Anyone at Heart!

Sarah Michell Glaser glasers
Mon Feb 22 16:57:37 CST 1999

Anyone from Heart PLEASE email me or have Monte Stevens call me at home
ASAP. Thanks!

Sarah Glaser

>From  Mon Feb 22 14:20:06 1999
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Message-ID: <00dc01be5eb7$4fefe320$46b56420 at lisak>
Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 14:20:06 -0600
Reply-To: LCKanak at
To: Team Topic Debating in America <EDEBATE at LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: "Lisa C. Kanak" <LCKanak at IBM.NET>
Subject: Biblical Responsibilities of the husband/wife re: atwood/stubbs
Comments: To: john at
In-Reply-To: <00c801be5e97$09816460$1f5554d8 at COMM_SERVER.AIMNET>

This is not meant to enter into the whole of the argument being debated by
Jamara & John, merely meant to clarify a few things.

My husband and I wrote our vows -- and in them I promised to submit to
Shaun's authority as the head of our household.  However, both Shaun and I
feel (along with my folks and especially his father) promised a great deal
more to me.

It seems John doesn't have a very strong understanding (or maybe its not
understanding, but appreciation) of the self sacrifice that is demanded of
the husband.  He is to honor (care for, respect) his wife.  He is to love
his wife -- as Christ loved the church and _gave his life for it_.  Instead
he focuses on the word "submit" -- and the nasty connotation this word has
been given these days.

Before getting to the nitty gritty of the Biblical passages below, I would
like to offer this illustration of the word "submit."

A home, is in many ways like a business, as well as government.  It is a
smaller representation of other facets of our society.  In a business (or
government) you may have a CEO.  The CEO is ulitmately responsible (to the
board/stockholders) for every decision that is made by those underneath him.
In the Bibilical sense, this "CEO" would be the husband in the family.
However, the CEO doesn't do all of the work, he allows those underneath him
to "manage" different aspects of the business.  The wife, in Biblical terms
would be considered the "household manager."  Theoretically the two work
together toward common goals (getting out of debt/household chores/child
care).  The husband is supposed to take the initiative to set forth the
goals, the wife agrees to the goals and helps the husband achieve them.
This helps promote unity within the family, there is one "CEO" and one "VP"
working toward the same goals.

If the husband and wife have different goals (wife wants to get out of debt,
husband wants every electronic toy he sees), this places strain on the
marital relationship.  In this situation, the husband has abdicated his role
as caretaker (honor, respect, serve) and reverted to the position of a child
who expects his wife to take care of everything.  This is NOT the Biblical
example.  Nor is the example of a man who "lords over" his wife and family.
The Biblical example is one of careful nurturing of those he loves and
self-sacrifice for those he is charged with caring for and providing for.

Enough of the personal illustrations, on to the Biblical references and the
historical meanings from the perspectives of both Luther & Calvin, as
explained by a long list of theologians.

I believe the passage both debaters are refering to is Eph 5:22-6:9

Historically, this passage is written based upon Greek ethics as a teaching
tool (a way to make the meaning easier to understand for those it was being
written to).  At least as far back as Aristotle (4th century B.C.), Greek
ethics had addressed relationships within the household in a familiar
pattern:  husbands and wives, parents and children, masters and slaves.
Consistently, the interest was to help the male head of household learn to
govern his family and slaves.  In their treatment of such rules, Paul and
Peter transform the qustion from how husbands, fathers and masters dominate
to how they can imitate the love of Christ they know in their own lives by
nurturing those in their care. Simultaneously, as wives, children ad slaves
define their roles in terms of service to Christ, they turn from being
passive objects in a social world that devalues them and become instead
active partners with God in His plan to bring unity to a race divided by
gender, age and economics. (Knox Chamblin, et. al., 1995 -- based upon
Luther & Calvin)

Specifically in Eph. 22-32, Jesus gives live to a new community of love --
the church, His own body.  His love also defines the marriage relationship
for His people.  Paul teaches that the genders are complementary, and a man
and a woman are equal before God.  Yet in marriage the husband has
leadership.  This leadership is not absolute but gives the husband the
initiative in marriage, to which the wife responds.  Pauls understanding is
grounded in the creation order (1 Cor. 11:9,, 9:1; 1Tim 2:13), and he takes
account of the lingering effects, even among Christians of the Fall (1 Tim
2:14).  Redemption in Christ restores the intimacy men and women were
created to enjoy in marriage.(Knox Chamblin, et. al., 1995 -- based upon
Luther & Calvin)

Eph. 5:22 -- SUBMIT -- A christian wife is called to grateful acceptance of
her husbands care & leadership. (Knox Chamblin, et. al., 1995 -- based upon
Luther & Calvin)

Eph. 5:23 -- head of the wife . . . head of the church.  In other passages
on Christ's leadership in this letter, Paul speaks of the way Christ governs
the universe and the church (1:22) and serves as the source of the body's
health and growth to maturity (4:14-16) (Knox Chamblin, et. al., 1995 --
based upon Luther & Calvin)

Eph. 5:25 -- Husbands, love.  The emphasis in the passage is NOT the
husbands authority to govern, but his responsibility to love. (Knox
Chamblin, et. al., 1995 -- based upon Luther & Calvin)

...just as Christ . . . loved the church and gave himself for her.  Nowhere
in the New Testament is Christ's self-sacrificing love applied more directly
to a specific relationship as a pattern to be emulated.  Husbands are called
to adapt their lives to their wife's needs and to provide for their growth
and development. (Knox Chamblin, et. al., 1995 -- based upon Luther &

A supporting passage for this interpretation can be found in 1 Peter 3:7

"Husbands, likewise, dwell with them in understanding, giving honor to the
wife as to the weaker vessel, and being heirs together of the grace of life,
that your prayers may not be hindered."

"Weaker" refers to physical strength, not to the moral, spiritual or mental
ability of the wife.  The discrepancy in physical strength provides one
reason for the special consideration the husband is to show his wife.
Fellowship in the faith adds another reason for showing respect.  Here Peter
assumes that both husband and wife in this situation are Christians.  Women
enjoy full spiritual equality with men.  Failure to observe God's will for
the marriage relationship can disrupt our spiritual relationship with God.
The importance of healthy fmaily relationships is apparent from the
typological comparison of Christ and church with husband and ife, and by the
persistent New Testament characterization of the church as the family of
God. (Knox Chamblin, et. al., 1995 -- based upon Luther & Calvin)

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