Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Does submission lead to sanctification?

The discussion on gender continues. On this post Dave comments,

    Kristen and Tim,

    To take the slavery example Kristen gives.

    Even if you have a wonderful owner isn't slavery still abuse? At the end of the day you are not free, you are not equal. In other words you cannot treat a slave so well that it is not abuse to be a slave.

    So as far as I can see it would be true to say "Slavery is abuse. Period".

    Should patriarchy really be different? Yes, there seem to be many patriarchal marriages where people are happy but isn't the system of patriarchy itself abuse as slavery is?

    For some might the lack of awareness that they are not equal and not free be a sign of abuse?

    I don't want to make the jump that all patriarchal marriages are abusive in terms of physical abuse. But equally I do want to say

    a) physical, spiritual, emotional abuse is more common in patriarchal marriages.

    b)if you are not free to be equal then isn't that a form of abuse? ("image of God abuse"?)

A female commenter on this post admits that submission is difficult, but offers the following justification,
    As a woman and wife I often find this command of submission difficult but I believe that God’s word is inerrant, His ways are best, and that obedience to the biblical design of complimentarianism leads to great blessing and sanctification. We have only to look at the culture around us to see that egalitarianism and complemegalitarianism are flawed and ineffective.
My response is that all cultures throughout history have been flawed and ineffective. Women are better off today than ever before. Just because we are not aware of the many women in the 19th century, and throughout history, who remained single all their life, who became prostitutes, who lived in debtors prison, who were raped by husbands and strangers - just because our great novels do not often celebrate their lives - does not mean that they did not exist.

Egalitarianism offers women the chance to earn a living, save for old age, support their children and basically contribute to the well-being of their family when difficult circumstances arise.

If submission brings sanctification and blessing just because it is difficult, I think one could arrange to get cancer or some other suffering of that sort. I do not see the need for the soul-suffering that a life of inequality has to offer. Why would men want to enforce this on their wives anyway? It seems a perverse arrangment to demand of a wife something one knows is difficult and what one has no intention of living with oneself. Women already have to bear children. Isn't that enough?


Kristen said...

Wifely subordination may lead to sanctification for some women, but what about the men? It often results in women enabling men to continue in selfish, self-serving, its-mine-because-I'm-the-man, lives. Some men have the character to not act this way-- but for those who don't have the character to turn in self-denial from the constant whatever-you-say-dear from their wives, wifely subordination and male rule is a very ugly thing indeed.

Would God really call Christians to the feet of such a bad-fruit-bearing tree? Or are we misreading an ancient cultural norm as if it were the gospel?

Kristen said...

Also, Christians are indeed advised in Scripture that submitting to suffering brings character. But nowhere is it ever said to be ok for Christians to inflict suffering on one another in the name of "sanctification." Such an idea is completely abhorrent to the kind of love taught in 1 Cor. 13 and elsewhere.

If a husband is making his wife suffer in the name of "submission," HE IS IN SIN. Period.

NicodemusLegend said...

If submission brings sanctification and blessing just because it is difficult

To be fair, I don't see "because it is difficult" in the complementarian woman's argument in the paragraph above.

However, I can't say that I see anything else there that goes deeper "because God says so" (which itself must be properly understood as "because I believe God says so," which is obviously not quite the same thing).