Monday, October 13, 2008

Are women subordinate for eternity

No, you have not wandered into a Mormon or recovering from Mormonism blog. However, I have read one of those and it was extremely helpful. I felt a lot of resonance. But this is a request post. I did read the cited article and thought that it was too weird for words.

Here is the deal. I came from a fundamentalist church. I then attended an Anglican church because I thought it would be mainstream, whatever that is. I was disappointed. This particular church has been influenced by the doctrines of the Sydney diocese in Australia and the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood in the US.

So here is an article from the CBMW website which certainly sounds like Mormonism. The very thought that in heaven people will not be free from the marriages that were hell on earth for them is a sobering thought. It should make us all rejoice in the fact that there is another place. Whew. Here is the passage,

Indeed, our relationships with those with whom we have spent so great a part of our earthly lives are very much a part of who we are. As Alcorn observes, we should not assume that those married in the present age will grow more distant in the new creation.39 Certainly, there are conditions that apply, but we should expect that the relationships most dear to us in the present life in the new creation will be enhanced.40

Given, then, that relationships between those married on earth will in some sense remain in the new creation, it remains for us to inquire regarding the nature of those relationships. To put it more directly, will husbandly headship and wifely submission still obtain in the new creation? The egalitarian response, of course, is that all traces of headship and submission will have been removed. The evidence, however, argues to the contrary.

First, consider the argument concerning man and woman as originally created. There is virtually universal agreement that man and woman are ontologically equal, equal in essence and worth, because both were created in the image of God. In the ordering of his creation, however, God formed the man first and gave him responsibility and authority as the head of the human race.41 This headship, far from being a result of the fall-feminist and egalitarian claims notwithstanding-is a central feature of the divine created order.42 Because the new creation is, fundamentally, a return to the divine order that prevailed before the fall, it follows that male headship will remain in the new creation.

Think of men and women in miserable situations, married to someone totally unsuitable. It is bad for the man in an unhappy marriage to think that it will endure for eternity. But at least he will finally be given the upper hand in heaven. Of course, too late perhaps for his earthly fulfillment, (Suzanne, smack your fingers for that one), but the woman will be eternally in submission.

Oh Garden of Eden, where are you? Is paradise truly the submission of the female to the male? Does the male never wish to be loved for anything other than his God ordained gift of rule and authority? (I bet any non-Christians reading this blog are thanking their lucky stars!)

Silly stuff, but CBMW is supported by and influences mainline churches like St. John's Shaughnessy Anglican church. I doubt the parishioners there ever read this stuff but sometimes they hear it preached in a slightly milder and more digestible form. Anyway, I was asked by a friend to expose some more of the disgusting material.


Lynne said...

This stuff hurts to read. How far are they prepared to go? And what's really driving them to push their extra-biblical speculation so far?

Silly me. I thought Jesus said there would be no marrying or giving in marriage in heaven (such that the woman who had had 7 legitimate husbands in this world would have none in the world to come .. have they actually read what He said?)

Leaving aside the whole issue that I firmly believe that the subordination of woman was from the fall, not from creation, and therefore has no place in Heaven (or, to be a little snarky, does their heaven involve weeding parties too?), do they really see heaven as a place where the women stand in the background while the husbands stand between them and God?
And here's another thought .. what of the woman who receives a higher heavenly reward than her husband? Is she still in submission to the guy who only got there with all his works burned up as wood hay and stubble?

This is so sickening. my prayers go out to every woman whose hope has been reduced or totally dashed by being told this 'teaching'.

Lin said...

It is unbelievable, isn't it? I mean they go right to the cliff and stop. They don't come right out and say there is marriage in heaven but they imply that there will be similar relationships. This is plausible deniability but planting seeds of Mormon poison because there is NO 'headship' for male saints in heaven.

My favorite part is when they try to convince us male headship of women in heaven will be a good thing because there won't be any evil.

These are the last days, surely. When reformed, evangelical conservatives sound like Mormons we know that many anti-christs have entered the Body.

What is worse, CBMW is mainstream!

And here we thought ESS was bad. Yes, it can always get worse. We have a duty to warn as many as we can of this heresy.

Lin said...

One more thing...they speak of gender roles not changing in eternity. Are they prepared to argue this from a biological standpoint? Sheesh.

Lynne said...

OK, this whole hideous thing really got under my skin, so, being the kind of right-brained person that I am, I tried to process it as a poem. This was what I wrote:

I shall not be your plaything forever
Or the mat on which you wipe your feet.

I servant willingly,
Having another master,
And bondslave to His glory.
Here I am whole
In the place of his calling, becoming
Everything I am in Him
Stretched into authority
Fashioned by His love
His precious poiema forever.

Not for the glory of your ego
Did He shed His blood for me.
For the Kingdom of Heaven is greater
Than the petty realms of men
And He calls His sons and daughters
To reign with Him forever.

There you no longer own me.
Stamped with His Name and His glory,
I shall stand, wearing His beauty:
And your mean rules die away,
In the freedom of His joy.

Anonymous said...

"we should expect that the relationships most dear to us in the present life in the new creation will be enhanced."

This thought was quite comforting for me during my marriage (before it broke.) Especially since the woman that was most dear to me was not my wife.
Up until now, I have never had a romantic relationship with this woman. Though we are friends, our friendship has always been superficial, exactly because of romantic feelings (and thus keeping distance). The thought to have a truly open relationship in heaven made me really long for heaven.

But I doubt that this is what CBMW meant :)

Rev R Marszalek said...

I'm just about to write my first assessed piece for theological college exploring the theological views of those for and against women in the episcopate. We start to look at gender issues in college next week, please pray for me that I behave with gentleness and grace and that I listen first and speak later. You know, I have to share with you, when the topic is hinted at in the classroom, I physically shake and the adrenalin pumps so fast through my veins, it's frightening. I want the Lord to release me to do something positive with all the energy that I have for this issue. Healing is happening and I'm at a college with a female principle who is a real pioneer in the area of women in ministry - God is so good - it's just that there's so much more that I want to do to help women who I know are suffering under the crushing weight of CBMW ideologies.

Rachel at Re vis.e Re form

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much, Suzanne, for again finding something I was looking for.

Over at the Sydney diocese web forum a fellow who, I believe, works for St Matthias press started off a thread in which he invited women to post, "verses that draw attention to the way Paul honours women". He said of Gal 3:28 that it, "honours women because it says that in the matter of salvation, they are first-class citizens alongside men". ?!?

I responded as follows:

I have no trouble with Paul’s attitude to women. I do have trouble with the way some people, including people in the Sydney diocese, interpret what Paul says about women.

Galatians 3:28 indeed grants that in the matter of salvation (at least) women are “first-class citizens alongside men”. But what about all the other matters? When we women get to heaven will we be eternally subordinate to men in the same way that the Sydney diocese now says that the Son is eternally subordinate to the Father? If we will be eternally subordinate to men, as the Son is said to be eternally subordinate to the Father, how will that work out? Will we women, for instance, be eternally polishing or otherwise eternally preparing the harps for the men to play, but never getting to play them ourselves? Will we be free to sing our praises while we do the harp preparation or will we have to get permission first? If the harp preparation will be eternal then when will the men ever get to play them?

These are serious questions (well, maybe except for the harp thing but not having been to heaven I can’t think of a better way of expressing myself). I do want to know what eternal subordination means to those who have thought seriously about it.

As a result a woman who appears to be related somehow to the original poster wrote:

It’s certainly not Biblical to suggest all women will be subordinate to all men in the new heavens & new earth! Where in Scripture is such a ludicrous idea implied? Certainly one passage I can think of, where Jesus says there is neither marrying nor giving in marriage but all will be like the angels in heaven (Matthew 22:23-30) - well, if there is no marriage between men and women except that between the Lamb and His bride the church, then doesn’t it follow that of course women won’t continue subordinate into eternity?

With that link you have given me what I needed to respond to her and, maybe (I hope), open her eyes to how weirdo the whole masculinist thing is. I thank God for you.

Shaylin said...

What bugs me... Well, the whole thing bugs me, but what jumped out at me on this particular reading was the line, "God formed the man first and gave him responsibility and authority as the head of the human race." At a glance, I'm seeing two places in Genesis 1-3 where authority of any kind (other than God's) is said to be instituted. The first is Genesis 1:28, where God says "to them, 'Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it...'." The only other is after the Fall, in Genesis 3:16. Apart from the bare fact that the man was created first, I fail to see where the notion of pre-Fall hierarchy comes from.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

I physically shake and the adrenalin pumps so fast through my veins, it's frightening.

I know exactly what you mean. This is my reaction to.

Thank you, all of you for great comments. It is a sad thing to live in subordination with someone who one is supposed to have a loving relationship with.

Dear Anonymous,

This is the other side - that sometimes the one most dear is not a marriage partner. I have been thinking of posting on Karl Barth who was deeply in love with a woman he never married. Yet she lived with Barth and his wife, as his research assistant, for 30 years and was buried with the family.

In those days consent of both parties was needed for a divorce. Barth asked his wife to consent to a divorce in a touching letter which reveals that he did not feel that she still loved him. His wife never consented.

I hope for you that you will find your loving relationship before heaven. I too believe that a marriage can break.

believer333 said...

yes, it did sound like Mormonism.

Suzanne, I know you have been going through some changes and that it has been distressing. But I would like to encourage you that your contributions to the discussion of women in the Body of Christ has been not just helpful, but really necessary. Even when some of us cannot get mad anymore for whatever reasons, it is healing to hear your frankness.

I check you blog frequently to see what new research you have come up with. You are more than helpful. Please do not fade away.


Charis said...

I knew I remembered you pointing this out years ago and now in 2014, the article is gone...

Sue said...

Hi Charis,

I emailed you but maybe you didn't get it. I blog at BLT now. My email is suzmccarth at