinful like aborting a child or stopping church attendance completely, but it should end there. A few issues might be fuzzy, but live with the fuzzy and don't extend it to areas like making food when you are tired, as you note.

    I talked with my wife about this issue when it was active and gave the sport analogy. She was all for going to the football game, but then we are not as hooked into church now as we had been in the past and I did emphasize that. (Finding the right place to hook in is really hard.)

    The comment above does remind me of the situation when we got married. She was a deaconess at her church at the time and I noted immediately that she should either step down or we should be leaders together. I think the people in the church thought I wanted to be a leader, when I was just concerned about proper Biblical order. (I now question whether that position should ever be female, but that is another issue.)

    Sean,

    I participated a tiny bit in that thread and I remain unconvinced. Truth is truth (I think Cail said that initially) regardless of the implications. Women are just as responsible for their actions as men and "just following orders" is not a valid excuse for them any more than it is for a man. The thread was far too extreme in the position being claimed by the complete submission crowd. You don't have to accept what we have today to think that the complete opposite is correct either.

    I have been labeled a white knight in many places and though I may have some such tendencies, my beliefs and actions are very far from that. Yet such arguments only allow for "the true and faithful" and "utter heretics." That is a natural human trait to push such, but it is stupid.

    We all "see through a glass darkly" and need to walk these things out, not immediately proclaim all others who disagree as trolls.

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  5. A few issues might be fuzzy, but live with the fuzzy and don't extend it to areas like making food when you are tired, as you note.

    What you are missing and what most who argue in favor of the exceptions miss is the Spirit of submission. I find it interesting how many men miss this. It is the same surrender and spirit of submission and obedience that a man must internalize when he accepts Jesus Christ as his Savior and commits himself to obedience to the Word. He knows he is a fallen sinner and needs a Redeemer. He knows he'll never be perfect however, there is something that convicts him to seek obedience and submission to the Word and prayer. Included for husbands in this profession of obedience and submission to God's word is Ephesians 5:25-33. This is not for single men who become Christians. It is specifically for husbands who do. It is rare to hear a man balk at this command though it is arguably a very difficult and entails great responsibility. I don't hear of exceptions and special circumstances that they attempt to argue with God about. In fact men seem to understand that though living in obedience to God's Word and commands for them is trying and difficult, it can become their passion and purpose in life. To abide in the Word in all things regardless how difficult. And though they fail and fall to temptation, they continue in pursuit of Wisdom and Truth. They do not let the world tell them when to obey God and when not to. In fact, they understand it is written to turn away from what the world tells them is truth and seek Wisdom from His Word.

    A married woman's Christian walk is likewise different than a single woman's. The Bible clearly states what is commanded of her. How clever of the enemy of her soul to have Christian men fill the role of the world, distracting her from Truth and surrendered obedience to God's Word. To say that is not right for her to confess this surrendered obedience to God's Word which includes submission to her husband in everything. Christian men tell her there are exceptions. Christian men confuse her surrender, as she remains in this confusion, her heart never knows what complete surrender to the Word is. She'll never abide completely in the Word - how can she, there are unwritten exceptions that she must decipher. The Words, as written, she is told, are not the complete command. For some reason God has left her in the dark of what the exceptions are and she is to try to navigate it herself. What's even more sick, these Christian men haven't a clue the disservice they're doing to her. They talk of wanting submissive wives who abide in the Word, but place a huge stumbling block in the way of one of the most important aspects of a Christian, married woman's path.

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