I was informed about Waneta Dawn’s site, Submission Tyranny, in Church and Society, from equalitycentral.com . She clearly articulates well thought out and biblical responses to what looks like “hard core Complementarianism,” (actually “Subjectivism” as another dubbed it) and the silencing of women who are victimized emotionally, physically, spiritually and sexually by their husbands and by the church systems which shelter the abusers and encourage this doctrine and lifestyle of husband lordship over their wives.
On her site intro, Waneta writes, “My passion is to educate people about the connection between the church’s focus on wife submission and both physical and non-physical abuses.”
Before I introduce a particular post of hers, I want to encourage you that when you are looking at a person or a system, always look beyond their words to their behaviors. A person, a system, can claim or say anything, and it can sound really good, convincing, biblical and logical… but look at what they do and examine the fruit in their lives… Abusive people and abusive systems tend to be extremely manipulative, but oftentimes, covertly so and when you want to believe in a person or a system because of your own needs, it is all too easy to be deceived and to deceive yourself.
The following is an excerpt from Waneta’s insightful post, Hijacked Christianity. I think it is pertinent to the issues I am addressing here regarding Mars Hill and Driscoll’s interpretations of a few cherry picked Scriptures apart from the overall message of Jesus and of Scripture regarding women and freedom and equality…
Hijack Christianity? How absurd!” you’ll be thinking about now. “You can’t hijack a concept, a belief.”
Are you so sure? What happens when a plane is hijacked? Someone uses the threat of extreme pain, punishment, attack, or discomfort to impose his will and force another to go in a direction he or she has no desire to go. What direction is Christianity supposed to go? First, Christianity represents the gospel, the Good News of salvation from sin, of deliverance from the bondage that sin brings, of loving and serving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and second, loving our neighbor as ourselves, of developing and using our God-given gifts and talents in the service of Christ and the Church.
How, then, has Christianity been hijacked? By one subgroup of Christians forcing another subgroup into bondage, and by that very action, putting themselves and others in a related subgroup in bondage as well.
“That makes absolutely no sense,” you say.
Let me explain. If a small group of pastors, the first subgroup, decide that Ephesians 5 and other passages about male and female are establishing a hierarchy of husbands having authority over wives, in spite of other passages clearly saying there is neither male nor female, bond nor free, Jew or gentile, and that husbands are to submit to their wives through loving self-sacrifice, and teach their congregations that “head” means husbands are to have “authority-over” their wives, that first subgroup of pastors is in effect putting another subgroup, wives, into bondage, and by that action putting themselves and other men, those in the related subgroup, in bondage as well.
“How could this be?” you ask.
Galatians 3:1-3 gives us a clue. “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”
Now the context of this was circumcision, but the principle of being saved by works applies for other lawish doctrines, like the doctrine of “Wives submit, no matter what!” (“Wives, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and submit to your husbands and you shall be saved.”) Notice the total lack of a companion doctrine of “Husbands love self-sacrificially, no matter what!” This lack makes the law for the wives an effort to bring the wives “into bondage,” which is what the false brethren were doing regarding circumcision. (Galatians 2:3-4)
If Paul calls them false brethren, should we also be calling these people who are trying to bring wives into bondage false brethren? Ouch! I’m not ready to go that far, yet; I’m too versed in giving people the benefit of the doubt. After all, surely they only hold staunchly to their view because they haven’t yet had their eyes opened to the truth. Or is it because they are not being led by the Spirit of God? I mean there it is, in the Bible. It has been there for nearly 2000 years, and male pastors still do not see that husbands are to give up everything for their wives. They are to sacrifice as they would for their own bodies. What would they do for their own bodies? Very few men would beat themselves into “submission” or rant and rave at themselves for forgetting to buy the ice cream they wanted. Instead they make excuses for themselves or even return to the store to get the forgotten item.
But the proponents of this belief claim the authority-over model is God’s idea, not theirs. They are just trying to see to it that women obey God. Again, why this super-concern over women’s obedience to God? When are men going to take a look at their own lack of obedience to God? When Peter was sitting with Jesus, he asked “What about John?” And Jesus said, “What is that to you? You follow Me.” Of course, men could ask why I’m bothering to point this out. Shouldn’t I, too, just follow Jesus and leave them to follow in their own way? In this case there is one difference. They are demanding that women commit idolatry by following and serving THEM, instead of following and serving Jesus, or they claim that it is in following and serving husbands that wives are following Jesus. I am not asking that men follow me or that they do my rules or I will beat them up or punish them in some way. Many of these men are demanding to be their wife’s god. She is to keep her eyes on him and his wants and rules only, to the exclusion of God and everyone else.
This is where Christianity is hijacked. The husband makes a god of himself and demands obedience. This is where he sins and puts himself in bondage to the lusts of his own flesh. Salvation through Christ and service to Christ becomes secondary and sometimes totally out of the picture. His rule is more like “Obey My every whim, make sure I have no reason to get angry, and submit yourself to My rantings and/or beatings, and believe in the lord jesus christ, and you might be saved.” (lower case for the Lord Jesus Christ and upper case for “my” is intentional.)
With this hijacking of Christianity, the abusers think they are going to Heaven, even though they have made themselves their god, and the wives certainly are not allowed any liberty or freedom in Christ, and often deal with extreme confusion about which rules God wants them to obey. They have been put into bondage by one whose behavior closely resembles Satan’s and his minions.
…It is time husbands stop hijacking Christianity and elevate God to His rightful place, and put themselves in their places—on equal ground next to their wives so that both can focus on loving and following Jesus and on loving and submitting to one another.
And if husbands refuse to stop hijacking Christianity? Then what are the wives to do? I mean, telling a wife to disregard this favorite of doctrines and not submit is considered unbiblical, as rebelling against God, and as the evil of witchcraft. Yet, Paul says in Galatians 2:5 “To whom (the false brethren) we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.” When men teach that the “wife submit” doctrine carries more weight than the husband love self-sacrificially doctrine, and that it requires a wife to submit to all kinds of indignities or subtle put-downs at the hand of her husband, that is false doctrine. According to Paul, in cases of false doctrine, we are to give place by subjection “no, not for an hour.”
Indeed, submitting to that works-oriented doctrine steals from the awesomeness of the truth of the gospel. Brothers and sisters, “these things ought not to be.”