Friday, May 12, 2006

Bruce Ware on Male Headship

I need some help with this. Here is a paragraph from Bruce Ware titled Why is Defending Male Headship Important for Church Health? This article has been quoted by Adrian Warnock and Jollyblogger in defense of the T4G statement. (Please access Ware's article from Adrians's blog until I figure out how to fix the link.)

    This is not to say that male/female complementarity does not relate in important ways to these central doctrines. Indeed, the Trinity, for example, models equality of essence with differentiation of roles, which equality and differentiation are mirrored in man as male and female. And the substitutionary atonement was carried out by one who submitted freely to the will of His Father, thus demonstrating the joy and beauty both of authority (the Father who sent) and submission (the Son who obeyed).
I have a few questions about this, a few theological qualms.

1. Why does the T4G statement not comment on or refer to the differentiation of roles in the Trinity if this is a central doctrine? Or does it? And is it a central doctrine?

2. Wasn't Jesus called "man of sorrows" because he knew he would die for sin and be rejected by God for carrying sin? If that is joy and beauty, it is certainly a muted joy. Was not his death a cause of grief and mourning for his disciples? Isn't joy to be had in the resurrection and future hope?

3. Wasn't Christ's act of submission the fact that he became human, and subject to death, willingly? He came from a position of power to a position of weakness, in order to be like his fellows. Christ emptied himself. Philippians 2. A wife does not come from a position of power in the traditional sense. Some women might, but I would say that metaphorically woman and wife does not represent power laid down.

4. The woman is the weaker vessel. She cannot mirror Christ's submission to God, unless we think that God intended Christ to suffer because he was weaker. But in fact, being the Son of God, he was of the same essence as God. Does the husband offer his wife as a sacrifice because she is of his essence? No, a man could only offer a son in that way, but surely Abraham was the last to suffer that horror. You can only offer as a sacrifice someone who is of yourself, a physical part of yourself, your own flesh and blood.

5. Doesn't the wife in 1 Peter submit to the unsaved husband and isn't it unjust suffering. Once again not beautiful or joyful, but compared ot a fiery ordeal. I understood Christ's submission in 1 Peter as his submission to unjust earthly powers. We rejoice that we can share in this, although it is an ordeal. A model for a Christian marriage? No, but a model for a Christian partner to be tolerant of and accomodating to the unsaved partner.

6. I have always undertood it like this. In Gethsemane, Christ submits to God, because he has already voluntarily emptied himself of the power to do anything else. Philipians 2.

Read Ben Witherington on this.

Last of all, aren't a few Christian men going to squirm when asked by a non-Christian what the connection is between a wife's submission to her husband and Christ's death on the cross? Tell me that I am misreading this. Please.


Adam Omelianchuk said...

Great post Susan! I am so thankful for you and your blog, it has become a regular read. :)

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Thanks Adam,

I have depended on many of your posts for information and encouragement.

Kevin Knox said...

Have you read Bilezikian on the heresy of subordination within the Godhead? I think he has written more than one paper on the subject, but this one was easy to find.