A blog for Christian men "going their own way."

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Feminist Stupidity from Boundless Readers

Over at Boundless, Adam (I don't know if he is Puritan Calvinist or not) started a lively discussion when he stated the following:
"I would say that, if husband or the wife has to demand sex or rape their spouse, their spouse has sinned, even before they themselves have sinned. Paul is very clear that sexual relations are a marital debt that is owed between both the man and the woman. This not just true if a man wants sexual relations with his wife. The same thing is also true in reverse. If the woman has to demand sex or rape her husband, there is already sin as well. The scriptures say in 1 Corinthians 7:2, 5 that this must be the case because of sexual immorality. If it is not, then we run the risk of driving our spouse into sexual temptation, because we are denying them something that is rightfully theirs."
Adam then clarified what his views were on marital rape:
"Paul's command does not excuse things like rape of a spouse. That is sin also [and a far greater sin]. However, I would say that there is already problems if it has to get to that point."
And furthermore, he said:

"Read what I said in my clarification post. I am not saying that forcing it out of someone is right. What I am saying is that sin is already present if it comes to that point. Granted, the person who forces it out of the other person is committing the much more grevious sin, but, in such a situation, there were clearly other problems that lead up to the rape.

The point is that, if marriage is lived according to the scriptures, it should never come to this point. God set up the man and the woman owing each other the marital debt for a reason, and that is so that this would never happen. There will be times when you will want sexual relations, and your wife will not feel like it. However, the beauty of the Biblical teaching is that, sooner or later, your wife is going to want sexual relations when you don't feel like it. Hence, it all evens out, and it prevents sexual debauchery in such situations."
Simple enough to understand. Rape is wrong, period. It is a heinous sin. But are women entirely innocent when it happens? Not necessarily. One has to take responsibility for provoking another person to sin just as much the one who sinned. After all, if depriving a spouse of sex never caused anyone to sin, then why did Paul command people to not deprive their spouse?!

Christina understood what Adam was saying. However, many of the replies to Adam were certifiably numb-skulled. Most of them accused Adam of "justifying" rape. One of the most inane comments comes from a man:
"Yes. I saw where you indicated where a man is still responsible for his sin. I will agree with that, but you still justify the act of RAPE with the rest of your comment. You are writing that if she does not submit it is ok to rape her."
Erm, if Adam says rape is a sin, then how is he saying it is okay to rape anyone? The male gynocentrist then goes on to say this:
"In my opinion a sexual assault is the worst thing that another person can do to another. Check out Men Can Stop Rape (www.mencanstoprape.org), The White Ribbon Campaign (www.whiteribbon.ca), and One in Four (http://www.oneinfourusa.org/) for some information on ending sexual assault from a male's perspective. Since most sexual assaults are perpetrated by men we as men have the power to challenge stereotypes and other people into thinking and behaving differently."
Sorry, but much of the activism targeted against rape is underwritten by feminists with a misandrist agenda. The "one in four" slogan has been disputed. The saying, "Men can stop rape" is stupid. It makes no more sense than the statement, "Women can stop child abuse" (even though most acts of child abuse are indeed committed by women). Just because you are a mother doesn't mean your are culpable for what every other parent does. The same principle applies to men. Implicit in the statement "men can stop rape" is the misandrist suggestion that men are collectively responsible for the actions of a few bad men. I say a better slogan is this: "Feminists can stop whining."

Anyway, the posters who piled on Adam needed to look up the word "justify." But that is not the only stupid nonsense to be uttered by Adam's critics. Here are some other comments:
"Please do not contribute to the domestic violence lie that it is 'the woman's fault.'"
So should we contribute to the feminist lie that it is the "man's fault"?! Some folks need to look up what DV researchers Murray Strauss and Donald Dutton have to say about the matter.
"I am so dismayed I can't even think straight... A woman DOES NOT instigate abuse or rape. PERIOD. I'm just glad I'm not your wife."
I'm glad you are not my wife, either, lady. A woman never instigates anything? Ever? Period? They are entirely innocent 100% of the time and contribute nothing to the husband's actions? But, hey, this female reader admits, "I am so dismayed I can't even think straight." That's the problem, isn't it?

Boundless staff writer, Heather Koerner, then weighs in with a post about the matter. Here is what she has to say:
"What about if the wife is withholding sexual relations from her husband? Is that sin? Yes, it is. As Paul tells us, I should fulfill my marital duty to my husband. I should be concerned for his well-being. I should not be self-seeking. But can my sin 'cause' his sin?"

"
We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. But when we start to apply causation to sin, we aren't just on a slippery slope, we're plunging over a cliff. The circle of sin is unending. Just as I could point to my children's behavior as the spark to my sin, they could then point to my grumpiness at breakfast, to which I could point to them keeping me up at night, to which ... ad nauseum. As 1 Corinthians notes, love does not keep a record of wrongs."
Well, Heather only gets it partly right. If I sin, then yes, I don't need to be pointing to how others made me do it. I still had a choice to resist sin. I need to take my lumps and not play the victim card. However, it doesn't take away from the guilt of those who contributed to my sin (Mark 9:42). What ticks me off about Heather's comment and about Boundless.org is that if the roles were reversed--if the woman was caught up in sexual sin--the man would probably be blamed. I infer this from what Boundless has published before. It's not Biblical Christianity. It's neo-traditionalist woman-firsterism.

But wait there's more. One reader, Bek, said the following about 1 Cor. 7:1-7:
"The verse says that the wife's body belongs to the husband, but the husband's body also belongs to the wife. Immediately, this shows marital rape to be against whatever Paul was trying to say. If her body belongs to him you could argue that he could have sex with her anytime he wanted, but since his belongs to her also, she could chose that he doesn't have sex with her anytime she doesn't want him to. I think it's probably intended to be more like the parts of a body stuff...that both partners need to properly consider the other's needs (in this case, physical desire) and work together for the good of the 'body', in this case, the marital unit of man and wife together." (emphasis mine, Anakin)
Ok, so you having power over your husband's body means you can refuse sex? But, uh, the Apostle Paul goes on to say, "Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time." So, sorry, but you and your friends have failed, my dear.

Anyway, I have proffered my two cents worth at Boundless. You can read it at this link. One of the things I said was this:
"Rape is a terrible sin. Many times women are not at fault and have indeed done nothing to bring about their misfortune. But when a woman knows that she was being a selfish jerk for refusing sex to her husband, then she has to live with the fallout of her stupid choices. Sin often has earthly consequences and no amount of Politically Correct, Oprahfied spin will change that. We are not called to ape the feministic sentiments of our secular culture. We are called to stand on the truth of the Bible."
In sum, this whole affair underscores how the gynocentrism of the broader culture has crept into our faith communities. Men take note.

64 comments:

Amir Larijani said...

I'd say that people would do well to gain an understanding of contributory negligence. That would imply that--while we CANNOT excuse the behavior of the primary act, we do acknowledge the role of the victim in contributing to the situation.

This would allow us to acknowledge the guilt of both parties, even as we understand that guilt is not a 50/50 matter.

A larger issue, however, is what constitutes "marital rape"?

After all, if--by theological definition--the husband's (wife's) body belongs to the wife (husband), is there a sexual violation that occurs when one helps himself (herself) to the body of his (her) wife (husband)?

I'm not asking this to start a fight or anything; I'm just raising the question, because--whether we consider it pleasant or not--there is at least some Biblical basis that requires a more in-depth examination of the matter.

Elusive Wapiti said...

"But are women entirely innocent when [rape] happens? Not necessarily"

This is a hard concept for many women, and some men, to wrap their heads around.

Yes a man who rapes a woman is responsible for his crime. But that responsibility does not remove a woman's actions from the chain of events. She may share some of the responsibility for the outcome of that event chain even when that man bears full responsibility for his actions.

I like to view responsibility as a non-zero sum function. Just because a man is responsible 100% for a rape doesn't mean that the woman doesn't herself share some responsibility as well. It isn't 'blaming the victim', because a true 'victim' doesn't contribute to the sequence of events.

"Implicit in the statement "men can stop rape" is the misandrist suggestion that men are collectively responsible for the actions of a few bad men."

Or you can go further and state that "women can stop false rape accusations". That statement holds women as a group accountable for the actions of their sisters.

What's good for the gander is good for the goose in this case.

One time I was debating a female friend of mine about DV, and how women need to be careful about initiating mutual combat (as they do about 3/4 of the time) because their initiation of DV may result in their becoming seriously hurt if their larger stronger partner hits them back.

Does the fact that they were provoked somehow justify their partner's DV? No, each person is responsible for what they do and for their loss of emotional control. Yet a woman is responsible for her instigation of a DV episode, and should held to account as such.

Elusive Wapiti said...

PS if Boundless is indicative of the level of penetration of feminist attitudes in the psyches of so-called Christian women, the Church and Believing men are worse off than I thought.

Jesse said...

I too thought Adam did a good job--an outstanding job, in my opinion--in stating what is really a fundamental truth. (Same goes to you Anakin, thanx for the post.) That is, in any situation, none involved are 100% innocent in the greater scheme of things. They might be innocent in one particular event along the line of progression. But to claim total, 100% innocence even wrt all contributing causes, and that any denial of that is tantamount to an attempt to shift the entirety of the blame from one party to the other? That's ridiculous. Are there really any out there who would like to stand up and claim to be completely, totally, utterly without sin in even one area of their lives? Hope not.

The knee-jerk reaction of so many Boundless readers is just embarrassing. That's the best I can come up with to describe it right now. One would sure hope for more critical thinking and introspection from professing Christians, and the pouncing upon Adam is clearly emotion-based and doesn't reflect well on the faith. Let's just hope that doesn't reflect main-line contemporary Christian thought, though I fear it does more than I want to know.

After all, if--by theological definition--the husband's (wife's) body belongs to the wife (husband), is there a sexual violation that occurs when one helps himself (herself) to the body of his (her) wife (husband)?

Great question. And one that could get you stoned in the wrong forums of discussion. It does bring up some legitimate issues though. Exactly how broadly can this here concept of "marital rape" be defined?

if Boundless is indicative of the level of penetration of feminist attitudes in the psyches of so-called Christian women, the Church and Believing men are worse off than I thought.

Same here. Thankfully many of the Christian women I associate with don't seem to exude this sort of disconnection from reason and logical thought. But maybe if I knew them better I'd be alarmed...

singlextianman said...

As a way of trying to get people to "think" about this who cannot hear what they are saying, perhaps one could say: Suppose a Christian wife deliberately refuses intimacy with her husband for an extended period of time - and he winds up falling into porn or into an emotional affair - would "she" bear some responsibility before God for failing to fullfill her part to meet her husband's awakened physical needs? If the answer is "yes' than you are part of the way to getting them to realize that marriage is for two, not for one (just the lady). If the answer is "no" than they reveal with their words that they do not understand marriage. If their answer is that they do understand the difference between "dormant" and "awakened" needs, then they are spiritually ignorant to the point that they can be ignored as sources of counsel.

Learner said...

I thought Adam made a very important point toward the end of the comments as well when he addressed considering your part in a situation. Not considering your part in what happens doesn't help you.

Last year after I had a bad experience with a date (not rape, thank God, but bad enough) I went to see a Christian counselor who was a woman. It was helpful but I kept getting stuck on what I saw as my part in what happened (such as being alone in his house with him, kissing him). She just kept saying "it wasn't your fault" when I brought these things up and wanted to talk about them. It wasn't until I went to see the pastoral counselor at my church (who is a man) who said "you made some bad choices, lets talk about what you can learn from that" that I was able to get "un-stuck". Considering your part in a chain of events does not absolve the other person of their sin or justify them. It is not blaming the victim, it is helping the "victim" (gosh I hate that word) to be honest with themselves which is the only way you are going to heal. That's my opinion anyway.

singlextianman said...

Super oops! I meant of course to say "...if they _do not_ understand the difference between dormant and awakened.."

Christina said...

The question about marital rape, yeah I think it is still a valid term -

A man (or woman) who wants sex and their partner doesn't want it THAT badly could lead to some very physically damaging things that a husband (or wife) should not want to inflict on "their own bodies" (paraphrasing of the Ephesians verses).

I think it would be much wiser to stop and address the issue of why the spouse is saying no. If its simply a power struggle, counseling might be necessary.

If its something else, it would be good for the party that wants it to be understanding of the party that doesn't. Throwing their needs under the bus simply to satisfy your own needs is not good, especially in marriage.

What pisses me off about the boundless comments is this prevalent belief that we live in a vacuum. I guess its one of the myriad problems with embracing so fully without balance the mindset of a personal relationship with Christ.

Yes, its personal, but it also involves community.

Our actions are going to have an affect on others. That's why there's all these rules in the Old Testament. That's why Jesus told us to love God and then others. If we were to ALL do what was right and treat eachother right, a lot of these problems wouldn't exist - but then, that's a perfect world. And currently does not exist.

We all mess up, but to deny that our actions have consequences is BS. No, you are not GUILTY for the consequences. My SON is not MY SIN. My sin was having sex outside of marriage. My son is simply a consequence of that and should not be condemned because of the action that was a sin. But that doesn't change the fact that it affects the people around me.

No, its not right that my mother lets her pride keep my pregnancy away from her friends. I'm not guilty of that, but it is a consequence of something I am guilty of.

I keep thinking of the debate I got in with Amir over teachers and students in sexual affairs. Yes, the teacher is guilty. But the student isn't without some guilt in it either - from boys who willfully seduce their teachers (YES, I knew him personally and KNOW he did it on purpose and was very proud of the fact) to girls who dress like sluts to class and flirt with their teachers to get better grades.

Each one is responsible for his/her action. But we shouldn't completely ignore the fact that we live and act in a relational way with the world we live in.

Anonymous said...

Why the pairing of marital rape with frequency of intercourse? Do you have any proof that this is really a motive? Generally speaking, men convicted of rape had access to sex anyways.

Christina said...

Anonymous,

What you and many of the other people at Boundless have forgotten is that this ENTIRE conversation spawned around a very specific sentence uttered by one commenter who wasn't even talking about rape.

She was writing off the idea that the woman's body belongs to her husband.

When I made the comment that that was scriptural, it spawned an entire debate about MARITAL rape.

And then somehow devolved into general rape.

Please keep the debate in the boundaries that we have defined by our terms - we are talking about a husband and wife and rape within marriage. That is it.

******************************

When it comes to husbands raping wives as a form of "control", I then have to wonder if God also gave this command to wives (their half of the responsibility) to protect them? When you give in to demanded sex when your husband is about to rape you, the damage is not as much.

I say this because most of these commands were given in a world of arranged marriages. You didn't necessarily have control over who you were marrying. A man was still commanded to love his wife, but the woman was commanded to submit to him. I wonder if she were to submit under such circumstances if it would disinterest the man in rape because he's no longer exerting "control" over the woman...she's LETTING him exert control.

Anyway, still, my issue is with the blatant refusal to accept that verse simply because they have the perception that it "justifies" something it doesn't.

Anonymous said...

But that is what I'm talking about, that there's this idea that marital rape happens because the woman was withholding sex from the husband. I think that's a myth. Marital rape happens for the same reasons as domestic violence, and that is power and control.

Those verses in Corinthians about the wive's body belonging to the husband and vice versa are about not leaving each other open to the sin of adultery. It's got nothing to do with the sin of rape. When a woman gets raped by her husband, there's more going on than just withholding sex, and even then, perhaps she has reason to.

Adam T. said...

Great points all round. 'Contributory negligence' is an important concept.

One thing:

if Boundless is indicative of the level of penetration of feminist attitudes in the psyches of so-called Christian women, the Church and Believing men are worse off than I thought.

I really, really think that the people who comment on Boundless are not representative of the people who actually read Boundless. I've been reading Boundless since it started, and I think their commenters on the whole tend to be much less conservative than the average reader.

Anonymous said...

Boundless commenters, with some exceptions, are a bunch of hysterical feminist morons, who see women like little delicate flowers in need of protection from big, bad men. They must have all taken wymyns studies at college. No wonder, many of those girls complain they can't find a husband. Which man in his right mind would want to marry them?

wombatty said...

Amir wrote:

I'd say that people would do well to gain an understanding of contributory negligence. That would imply that--while we CANNOT excuse the behavior of the primary act, we do acknowledge the role of the victim in contributing to the situation.

This is an idea that seems sadly lacking in much of the Church. Many (Motte Brown, Maken, Mohler, Wilson, etc.) are loath to hold women responsible for their behavior or their contributions to a bad relationship/marriage. This is doubly sad because Christianity is ‘big’ on personal responsibility. I can’t help but recall Anakin’s humorous definition of women as ‘angelic, asexual beings…’.

Thankfully, there are others who have no problem at all with holding women responsible for their actions. A recent Townhallcolumn by Karin Agness, Are Hookups Killing College Romance?. The subject is the changing face of Valentine’s Day on college campuses due to the ‘hook-up’ culture that predominates in that environment.

I witnessed this firsthand when I walked past our famous frozen yogurt place at the University of Virginia -- Arch's -- on Valentine's Day one year when the holiday fell on a weekday.

[…]

I went inside and overheard more than one young woman complaining about some guy and the lack of dating on campus. They put the blame on the guys, apparently oblivious to their likely complicity in the current hookup arrangements. Since Valentine's Day fell on a Saturday this year, these same conversations were likely happening in bars instead of dessert places. These women were having a girls' night at Arch's, and certainly those can be a lot of fun. Yet, many of those women are likely the same women who are hooking up with guys and calling it no big deal the next day. In Unhooked, Stepp cites studies showing that almost 80 percent of undergraduates had hooked up.

[…]

By participating in the hookup culture, women continue to perpetuate it, and this discourages dating.


Now the likes of Motte Brown would be quick to put most, if not all, of the blame on the men involved. No doubt these poor, hapless women were ‘led down the path’ to hooking up – apparently having no mind or will of their own. But that just serves to make the point.

Here is a young woman doing what many men (and women) in the church don’t have the onions to do: calling on women to take responsibility for their lives and be honest about their contributions to whatever mess they find themselves in. If only more in the Church could be as…responsible.

Anonymous said...

But the women who read Boundless aren't into "hook-ups". They represent the milk that's not being bought because other milk's available for free. Why punish the victim?

wombatty said...

Anon wrote:

ut the women who read Boundless aren't into "hook-ups". They represent the milk that's not being bought because other milk's available for free. Why punish the victim?

I wasn't lumping Boundless readers in with the college girls written of in the column. I was simply pointing out how refreshing it is to read someone who has no reservations about holding women responsible for their behavior instead of blaming nearly everything on men.

From Andrea Yates (post-partem depression) to Mary Winkler (cold-blooded murder) to the scores of predatory female teachers, most of whom are let off with a lap on the wrist.

Our culture is loath to hold women to account. Sadly, this has crept into the church where we see people like Doug Wilson assuming all the blame for marital problems lies with the husband (much like feminists. by the way. Listen to Glenn Sacks interview feminist tool Dr. Hugo Schwyzer). Then there are those at Boundless like Motte Brown who blame guys for 'leading women down the path to fornication'. No doubt this happens, but women can be just as guilty as men on this count.

The Book Proverbs repeatedly warns men of sexually predatory women and yet Brown et al. seem to want to forget that. Now you might say 'Hey, those passages aren't speaking of 'believing women', so you can't apply them to Christian women'. Perhaps, but why, then, do the likes of Brown have no hesitation saddling Christian 'men' with the presumption of such behavior?

Again, my only point in citing that column was to praise someone - a woman, no less - who has the spine to expect women to be honest about their own contributions to whatever predicaments they find themselves in. I wasn't implying that Christian women are into the 'hookup culture

catwoman said...

Wombatty,

You list off Boundless authors that, in your opinion, are "loath to hold women accountable for their actions", when there are plenty of challenging articles written usually by the female editorial staff that are directed at female readers. Should each author, male or female, have an equal number of articles directed at both males and females? Besides, most of the stuff on Boundless directed at "skankiness" has a unisex theme to it.

wombatty said...

catwoman:

First, Boundless was just one example I gave. Secondly, I did SPECIFY Motte Brown in particular. I am not saying this is a problem with Boundless in general - hence the specificity.

Brown's approach - at least at times - seems at odds with such articles as you cite. I guess I am wondering where the article by someone else at Boundless rebutting Brown's silly idea that if a woman ends up pregnant - a man must have 'led her down the path to fornication' - as though a woman is incapable of treading that path of her own volition. Brown has also (at Boundless) approvingly cited Doug Wilson's fatuous assumption that all blame for marital problems lies with men. I don't remember seeing anyone at Boundless take issue with that (except in the comments).

The problem is that society in general is loath to hold women accoutable and this mentality seems to be infecting the church - as opposed to the churching influencing the world. For instance, consider the following from Emmerson Eggerichs' excellent book Love & Respect:

What I see happening in some marriages is that the wife believes - or appears to believe - that she does not sin. In many other marriages the only sin that a wife will readily admit to is her negative reaction to her husbands failure to be loving or for losing patience with the children. beyond these areas, women do not see themselves as sinning, even though they readily admit bad habits and wrong attitudes. They write these off to chemical imbalance, hormonal problems, or dysfunction due to family of origin.

[...]

...it's easy for a wife to discount or disparage a husband's suggestion that she has some problem that need's correcting. Even if he is gently and diplomatic in suggesting that she needs to make a correction to avoid hurting herself or others, he is quickly silenced. She is offended, wonded, and angered by his assessment. He is accused of being without understanding and compassion. He has no right to speak. And he will often wind up being shown contempt.
When I speak on this topic at a Love and Respect Conference, I often get feedback, not all of it positive.


At best, this suggests that teaching in church on personal responsibility/accountability isn't being directed at women. At worst (e.g. Doug Wilson, Maken, etc.) women are being all but explicitly excluded from such notions. Either way - it's neither good nor biblical.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Niceguy, I will concede that you have a small point. However it is quite small hardly worth making a fuss over. The larger problems lie in the fact that we are speaking of marriage. Marriage is to be about giving of a free will by both spouses. When an act is demanded it may no longer be free will if one yields, especially under the threat that one will get what is wanted one way or another. This demand alone changes the relationship to one of control and power. Most Christian husbands are wise enough to not want to create an atmosphere of alienation. Any professional counselor can explain to you that rape is not about sex, but a warped sense of overpowering another. This attitude should never be excused in a husband, especially when it comes to sexual gratification. To suggest that the wife is asking for it, even daring it, when she resists giving what is demanded, does indeed give a small excuse to the husband in some people’s minds.

A woman who has an abusive husband knows well about that. The wife of an abusive husband usually gives in. But for her it is still rape.

When the husband comes with the intent of wanting to please the wife (not by trying to arouse her sexually in order to get his desire) by means of things that actually DO please her, then he has placed himself in a position to eventually becoming the recipient of her desire to please him also.

It is not that difficult to find contributory negligence in pretty much anything that one has to fight to get. The important words being “fight to get”. If soandso had just done what was wanted, then no violence would have been needed. Who in their right mind would want to befriend or worse yet live with a person (of either gender) of that mindset.

catwoman said...

"First, Boundless was just one example I gave....Secondly, I did SPECIFY Motte Brown in particular. I am not saying this is a problem with Boundless in general - hence the specificity...Brown's approach - at least at times - seems at odds with such articles as you cite. I guess I am wondering where the article by someone else at Boundless rebutting Brown's silly idea that if a woman ends up pregnant - a man must have 'led her down the path to fornication' - as though a woman is incapable of treading that path of her own volition."

This is what Candice Watters said to a young woman who had sex with her non-Christian boyfriend in the 03/17/08 Q&A on "Dating Dilemmas":

"You must start by going to the foot of the cross, acknowledging your sin and the way you "fooled" yourself, and asking for Christ's forgiveness."

And the are plenty of other instances where female writers address female readers along the same lines of taking responsibility for their sexuality, not tempting guys with immodest attire, etc. There may be somewhat more articles of men addressing men in this way, but that goes with the territory for any Christian publication that affirms traditional teachings, wives be submissive, husbands as heads of households, etc.

"The problem is that society in general is loath to hold women accoutable and this mentality seems to be infecting the church - as opposed to the churching influencing the world."

Again, you're dwelling on worst case scenarios, and two can play at that, where gender comparison is concerned. There's plenty of stigmatization of women who are skanky, bitchy, frigid, etc. And rightly so. Few would argue, inside or outside the church, that sin isn't an equal opportunity enterprise.

Oh, and about that Eggerich piece that you keep quoting over and over...here's something else that he wrote in Love and Respect:

"First, you must get to the place where you can say, 'My response to my spouse is my responsibility.' In my own marriage, Sarah doesn't cause me to be the way I am; she reveals the way I am."

wombatty said...

Catwoman:

As for your citation of Watters. good for her - I'm glad to see it. It would still be nice to see a direct engagement/rebuttal of Brown. This seems more than just a superficial disagreement; women are responsible for their own behavior (as in your citation of Eggerichs) or they are 'led down the path' into sin. The latter notion necessarily diminshes the former. In any case, thanks for pointing that out (I don't read Boundless every day).

In pointing out that woman/wives should be held accountable for their behavior, I am not seeking to exonerate men for their own behavior. Contrary to what you seem to imply, I have no qualms at all with the quote from Love and Respect you cited. Eggerichs promotes such responsibility on the part of both spouses, not just the husband. One of the themes of his book is that while men are consistently reminded of their duty to 'love their wife as Christ loved the church', women are seldom reminded of their responsiblity to 'respect their husbands'. He wrote the book, in part, to address this deficiency.

Reading the quote you cited, I have difficulty imagining the likes of Wilson & Brown being willing to apply it to women/wives. They seem more inclined to blame the woman's behavior on the man.

wombatty said...

Anon wrote:

When an act is demanded it may no longer be free will if one yields, especially under the threat that one will get what is wanted one way or another. This demand alone changes the relationship to one of control and power. Most Christian husbands are wise enough to not want to create an atmosphere of alienation. Any professional counselor can explain to you that rape is not about sex, but a warped sense of overpowering another. This attitude should never be excused in a husband, especially when it comes to sexual gratification.


Fair points all, but what of the warped sense of power some women bask in from denying their husbands something he needs and has promised to seek only from her?

Rape is certainly about control and power, but so can a woman's persistently denying her husband sex. Similar to the point you made, this attitude should never be excused on the part of a wife.

I'm not saying persistent denial of sex is a violent violation of one's person (as rape is); but it is a violation of marital vows, biblical duty and, one could argue, a passive/agressive violation of one's person.

To many people seem eager to insist that the notion of 'duty' is not compatitble with sex, and thus a wife need only consent to sex when she 'feels' like it (how often could a husband refuse his duty to, say, provide for his family, just because he didn't 'feel' like it). To paraphrase you, this does indeed give a small excuse to the wife in some people’s minds.

Dennis Prager has dealt with this issue several times - in columns and on the radio - only to be accused (by liberals) of advocating marital rape. His columns are here and here and the radio show where he confronted two liberal bloggers (one male, the other female) who accused him of advocating marital rape is here (.mp3 link)

catwoman said...

"This seems more than just a superficial disagreement; women are responsible for their own behavior (as in your citation of Eggerichs) or they are 'led down the path' into sin. The latter notion necessarily diminshes the former."

Well, since women are supposed to render themselves to being led by their husbands, then it stands to reason that the husband should share in the responsibility as to where she goes (with degrees of culpability, of course). But you will never see complementarians EVER talking about a woman leading a man down the path to sin. God didn't buy that from Adam, and they'll brook none of that, either.

And I disagree with the point that "women are **seldom** reminded of their responsiblity to 'respect their husbands'", at least as far as conservative evangelical churches go. It's there, but probably not as loud, as long and as often as what goes out to the men, due to greater responsibility that goes along with being the recipient of wifely submission and the power that goes along with the role of leader.

"Reading the quote you cited, I have difficulty imagining the likes of Wilson & Brown being willing to apply it to women/wives."

Wilson and Brown seem to be leaving it up to the women on their teams to hit that message home -- fair enough. Doug Wilson's wife Nancy has writing for women often deal with submission, offering here a practical example:

"When you are submitting to your husband, you are submitting to God. You can be thinking something like this: “Lord, I don’t want to move to Texas. This is not my idea. But you have told me to submit to my husband in this, so I am obeying You by submitting to Him. Even if my husband is making a wrong decision, I realize that I am not making a wrong decision by following him in this. Please protect me as I do this. Give me faith to believe You are with me in this. Please honor my obedience to You and bless me as I do this thing.”

Elsewhere she writes: "In these verses, the duty is given to the wives to see that they are doing this submission/reverence thing. It is not given to the husband to see that the wife is being submissive."

See how nicely Jack 'n Jill tag team ministry works?

wombatty said...

Catwoman wrote:

But you will never see complementarians EVER talking about a woman leading a man down the path to sin. God didn't buy that from Adam, and they'll brook none of that, either.


I agree, to a point. God rebuked Adam for 'listening' to his wife and the verses in Proverbs repeatedly warn men to resist being led into sexual sin by women.

It seems that the message is that men must be very wary of following a woman's lead - since he is called to be the leader.

You'll note, also, that God didn't buy Eve's blameshifting either, nor did he saddle Adam with any part of her sin or rebuke Adam for leading her into sin; He held her responsible for it.

See how nicely Jack 'n Jill tag team ministry works?

I imagine it would work even better if the messages from Jake 'n Jill were consistent...

catwoman said...

"God rebuked Adam for 'listening' to his wife and the verses in Proverbs repeatedly warn men to resist being led into sexual sin by women.

Being tempted and being led are two different things.

As far as "jack n jill" consistency is concerned, this is what Doug Wilson writes (Her Hand in Marriage, pp. 12-13):

"Her submission to her husband protects her from having to submit to other men. Prior to marriage, her submission to her father protects her from having to submit to other men. There is no overall biblical requirement that women be submissive to men in general. The biblical pattern is that a wife should respond to the initiative and leadership of her husband, and only to him. She is prepared and trained for this in her submission to her father"

wombatty said...

Catwoman wrote:

Being tempted and being led are two different things.


I don't think I implied any differently. Eve followed the Serpant's lead, then Adam followed Eve's lead and it all led to disaster. Both were held accountable for succumbing to their repective temptations. As Leader, however, Adam's sin was far more devastating.

Men are counseled against 'letting a woman lead them down the path' to sexual sin - not simply against being tempted to do so.

As far as "jack n jill" consistency is concerned, this is what Doug Wilson writes (Her Hand in Marriage, pp. 12-13):

"Her submission to her husband protects her from having to submit to other men. Prior to marriage, her submission to her father protects her from having to submit to other men. There is no overall biblical requirement that women be submissive to men in general. The biblical pattern is that a wife should respond to the initiative and leadership of her husband, and only to him. She is prepared and trained for this in her submission to her father"


And that justifies Wilson's default presumption of 'husbandly guilt' in all marital problems how?

My point about inconsistency is that it is inconsistent for 'Jill' to speak as though women are responsible for their behavior while 'Jack' is teaching the contrary.

catwoman said...

"My point about inconsistency is that it is inconsistent for 'Jill' to speak as though women are responsible for their behavior while 'Jack' is teaching the contrary."

Wilson writes: "A woman can and should recognize her sin before the Lord; her husband's responsibility should in no way lessen her personal and individual responsibility."

wombatty said...

Wilson writes: "A woman can and should recognize her sin before the Lord; her husband's responsibility should in no way lessen her personal and individual responsibility."

Her husband's responsibility for what, exactly? Her sin? Her behavior? The consequences of said sin or behavior? If she has 'personal and individual responsibility' for her behavior then what 'responsibility' does that leave for the husband; public responsiblity?

If the husband is responsible for the consequences of her sin, then does he have the authority to discipline her in some way?

For instance, if she goes shopping and steals a pair of shoes, is he to be held responsible for it? Does (or should) he serve the sentence (community service, jail, etc.) and suffer the black-mark on his record? Is he to suffer the public aprobation in church for her misdeed? If so, should he be able to 'ground' her or revoke her access to the car, the checkbook as a means of discipline/'aversion therapy'? It seems that Wilson's paradigm is that husbands are to be a parent to their wife as opposed to their spouse.

How many women in the church would assent to such rules? Few, I imagine (which, of course, has no bearing on the truth of the matter).

I don't ask these questions flippantly - I'm simply wondering how Wilson's words would be practically applied in the real world - or at least in the environment of the church. No doubt Wilson has written on the topic - I would interested in his suggestions.

catwoman said...

I would also be interested in what Wilson has to say, as far as "real life" application. And I don't cite Wilson because I'm a big fan of his, but to challenge your contention that he (and his team, which includes his wife) doesn't hold women accountable for their own sins.

I'm doing a bit of mindreading with Wilson here (thus, not necessarily agreeing with him), but bear with me...
...what he seems to be saying is that the even if the husband is responsible for the wife's sin, that doesn't make her any less responsible. So it doesn't sound like there's any part of it that she's not responsible for because it's "left for her husband", as you ask.

As for authority to disclipline, the scriptures don't say anything about a husband disciplining or punishing his wife. Only "leading".

wombatty said...

And I don't cite Wilson because I'm a big fan of his, but to challenge your contention that he (and his team, which includes his wife) doesn't hold women accountable for their own sins.

It seems to me if women are accountable for their sins, then their husbands aren't.

I wonder, where does this 'extra responsibility' for a woman's sin rest when she is, say 27, unmarried and living alone or with a room-mate?

Does it simply 'float out there in the ether' or something?

Does is suddenly materialize upon taking vows?

Is her father responsible? What if he has passed away? Her pastor and elders?

Does this mean a woman's sin 'weighs' more than a man's?

If not, using Wilson's logic (i.e. that since a wife is under her husband's authority, he assumes responsibility for her sin) are the pastor and elders of the couples' church responsible, in the same way, for the husbands sin as he is under their authority?

I'm not asking you these questions, I'm just thinking aloud. It just seems to me that there is some fallacious, illogical thinking going on here. It's certainly no more logical - or scriptural, for that matter - than Wilson's default presumption of 'husbandly guilt' for all marital problems.

...what he seems to be saying is that the even if the husband is responsible for the wife's sin, that doesn't make her any less responsible. So it doesn't sound like there's any part of it that she's not responsible for because it's "left for her husband", as you ask.

As for authority to discipline, the scriptures don't say anything about a husband disciplining or punishing his wife. Only "leading".


Neither do the scriptures say anything about a husband being responsible for his wife's sin.

catwoman said...

"This seems more than just a superficial disagreement; women are responsible for their own behavior... or they are 'led down the path' into sin. The latter notion necessarily diminshes the former."

"It seems to me if women are accountable for their sins, then their husbands aren't."

Why must the husband's responsibility necessarily diminish the wife's when it comes to her behavior? You would agree that an employer being responsible for the mistakes of an employee makes that employee no less responsible for what they do, would you not?

wombatty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wombatty said...

Catwoman wrote:

Why must the husband's responsibility necessarily diminish the wife's when it comes to her behavior?


If a woman has '50 pounds of sin' and her husband takes on part of that 'load', does it not follow that she now has something less than '50 pounds of sin' on her shoulders?

Catwoman wrote:

You would agree that an employer being responsible for the mistakes of an employee makes that employee no less responsible for what they do, would you not?


Yes, but there is a crucial difference: the employer/boss has the authority and responsibility to discipline his employee for his bad behavior and mistakes and if such behavior continues, to demote or fire the employee. In short, the employer/boss has the right to impose consequences on the misbehaving employee - a right you deny husbands.

This is because responsibilities always come with the concomitant rights necessary to properly exercise those responsibiities.

If you deny a husbands right to discipline his wife (at least short of 'firing' her), how can you claim he has the responsiblity for her behavior? These rights and responsibilities are the two sides of the same coin.

If an employer/boss is prohibited from disciplining a wayward employee, what is he supposed to do when the employee refuses to shape-up? Sure he can chew the employee out, but the employee knows that his boss doesn't have the authority to discipline him, so he has nothing to fear.

All logic aside, the primary consideration is scripture - if it's not found in the Bible, it's a moot point. I remind you, again, that nowhere is a man said to be responsible for his wife's sin. If a man is not accountable for the sins of his fathers, why those of his wife? Where is this in scripture?

catwoman said...

"Yes, but there is a crucial difference: the employer/boss has the authority and responsibility to discipline his employee for his bad behavior and mistakes and if such behavior continues, to demote or fire the employee."

What you're describing here is a matter of degree. And it's the difference between domination and influence.

Employers have the power to impose certain consequences and even terminate employees, but they are sparing (at least initially) in how they exercise that power because it's considered better to use influence rather than domination or coercion. Same thing in marriage, spouses can influence each other, but the husband has been given an added dimension of influence by virtue of the fact that Bible tells women to respect/submit/be subject to their husbands. What's more, men have been designed with more powerful bodies and voices.

Where you have more power and influence, you have more responsibility. And as much as there may be limitations to that power and influence, there may also be limitations to responsibility, but of course, the scriptures dont' state any specific limitations on either (maybe Collosians 3:19 husbands...don't be harsh"). Regardless, if you have influence, you have responsibility.

wombatty said...

Interesting thoughts, Catwoman. I really can't agree as it seems an ambiguous distinction you're making, but interesting nonetheless.

In any case, the boss might indeed choose to be sparing at first with a misbehaving employee, but he still has the authority to do otherwise. Secondly, are you then suggesting (by analogy) that a man can choose to be less sparing once he has been married for, say, 5 years?

Regardless, if you have influence, you have responsibility.

This has never been the issue. I think all here would agree that a husband has responsibilities regarding his wife. The issue is the scope of those responsibilities. And Scripture never puts the responsibility for his wife's sin or behavior on the husband's shoulders.

catwoman said...

"I really can't agree as it seems an ambiguous distinction you're making, but interesting nonetheless."

Do you think this verse from Matthew 18 is ambiguous? "Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, 6but(H) whoever causes one of these(I) little ones who believe in me to sin,[a] it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea."

I know that it's referring to children, not wives, for whom an adult's degree of influence is much greater. But this passage, which later in verse 14 suggests that it's quite possible that these "little ones" could "perish", is an example of both the sinner and the person under whom they were influenced both being responsible for that person's sin.

Elsewhere in James, it is said that teachers will be judged more harshly.

Although these may be "different", they suggest that with greater influence on another comes greater responsibility for what the other does. How much influence and how much responsibility, it doesn't say in any of these passages, but somehow, more (and thus, less) of the former would suggest more (and thus, less) of the latter, whether it's the greater influence of an adult on a child or the lesser influence of a husband on a wife.

"are you then suggesting (by analogy) that a man can choose to be less sparing once he has been married for, say, 5 years?"

I'm not saying that a man "should" be sparing in his influence, ie. leading by example, and of course, by exhortation. The effectiveness of influence is greater when the emphasis is on quality, as opposed to just quantity. However, wives must render themselves open to influence, and for the most part, they do. And I think that's what's missing from your discussion.

wombatty said...

Catwoman:

The ambiguity I mentioned had not to do with the fact that having influence comes with accountability but your comparison of the husband/wife relationship with that of a boss/employee. You wrote that:

What you're describing here is a matter of degree. And it's the difference between domination and influence.

Employers have the power to impose certain consequences and even terminate employees, but they are sparing (at least initially) in how they exercise that power because it's considered better to use influence rather than domination or coercion.


The ambiguity concerns the ‘matter of degree’ – where are these degrees (at least concerning your analogy) delineated in scripture? You seem to like the analogy, as long as you get to determine the extent to which it applies.

Secondly, on what grounds do you consider an employer disciplining a misbehaving employee ‘domination or coercion’? This is part of a supervisor’s job description. The boss is given the authority to use his judgment to determine when discipline, and what type of discipline, is appropriate. But you don’t want to take the analogy that far. Why not? What is your reasoning for drawing the line at that point?

You’ll note, by the way, that the teachers spoken of in James are held accountable for their own sin (i.e. of abusing their influence), there is no indication that they are responsible for their congregation’s sins (after all, congregants have the ‘Berean responsibility’). Using your logic, I could assign them a measure of responsibility for my sin, couldn’t I?

I'm not saying that a man "should" be sparing in his influence, ie. leading by example, and of course, by exhortation.

I wasn’t speaking of a husband being ‘sparing’ in his influence, but in his discipline, following your comment:

Employers have the power to impose certain consequences and even terminate employees, but they are sparing (at least initially) in how they exercise that power because it's considered better to use influence rather than domination or coercion.

Here, you wrote of a supervisor being ‘..sparing (at least initially) in how they exercise that power [i.e. imposing consequences/discipline]’. I was merely carrying out your analogy and asking if, after being sparing in this regard initially, a husband should feel free to be less sparing in disciplining his wife (as you apparently feel an employer should be).

However, wives must render themselves open to influence, and for the most part, they do. And I think that's what's missing from your discussion.

I don’t think I’m missing that at all. I just don’t see how it therefore follows that a man is responsibile for his wife’s sinful behavior. And it certainly does not justify Wilson’s presumption of complete husbandly guilt for all marital problems.

The issue here is to what degree is a wife to render herself ‘open to influence’. I would say a line should be drawn at sin; a wife has no responsibility to follow her husband into sin – she must obey God before man. If she decides to follow her husband into sin; that is her sin.

Now I believe that a man will be held accountable for leading her in that direction. But there is a big difference between being held responsible for abusing your influence and being held responsible for someone else following you down that path.

To see the difference, consider that a husband should be held responsible for trying to influence his wife to sin whether or not she follows him. He should be held accountable for the exact same thing regardless of what she does.

The same applies for leaders in the church and the congregation.

I’ve asked this question indirectly several times and you have yet to answer, so I’ll ask it directly now: Where in scripture is a man said to have any responsibility for his wife’s sinful behavior?

catwoman said...

"The ambiguity concerns the ‘matter of degree’ – where are these degrees (at least concerning your analogy) delineated in scripture?"

As far as exact scriptural delineations, as I said in my last post I don't claim to have any. But you're essentially presented with the same problem here, when you say: "To see the difference, consider that a husband should be held responsible for trying to influence his wife to sin whether or not she follows him. He should be held accountable for the exact same thing regardless of what she does."

For the "exact same thing?" Do the scriptures have examples of people being held as accountable for "trying" to influence others to sin, as they are when they actually succeed? Or less accountable when they unintentionally influence someone else to sin? Clearly, when it comes to influence, outcome is as important than intent, if not more so.

It is tricky business trying to figure out exactly how God conceptualizes responsibility, but I don't think he's necessarily like a couples counsellor who says "You are responsible for what you say, and the other person is responsible for what they hear and do with it". I believe that God sees all things and can ascertain the processes of influence and outcome in ways that we cannot.

As for the domination or coercion employment analogy, the scriptures seem more concerned with the day-to-day cumulative influence of husbands on their wives, than controlling them like employees, per se (however, elders are expected to control their children in 1 Tim 3). As far as how much control a man can exert over his wife when she sins, the closest thing you can find in the scriptures is to be gentle. Whatever the parameters of that potent but limited degree of influence, God would know where a man has been strong and where he's been weak, and what that translates into the in the way of responsibility, which doesn't necessarily mean guilt, or subsuming any part of the wive's sin.

This how Wilson actually put it:

"As Christ assumed the responsibility for the sins of His people husbands are to come to grips with the responsibility for the actions and state of affairs of that which they have been ordained the head of: their wife and family. That doesn't mean the husband is necessarily guilty (though most likely he at least shares some guilt); Christ was not guilty of our sins. But it does mean that the husband is called to step up to the plate and assume the responsibility and consequences of his family."

wombatty said...

Catwoman wrote:

But you're essentially presented with the same problem here...

For the "exact same thing?" Do the scriptures have examples of people being held as accountable for "trying" to influence others to sin, as they are when they actually succeed? Or less accountable when they unintentionally influence someone else to sin?


I disagree; the man has a duty to exercise responsible & biblical leadership. Attempting to lead someone into sin is a blatant violation of that duty. This is true regardless of whether he is followed by those in his charge or not.

Clearly, when it comes to influence, outcome is as important than intent, if not more so.

God looks on the heart and can see motives. Someone who's intent is leading another into sin will be held far more accountable than someone who does so out of ignorance.

Luke 12:47-48:

"That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.


This how Wilson actually put it:

"As Christ assumed the responsibility for the sins of His people husbands are to come to grips with the responsibility for the actions and state of affairs of that which they have been ordained the head of: their wife and family. That doesn't mean the husband is necessarily guilty (though most likely he at least shares some guilt); Christ was not guilty of our sins.


I'm not sure I buy this line of reasoning. The reason Christ took responsibility for our sins is because we are incapable of doing so ourselves. This aspect of Christ's relationship to his church has no parallel in the husband/wife relationship.

Secondly, I wonder how far Wilson carries this analogy. Yes, Christ assumed the responsibility for the sins of His people, but He also disciplines his people/church when they are disobedient.

But it does mean that the husband is called to step up to the plate and assume the responsibility and consequences of his family."

It seems to me that, in the case of a wife's irresponsibility/sin, this approach puts the husband in the position of being an 'enabler'.

In the case of the children, the parents have the authority and responsibility to discipline them. So while the parents will have the responsibility, for instance, to pay restitution for a theft perpetrated by their child, they must then impose consequences on that child themselves (e.g. spare the rod and spoil the child).

You (and perhaps Wilson) would deny husbands this right vis-a-vis their wives, thus freeing her from any consequence for her sin. This would simply enable sinful behavior which doesn't seem to be a very loving thing to do.

Basically, it seems this paradigm would saddle the husband with responsibilities absent the rights that attend those duties in any other circumstance.

And the wife gets to have he cake and eat it too...

wombatty said...

I think our disagreement is very simple, Catwoman. I don't believe you can legitimately separate rights and responsibilities; you do. That seems to be the sticking point here and we'll just have to agree to disagree and leave it at that.

By the way, if Wilson's paradigm is God's design for marriage, does he have any insight into why God did not hold Adam in any way responsible for Eve's sin? It seems that if WIlson is correct, we should have seen it in spades there as God dealt with that circumstance directly.

catwoman said...

"God looks on the heart and can see motives. Someone who's intent is leading another into sin will be held far more accountable than someone who does so out of ignorance....Luke 12:47-48."

Luke is speaking an escatological context. I don't think this passage really supports the "good german" defense. You seem to think that I believe you can separate rights and responsibilities (which I don't, because husband's responsibility doesn't make the wife's any less), but you seem to think you can separate responsibility of leadership from responsibility of outcome, which is quite problematic.

"The reason Christ took responsibility for our sins is because we are incapable of doing so ourselves. This aspect of Christ's relationship to his church has no parallel in the husband/wife relationship."

The scriptures, in teaching wives to be subject to their husbands, are rendering themselves to their influence, which is to some extent, incapacitating. A wife can directly resist her husband's incitement to sin in situations where it's obvious, but day-today influence is more insidious that that.

"I wonder how far Wilson carries this analogy. Yes, Christ assumed the responsibility for the sins of His people, but He also disciplines his people/church when they are disobedient."

Where in the NT do you see Jesus (not God) disciplining his people/church?

"It seems to me that, in the case of a wife's irresponsibility/sin, this approach puts the husband in the position of being an 'enabler'."

Well no, because as it's been stated ad nauseam, husband's responsibility doesn't lessen the wife's responsibility. Only you that sees it in such "either/or" terms. Wlison writes:

"Properly understood, it should have precisely the opposite effect. When a wife understands that her husband is responsible and knows that he assumes responsibility willingly, she will be more responsible as an individual, not less."

"By the way, if Wilson's paradigm is God's design for marriage, does he have any insight into why God did not hold Adam in any way responsible for Eve's sin? It seems that if WIlson is correct, we should have seen it in spades there as God dealt with that circumstance directly."

Romans 5:12 reads: "Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned"

Note that Eve isn't even mentioned here. That suggests a greater burden of sin for him. That does not lessen her guilt for what she did, but in this case, how do you explain the greater emphasis on Adam's sin?

wombatty said...

catwoman wrote:

You seem to think that I believe you can separate rights and responsibilities (which I don't, because husband's responsibility doesn't make the wife's any less), but you seem to think you can separate responsibility of leadership from responsibility of outcome, which is quite problematic.


What is problematic is separating the accountability for those under your authority from the right/responsibility to discipline them for irresponsible behavior.

The scriptures, in teaching wives to be subject to their husbands, are rendering themselves to their influence, which is to some extent, incapacitating. A wife can directly resist her husband's incitement to sin in situations where it's obvious, but day-today influence is more insidious that that.

This is a cop-out. Shifting blame didn’t work for Eve and it won’t work for you.

Where in the NT do you see Jesus (not God) disciplining his people/church?

In Revelation 2-3, Christ Himself is speaking to the church of John’s time specifically and/or the church in general (i.e. in the ‘present age’). Either way, it is applicable to us today. In case you want to claim that this is eschatological, consider that these chapters of Revelation are in the ‘what is now’ ('present things' as opposed to 'end things') section:

Revelation 1:19

Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later.

So what does Christ say to His bride?

Revelation 2:4-5

To the church in Ephesus

Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

Revelation 2:14-16

To the Church in Pergamum

Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality. Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

Revelation 2:18-23

To the Church in Thyatira

These are the words of the Son of God…Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.

Revelation 3:1-3

To the Church in Sardis

"To the angel of the church in Sardis write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

Revelation 3:14-3

To the Church in Laodicea

"To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.

Note the last sentence in bold:
Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline.
It couldn’t be clearer.

Wlison writes:

"Properly understood, it should have precisely the opposite effect. When a wife understands that her husband is responsible and knows that he assumes responsibility willingly, she will be more responsible as an individual, not less."


This is incredibly naïve. Wilson is simply romanticizing women, whose nature is just as depraved as man’s. What biblical justification does Wilson offer for this presumption? Given fallen human nature, I think Wilson’s approach is far more likely to result in the problems that Eggerichs describes in his book.

Note that Eve isn't even mentioned here. That suggests a greater burden of sin for him. That does not lessen her guilt for what she did, but in this case, how do you explain the greater emphasis on Adam's sin?

As I mentioned before, Adam’s sin had more far-ranging consequences because his position as ‘head of the human family’. No, Eve isn’t mentioned in those passages because her sin is not being dealt with.

Go back to Genesis, where God deals directly with her sin, and show me any hint at all that God held Adam responsible in any way for Eve’s disobedience. According to you and Wilson, in addition to God holding Eve accountable (which He did), He should have then turned to Adam and explained to him his accountability for what Eve did. Problem is, that just didn’t happen.

catwoman said...

"'The scriptures, in teaching wives to be subject to their husbands, are rendering themselves to their influence, which is to some extent, incapacitating. A wife can directly resist her husband's incitement to sin in situations where it's obvious, but day-today influence is more insidious that that.'

This is a cop-out. Shifting blame didn’t work for Eve and it won’t work for you."

Not so fast...case in point: women who have husbands who turn out to have less than honorable business practices, involving let's say bribery, embezzlement, other kinds of theft. As his wife, she is sinfully living off the avails of those practices. Do we say that the husband is responsible only for what he does in business, or also for bringing his wife into this corruption? This is not an uncommon situation. Another scenario: the husband doesn't get along with his wife's parents, such that she has to walk a fine line between supporting her husband and neglecting/dishonoring her parents. Why? Because she's living in a situation where she must please her husband, particularly if she has been taught that biblically, this is what she must do.

When you are dealing with matters of influence, the priniciples of cause and effect are not quite as cut and dried as "you are responsible for what you do and say, I am responsible for what I do and say". Especially when the husband has been bestowed more influence, and the wife, less. And with more influence comes more responsibility, even if she is 100% responsible for her sins.

"Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline.
It couldn’t be clearer."

Then why are there no biblical examples of husband's discipling their wives? Why do verses about husbands loving their wives as Christ loved the church mention only the sacificial part of that love, and not the "discipline as love" part that you mention? I'm not saying that husbands should not rebuke their wives when they sin, or exhort them to righteousness. Discipline is parental in nature, as evidenced by this verse from Hebrews 12:6 "For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives." Interestingly, the scriptures tell children to obey their parents, but stop short of telling wives to obey their husbands. Again, "subject to" is very much the language of influence, not discipline.

"'Properly understood, it should have precisely the opposite effect. When a wife understands that her husband is responsible and knows that he assumes responsibility willingly, she will be more responsible as an individual, not less.'

This is incredibly naïve. Wilson is simply romanticizing women, whose nature is just as depraved as man’s. What biblical justification does Wilson offer for this presumption?"

I doubt very much that Wilson is naive enough to think that it works this way all the time, but Wombatty, think of how often it does work. You are so stuck on worst case scenarios that you don't seem to realize how much women do want to please their husbands, make them proud of them, knowing that what they do reflects on them.

"Adam’s sin had more far-ranging consequences because his position as ‘head of the human family’", but is this because he is head of the family in name only? Or because of the greater powers of influence bestowed to him by his creator? How did he use those powers when in the garden with Eve? As your verse from Luke 12 says, "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked."

Certainly, there are limits to the degree of influence a man has wrt his wife, and most likely, limits to which a man can be held responsible for his wife's behavior, matter of degrees, if you will. But where you have influence, particularly due to a divinely bestowed role, you have responsibility, not just for yourself and what you do and say, but for how the subordinate recipients of your influence are affected by it.

wombatty said...

Catwoman wrote:

Not so fast...


All of the examples you give happen just as often in reverse. Would a woman not be responsible for 'corrupting' her husband through her criminal behavior simply because she is a woman? Does a man who doesn't mesh with his in-laws not also have to walk a tightrope?

Then why are there no biblical examples of husband's discipling their wives?...

First, if this is your standard, where are there biblical examples of husbands taking responsibility for the sins of their wives?

Secondly, I'm not saying that husbands should discipline their wives as Christ does the church. I'm simply pointing out that if you want to draw the analogy between Christ's relationship to the church and marriage tightly enough to make a man responsible for his wife's sin (as Christ is for the church's), it is arbitrary to draw a line before you get to discipline.

I believe It's an all or nothing deal: on the one hand, if a man is responsible for his wife's sin, he has the right and duty to discipline her for it. On the other hand, if he has no such right, he hasn't the responsibility.

I agree that discipline does seem to be of a parental nature and yet, there is Christ disciplining his bride...

I doubt very much that Wilson is naive enough to think that it works this way all the time, but Wombatty, think of how often it does work. You are so stuck on worst case scenarios that you don't seem to realize how much women do want to please their husbands, make them proud of them, knowing that what they do reflects on them.

I'm not stuck on worse-case scenarios anymore than you are (cf. your 'not uncommon situations' above), Wilson's presumption just strikes me as a bit 'pollyannish' in light of what the bible has to say about the depravity of human nature and the fact that women are naturally desirous to usurp their husbands authority (see Gen 3). To be clear, I don't say this as a slam on women, it's just 'what is' - and men are no better in the depravity department.

How did he use those powers when in the garden with Eve?>

We don't know since the bible doesn't say. But what we do know is that Adam was not judged for for Eve's sin in any way. If anything, he was judged for letting her influence him (i.e. 'listening' to her, for which he was judged).

As your verse from Luke 12 says, "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked."

No argument here - I just reject the notion that 'much' includes accountability for my wife's sin (were I married).

But where you have influence, particularly due to a divinely bestowed role, you have responsibility, not just for yourself and what you do and say, but for how the subordinate recipients of your influence are affected by it.

I can see that with children (millstones around your neck and all the rest) because they don't know any better. Women, however do know better as they are adults.

wombatty said...

Catwoman wrote:

I doubt very much that Wilson is naive enough to think that it works this way all the time, but Wombatty, think of how often it does work. You are so stuck on worst case scenarios that you don't seem to realize how much women do want to please their husbands, make them proud of them, knowing that what they do reflects on them.


Incidentally, wives are given, and commanded to exercise, an influence very much like this:

1 Peter 3:1-2

Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.

Granted, this is speaking of unbelieving husbands, but if a godly, submissive wife can have such a powerful influence on her husband, how much more so a believing husband? Does such influence render her responsible for his behavior. Of course not..

Interestingly, the scriptures tell children to obey their parents, but stop short of telling wives to obey their husbands.

Not quite...

1 Peter 3:3-6

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

Anonymous said...

"All of the examples you give happen just as often in reverse. Would a woman not be responsible for 'corrupting' her husband through her criminal behavior simply because she is a woman? Does a man who doesn't mesh with his in-laws not also have to walk a tightrope?"

Situations like this could happen in reverse, but if a man has greater influence by virtue of his biblically ordained role, his size, his strength, situation as provider (particularly if he has declared unilaterally or if they have agreed mutually that he will be the provider and they have children), then would that not make him more culpable and her more vulnerable?

"First, if this is your standard, where are there biblical examples of husbands taking responsibility for the sins of their wives?"

Esphesians 5:25-27 sounds at the very least like good influence to me: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; 26 that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless"

"I'm simply pointing out that if you want to draw the analogy between Christ's relationship to the church and marriage tightly enough to make a man responsible for his wife's sin (as Christ is for the church's), it is arbitrary to draw a line before you get to discipline."

I would agree it's abritrary. When you're dealing with matters of influence, it's not always clear what the effects are, of anyone's influence and where the parameters of responsibility end. And that's hardly an all or nothing deal, however determined you are to make it out that way.

"I'm not stuck on worse-case scenarios anymore than you are (cf. your 'not uncommon situations' above), Wilson's presumption just strikes me as a bit 'pollyannish' in light of what the bible has to say about the depravity of human nature and the fact that women are naturally desirous to usurp their husbands authority (see Gen 3)."

lol, well, Eve didn't exactly nag Adam into eating the fruit. You know, Wombatty, I go out of my way not to offend the sensitivities of the self-proclaimed good guys here who don't like to be reminded of male worst-case scenarios (especially those that exceed the "badness" of women, ie certain crimes & misdeameanors), because if you do, well, then that's just the old feminist line, right? Yet, you seem to be almost pre-occupied with them, revisiting the same ones over and over -- women who "hook up", women who deny their husbands sex, and of course, the same Eggerich quote you like. Certainly women have their depravity, but when you say things like "women are naturally desirous to usurp their husbands authority", I dunno, it just doesn't bespeak much good will.

As you said, Adam was judged for letting Eve influence him, and maybe that's what this is about, why men are inclined to resist female influence and why wives are subject to the influence of their husbands, for better or for worse, whether they like it or not. Despite this eternal truth (or perhaps, because of it), I don't think I'm going to be able to illustrate to you how more influence means more responsibility for the outcomes of those subject to that influence.

But btw, Peter is not telling women to obey their husbands -- and call them master, lol, as if women were going to do that in the first century church! He's giving the women an historical example of submission, just as he gave slaves Christ's example of obediently enduring suffering under cruel authorities in the previous chapter.

I dont think that wives are "commanded" to influence their husbands, but in submission, since that would be a bit of a paradox. But yes, there is considerable potential for believing wives to influence believing and unbelieving husbands. However, the roles as they are taught here naturally increase the influence of one, and decrease the influence of the other, and where that happens, you'll have differing levels of responsibility on the outcomes of those influences.

catwoman said...

that last post was me, catwoman

(hit anon out of laziness)

wombatty said...

Catwoman wrote:

You know, Wombatty, I go out of my way not to offend the sensitivities of the self-proclaimed good guys here who don't like to be reminded of male worst-case scenarios (especially those that exceed the "badness" of women, ie certain crimes & misdeameanors), because if you do, well, then that's just the old feminist line, right?


Personally, I have no problem discussing the shortcomings of men and I certainly won't call it the 'old feminist line'. What I take issue with is the sophistry of saddling men with the responsibility for the behavior of adult women.

Yet, you seem to be almost pre-occupied with them, revisiting the same ones over and over -- women who "hook up", women who deny their husbands sex, and of course, the same Eggerich quote you like.

Don't forget the fact that women file for the vast majority of divorces ;-). As for the women 'hooking up', I only mentioned that once and I cited the article (as I said at the time) to show an example someone in out culture holding women accountable for their behavior instead of making excuses for it.

Besides, doesn't it make sense to focus on those things which would immediately concern me as a husband? I can't count the number of times I've heard about abusive, domineering, inconsiderate, thoughtless husbands.

Regardless, I figure if I'm going to be held responsible (in the church) for another adults misbehavior, without the means to rectify that behavior, I'd better give some serious thought about entering into such an arrangement. Scapegoat is not part of a husband's job description. Counting the cost and all...

Certainly women have their depravity, but when you say things like "women are naturally desirous to usurp their husbands authority", I dunno, it just doesn't bespeak much good will.

Nonsense - it has nothing to do with a lack of goodwill. It has to do with Genesis 3:16:

I will surely multiply your [Eve's]pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.

I remember my pastor preaching on this passage (in a series about marriage) and PC (Adam) has written on the same theme:

That is why the next phrase is so important. “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you."Most people have noticed a parallel to God’s warning to Cain in the next chapter in Genesis 4:7, “It’s [sin’s] desire is for you, but you must rule over it” [translation mine]. Some have tried to make a parallel to Songs of Songs 7:11 [Eng. 7:10], but the results have been less than convincing. Obviously, given this parallel to Genesis 4:7, we can see that the desire here is not something good. Apparently, what this text is saying is that the desire will be to conquer her husband. However, he will go on being the head of her just as creation intended.

[...]

However we take the term lv;m' here, it is very clear that this text is telling us that, as punishment for sin, marriage will now have the problem of the woman’s desire to dominate the man, and there will be strife. However, what is interesting to note is that this also points us back to Genesis 2:18! The woman was created to be a “helper” for man. However, now, as a result of the fall, her desire is to usurp her husband’s authority, which is the exact opposite of being a “helper.” Hence, because of the corruption of sin, woman does not function as a helper, and thus, does not function as the solution to Adam’s situation that she once was. Hence, we can say that, not only was child bearing corrupted by sin, but also the marriage relationship itself was corrupted by sin. Now, again, we need to clarify. I am not saying that there is anything inherently corrupt with a marriage relationship, or about wives in and of themselves. Both of them, as God created them, are good. However, this text forces us to the harsh reality that the good marriage relationship has been corrupted by our sin.


My pastor (not a young man) preached the exact same message in the context of giving young couples a realistic set of expectations concerning marriage and the difficulties they would likely encounter.

This is a result of the fall - it is part of God's judgment on Eve. It has nothing to do with ill will on my part.

...you'll have differing levels of responsibility on the outcomes of those influences.

I'm curious then, what additional responsibility does the wife incur due to her influence? If influence comes with accountability, there has to be some, no?

wombatty said...

Catwoman,

Regarding Esphesians 5:25-27, that is speaking of 'how far' a man is to go to sacrifice for his wife - in other words, all the way. However, the analogy has its limits since a man is incapable of 1) sanctifying his wife, 2) cleansing her by the washing of water with the word, 3) removing all the 'spots, wrinkles, & blemishes' or 4) making her holy and blameless. Christ did all he could and men are to do all they can, not all Christ can.

The passage might speak of influence (it seems to be more about sacrifice to me), but it certainly isn't saying men are accountable for the sins of their wives.

I would agree it's abritrary.

Then why should I or anyone else except your or Wilson's (or anyone else's) line of demarcation? To each their own...

wombatty said...

Catwoman,

It occurred to me that I have been implicitly making a distinction that I should have made explicit. That distinction concerns whether the wife is acting in accord with her husbands leadership/influence or not.

If she commits sin in the course of acting in accord with his leadership, I agree that the husband is responsible for the consequences of his 'charted course' while the wife should still be personally responsible for any sin/crimes she committed. Perhaps this is what Wilson is getting at.

But what of a situation where the wife is acting either contrary to her husbands leadership/influence or without consulting him at all? For instance, what if she makes a big investment (or otherwise spends a lot of money) without his knowledge or consent? What if she seeks an abortion in the same manner (Amir, If I recall, has past experience with this as a Crisis Pregnancy Center worker)?

Is the husband to be held responsible when she is acting in the absence of his leadership or contrary to it? I would say not.

For whatever reason, this distinction crystalized in my mind only now and it does modify my position a bit.

I'd be interested in your thoughts.

catwoman said...

"Besides, doesn't it make sense to focus on those things which would immediately concern me as a husband? I can't count the number of times I've heard about abusive, domineering, inconsiderate, thoughtless husbands."

Well, you haven't heard it from me. At least not to the same degree I've heard from you and your pals here about these legendary mega-church jezebels.

"her desire is to usurp her husband’s authority..."

Oh I see, you got that from PC. Look, everybody wants to have their own way, and I don't think that's necessary for the sake of power itself, which sounds like what's suggested. The idea that all women naturally covet male power is Freudian, not biblical.

Anyways, if you want to join with PC and others here in harping about the harpies, then well, I can't stop you, but I'm still mystified as to why that is...
...EW has his bad divorce experience, but you, PC, MM, Amir, and Kevin have never even been married, let alone divorced! And I think that all this divorce phobia will turn out to be a lot of needless catastrophizing.

For one, the two thirds filing rate reduces where there are policies of automatic shared custody (which I'm totally in favor of), and even further when there's no children involved. Factor in age, race and SES variables, and you're not in a particularly risky situation, Wombatty. As I've said elsewhere, it's not all that mysterious as far as who divorces and who doesn't, given what is now known about it.

"I'm curious then, what additional responsibility does the wife incur due to her influence? If influence comes with accountability, there has to be some, no?"

I don't know. If a supervisor is influenced by subordinates and makes a bad decision, does the supervisor get fired or the subordinates? Getting back to the original post about wives depriving husbands of sex, Paul does say to both husbands and wives "Do not deprive one another, except...come together again,(D) so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.", which suggests influence. It would be a sin to stop having sex with your husband, in part because it puts him at risk to cheat (and therefore, sin). Of course you've got to look at why this is happening, is it hormones or a problem in the relationship and deal with it.

"If she commits sin in the course of acting in accord with his leadership, I agree that the husband is responsible for the consequences of his 'charted course' while the wife should still be personally responsible for any sin/crimes she committed. Perhaps this is what Wilson is getting at."

I think that is what he's getting at.

"But what of a situation where the wife is acting either contrary to her husbands leadership/influence or without consulting him at all?"

Keep in mind that his quote about the husband being completely responsible was said in the context of his "operating assumption" when couples come to him for counselling. That may be his starting place of inquiry, but I doubt that's where he necessarily ends up, particularly when dealing with a wife who has gone way off course. Wilson doesn't seem to have any counselling credentials, but it wouldn't take long to figure out how enabling that would be.

Your original concern was "that teaching in church on personal responsibility/accountability isn't being directed at women". I would agree that men get "the business" more than women in complementarian churches that preach wives-submit, husbands-lead, which is to be expected. But I think extreme examples of women being excluded from responsibility/accountability are very rare, and I don't think that Wilson, (as extreme and as extra-biblical as he is) really isn't an example of that, because of the balance that his wife's message provides and the fact that he explicitly states that the responsibility of federal husband does not reduce her responsibility for her sins.

wombatty said...

Oh I see, you got that from PC.

As I mentioned, I heard it from my pastor (middle -aged, married w/children) up in MN years before I PC wrote about it. And, again, it was a series on marriage and he was addressing difficulties/weaknesses of both sexes and the like that couples need to expect and be prepared for. In any case, the issue is not 'where I got it', the issue is whether it is true.

Anyways, if you want to join with PC and others here in harping about the harpies, then well, I can't stop you, but I'm still mystified as to why that is...
...EW has his bad divorce experience, but you, PC, MM, Amir, and Kevin have never even been married, let alone divorced! And I think that all this divorce phobia will turn out to be a lot of needless catastrophizing.


lol....so I have to actually experience a divorce in order for it to be a legitimate factor in my decisions?

Keep in mind that his quote about the husband being completely responsible was said in the context of his "operating assumption" when couples come to him for counselling.

And I would suggest that it is a totally inappropriate and unbiblical 'operating assumption'. That he has this notion as his starting point, in my opinion, really calls his judgment into question. What is the purpose of this assumption? What could it possibly contribute to resolving whatever difficulties the couple is having? To even have an assumption as to who is to blame before hearing the couple out suggests a bias that, however slightly, would likely skew the judgement of the counselor.

catwoman said...

"As I mentioned, I heard it from my pastor (middle -aged, married w/children) up in MN years before I PC wrote about it. And, again, it was a series on marriage and he was addressing difficulties/weaknesses of both sexes and the like that couples need to expect and be prepared for. In any case, the issue is not 'where I got it', the issue is whether it is true."

Well, I don't think "usurping her husband's authority" is either generally true or helpful. Perhaps that was your pastor's experience and perhaps Eggerich's, since pastors tend to marry "strong women". There are sex-specific issues that you're likely to encounter, but approaching marriage expecting to have this or than kind of problem can create its own set of problems.

"so I have to actually experience a divorce in order for it to be a legitimate factor in my decisions?"

Hey, you can decide what you want, with any factors you like -- it's your life. But with all the information that's available, I don't understand why you choose to focus so much on the negatives. Anyways, I tried to be encouraging, pointing out what you have going for you, but I guess you don't want that.

"That he has this notion as his starting point, in my opinion, really calls his judgment into question. What is the purpose of this assumption? What could it possibly contribute to resolving whatever difficulties the couple is having? To even have an assumption as to who is to blame before hearing the couple out suggests a bias that, however slightly, would likely skew the judgement of the counselor."

I don't know, I've never seen him work. But I've encountered "mavericks" in my line of work that seem to have a really off-the-wall worldview that actually results in a different process that what you'd expect. He denies that he "blames" the husband, and I would imagine he probably works to strengthen his authority. I doubt that he'd blame and humiliate the guy in front of his wife, since that would have the opposite effect.

wombatty said...

It would be a sin to stop having sex with your husband, in part because it puts him at risk to cheat (and therefore, sin). Of course you've got to look at why this is happening, is it hormones or a problem in the relationship and deal with it.

I don't deny these are issues that need to be considered, but they cannot be used to excuse sin/misbehavior. If you catch your man checking out other women and/or sneaking a look at porn, would you accept it if he told you,

'Look, it's my hormones [testosterone], you have to understand'?

Of course not. I'm don't think you are suggesting these as excuses, but how should such issues factor into the discussion?

Well, I don't think "usurping her husband's authority" is either generally true or helpful. Perhaps that was your pastor's experience and perhaps Eggerich's, since pastors tend to marry "strong women".

It had nothing to do with my pastors' experience, he was exegeting scripture and 'teaching the text'.

I don't understand why you choose to focus so much on the negatives. Anyways, I tried to be encouraging, pointing out what you have going for you, but I guess you don't want that.

I admit I might focus on the negative a bit too much - perhaps because I've seen more of the negative than the positive in my life, but I think many all but dismiss the concerns of men (Mohler & Maken come to mind). I'm not saying that you do, but I don't think they are taken as seriously as they should be by the church.

Your encouragement is appreciated ;-)

catwoman said...

"If you catch your man checking out other women and/or sneaking a look at porn, would you accept it if he told you, 'Look, it's my hormones [testosterone], you have to understand'?"

No -- I wasn't offering up "hormones" as an excuse for wives to stop having sex with their husbands. I said if there's a problem in the relationship then that needs to be dealt with.

"It had nothing to do with my pastors' experience, he was exegeting scripture and 'teaching the text'."

If you're talking about PC's "highly eccentric" reading of Genesis, there's nothing in the text that suggests that "marriage will now have the problem of the woman’s desire to dominate the man" or that wives will be "usurping her husband's authority". Eve did not dominate Adam into taking the fruit or engage in a power struggle over it. Covet God's knowledge, yes, "usurping her husband's authority"? I don't think so.

"I think many all but dismiss the concerns of men (Mohler & Maken come to mind). I'm not saying that you do, but I don't think they are taken as seriously as they should be by the church."

Do you really think that the exaggeration of marital dissatifaction and divorce risks, as we see on this blog and its link-mates, actually helps matters much? Even if "many" dismiss the concerns of men, that would hardly be true of most. Don't get me wrong, I think men's issues are highly important and should be made a priority, ie. churchformen.com. But I don't think that's achieved by focussing so much on wifely submission, when obviously, there needs to be some foundation of mutual trust and respect for both sexes before you can even go there. Kind of like worrying about being sexually deprived in marriage before you're even holding hands.

You could get married and have a totally different set of issues that what you've been warned about by Eggerich, who really does have a limited scope on marital issues (useful for many, but could be broadened considerably). For instance, you could find yourself getting along fine, and then one of you comes down with health issues, or have a disabled child, still with little conflict, but with those other stressors occupying your thoughts. Or have what seems like a compliant spouse who doesn't articulate her feelings, which surface in some other way than "usurping your authority".

I mean, I don't know what your experience has been, since maybe your parents divorced or best friend did or something, but I'd encourage a healthy skepticism, which you don't really get here. More first marriages succeed than fail, and a large portion of those that do are among high risk people (lower income, education, age). Not to mention those with "issues". When you hear the rants of EW and MLV, you don't know what the other side's story might be. And as for the single guys they fascinate with their tales, they underestimate the power of the self-fulfilling prophecy. Anyways, it's your call, I'm not "mandating marriage" (nor am I suggesting all singleness has God's seal of approval). Just encouraging a less negative, less intense kind of vigilance than what you see on this blog, since who knows what kind of company we're keeping here.

wombatty said...

If you're talking about PC's "highly eccentric" reading of Genesis, there's nothing in the text that suggests that "marriage will now have the problem of the woman’s desire to dominate the man" or that wives will be "usurping her husband's authority". Eve did not dominate Adam into taking the fruit or engage in a power struggle over it. Covet God's knowledge, yes, "usurping her husband's authority"? I don't think so.

I refer to my pastor's sermon and only linked to PC because it summarizes his message and was available quickly. No one is saying that 'Eve dominated Adam into eating the fruit. You're putting the cart before the horse. Eve's 'desire' for her husband was a consequence of her sin, not its cause.

Here is Genesis 3;16 again:

I will surely multiply your [Eve's]pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.

This is a passage of judgment, it is not at all positive. First, there's the increase in labor pains. Then God says that Eve shall desire her husband, but he shall rule over her.

So, if this 'desire' is not a positive one and the immediate context refers to power/authority (...and shall rule over you)', what is this desire borne of judgment?

I think my pastor summed it up well when he called this passage the beginning of the 'battle of the sexes'.

And it's not as if men don't chafe under authority themselves; who doesn't?

catwoman said...

"So, if this 'desire' is not a positive one and the immediate context refers to power/authority (...and shall rule over you)', what is this desire borne of judgment?"

The judgement was thought to be the pain of childbearing, and "desire will be for your husband" was thought to be about consequential sexual desire necessary to be giving birth in the first place -- what's more, oxytocin released during childbirth increases a woman's sexual attachment to her husband, very important due to the situation of physical vulnerability and dependency that pregnancy and childbirth places her in. The "weaker vessel" to be ruled over, across all humanity regardless of time and culture.

This interpretation of "desire" is how Jewish and Christian theologians alike have shared for centuries.

I have done a bit of exploring on the whole "desire to usurp her husband's authority" interpretation, and found that indeed, it is not just another one of PC's "very eccentric" readings. There's a whole host of folks, from Grudem to MacArthur citing this interpretation.

But where did it come from? Interestingly, they all cite an obscure article dating back to 1975 called "What is the Woman's Desire?" from the Westminster Theological Journal, written by one Susan T. Foh. Anyways, Irvin Busenitz offered a critique of this position in the 1986 Grace Theological Journal in an article titled Woman's Desire for Man: Genesis 3:16 Reconsidered:

"Her sin had nothing to do with denying Adam
his rightful role of leadership in their marriage or with grasping a role
that belonged to her husband. The only role that Eve usurped was
that of God's, a usurpation that is characteristic of all acts of sin of
all people living in all times of the history of mankind.
Woman may desire to dominate or rule over man, but it is not a
part of the punishment pronounced upon woman; it is just the essence,
character, and result of all sin against God. Self-exaltation and pride
always result in the desire to dominate and rule. Every person to some
extent desires to dominate and rule over others--not just woman over
man."

I just found these articles, and interestingly, they echo what you and I had already said in our last couple of posts. All I can say as I look at how Foh's interpretation has gotten around, is wow, that explains a lot of the negative and mistrustful attitudes towards women that you see in the evangelical world, even among men who have not yet had a wife to "usurp authority". You've all been listening to this stuff since God-knows-when, so no wonder you're expecting some ball-bustin', rolling pin wielding hellcat to come raging down the shute at ya. These are foundational teachings for you.

So that's what this hokey-pokey is all about.

wombatty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wombatty said...

The judgement was thought to be the pain of childbearing, and "desire will be for your husband" was thought to be about consequential sexual desire necessary to be giving birth in the first place -- what's more, oxytocin released during childbirth increases a woman's sexual attachment to her husband, very important due to the situation of physical vulnerability and dependency that pregnancy and childbirth places her in. The "weaker vessel" to be ruled over, across all humanity regardless of time and culture.What is the textual justification for switching to a positive perspective (marital sexual desire), from a negative one (judgment) in the middle of a sentence? Particularly in a passage that is all about judgment and cosequences for sin?

This is one of the points my pastor focused on in this passage. He went over the interpretation you cite (and one or two others) and concluded that you simply cannot justify a positive spin on the 'desire' spoken of in Gen 3:16 given the context of the immediate passage and the wider context of Gen 1-3.

Woman may desire to dominate or rule over man, but it is not a part of the punishment pronounced upon woman; it is just the essence, character, and result of all sin against God. Self-exaltation and pride always result in the desire to dominate and rule. Every person to some
extent desires to dominate and rule over others--not just woman over man."
So, regardless of why (and I question the above conclusion), it is still the case that women are predisposed to want to 'dominate and rule' their husbands.

Note that I pointed out before that men have the same problem - we all chafe under authority, it is just manifested differently between the sexes.

For a woman, in the context of a marriage relationhip, it will likely manifest itself as a desire to usurp her husband's authority. A man, on the other hand, will be predisposed to abuse his rightful authority over his wife.

So, again, regardless of why, my point stands and your's - according to you own citation - is moot.

To clarify, I brought this subject up was to highlight the fact that Wilson's presumption of 'complete husbandly guilt' regarding marital problems is grossly unbiblical. In light of the fact that we are all equally depraved, Wilson's presumption is unjustifiable. The fact that he holds it, in my opinion, throws his judgment into serious question.

wombatty said...

I just found these articles, and interestingly, they echo what you and I had already said in our last couple of posts. All I can say as I look at how Foh's interpretation has gotten around, is wow, that explains a lot of the negative and mistrustful attitudes towards women that you see in the evangelical world, even among men who have not yet had a wife to "usurp authority". You've all been listening to this stuff since God-knows-when, so no wonder you're expecting some ball-bustin', rolling pin wielding hellcat to come raging down the shute at ya. These are foundational teachings for you.You make a lot of assumptions here. First, I have not ‘all been listening to this stuff since God-knows-when’, it was part of a sermon that my pastor preached once and later echoed by PC. Second, I am not, nor have I ever been, ‘expecting some ball-bustin', rolling pin wielding hellcat to come raging down the shute at me’. Third, my attitude towards women is no more ‘negative and mistrustful’ than it is towards men. It’s just that I never have to worry about being put through the meat-grinder of the divorce courts and deprived of my children by another man (not counting family court judges) – it’s not going to happen. Fourth, these teachings are only foundational in the sense that I heard a solid, exegetical sermon on the subject that, after consideration of other interpretations, favored the view in dispute. The same is true for me for any other issue taught in scripture.

Lastly, I’m not sure why you think that this passage (if my pastor, MacArthur, etc. are correct) would engender such attitudes towards women. The bible teaches that men are equally sinful and must also, contrary to their sinful nature, submit to authority. You could just as easily say that a lot of the negative and mistrustful attitudes towards men that you see in the evangelical world can be explained by the fact that it is Adam’s fault that life only comes by hard work (i.e. Adam’s judgment).

Thanks for that reference – though you could have included a link ;-)

Elsewhere in that paper Busenitz writes:

Fourth, in the contextual development of Genesis 3 the woman is specifically addressed in 3:16, while the man is the object of God's pronouncement of judgment in 3:17-19. If the "desire" of 3:16b is the desire of the woman to control and dominate her husband, then the sentence is no longer a judgment upon the woman; rather, it is the man who bears its brunt. Yet man's judgment is not mentioned until 3:17. "Since the punishment was specifically intended for the woman and her female descendants, and was not a penalty shared with the men, it had inevitably to be of a nature restricted to the female sex.”I’m not so sure I agree with him here. He has a point that the man would have to endure his wife’s striving for domination, but I’m not sure I would agree that this would be a judgment primarily on the man. After all, who would deny that women also suffer as a result of God’s cursing the ground (Adam’s judgment)? Given the centrality (in terms of purpose and identity) of relationships for women, especially in marriage, the discord caused by such striving would serve to frustrate her desire for that very relationship. Knowing that it was her striving, in part, that caused this frustration would certainly cause much sorrow.

catwoman said...

"What is the textual justification for switching to a positive perspective (marital sexual desire), from a negative one (judgment) in the middle of a sentence? Particularly in a passage that is all about judgment and cosequences for sin?"

The "negative-positive" issue is moot, because sexual desire and practical dependency are not necessarily spoken of in a positive context. If you want something from someone, does that give them more power over you that can potentially be abused, or less? A woman has desires of her husband (that he remain with her faithfully, provide for her and her offspring, especially in times when she can't) that he may or may not deliver on. The husband, by "toiling the cursed ground" produces food that he may share with his wife, or someone else, for that matter. Because she is beholden to him, he may rule over her, which has been the case in every culture, prior to modernity.

"So, regardless of why (and I question the above conclusion), it is still the case that women are predisposed to want to 'dominate and rule' their husbands."

But you cannot come to this conclusion by the text you have cited, at least not by another theological tradition other than Foh's chapter 3-chapter 4 connection, which is accepted by only a handful neo-reform leaders. You must go much deeper into the bible to find examples of women sinfully going against their husband's wishes, let alone "usurping their authority", which may be the case for some women, but does not have nearly the same amount of transcendant generalizability to the desire via necessity created by the divinely designed processes of human reproduction.

"I brought this subject up was to highlight the fact that Wilson's presumption of 'complete husbandly guilt' regarding marital problems is grossly unbiblical."

Where does Wilson declare "complete husbandly guilt"? He speaks of husbands being responsible (esp re: the influence afforded to them by their role), but affirms that wives are no less guilty and responsible for themselves and their sin. Again, I'm not the biggest Wilson fan myself, but beyond him, you're really at a loss to find anyone who applies the same "federal husband" concept as far as he does.

catwoman said...

"I’m not sure why you think that this passage (if my pastor, MacArthur, etc. are correct) would engender such attitudes towards women...You could just as easily say that a lot of the negative and mistrustful attitudes towards men that you see in the evangelical world can be explained by the fact that it is Adam’s fault that life only comes by hard work (i.e. Adam’s judgment)."

Nonsense. Who has ever made that latter interpretation, let alone seen it proliferate negative attitudes or mistrust towards men?

Maybe your POV is no more mistrusting of women than it is of men, but it's hard to find anything that you've said about women and marriage on this blog that isn't negative. Fair enough if you want to avoid marriage lest you be subject to the "meatgrinder" of divorce (despite the fact that the odds are in your favor). It's just sad that the intepretation you take offers an inevitable "battle of the sexes", whereas the more commonly understood traditional interpretation offers a wife who desires you. Suit yourself.

"Thanks for that reference – though you could have included a link ;-)"

To that I bid you the prolific acronym GIYF : “Google Is Your Friend” (there's a less genteel version of that, but I'll spare you!)

catwoman said...

It's ironic that this thread started out as a discussion about wives not having sex with their husbands, who are then tempted to sin (ie. by adultery or sex by force), then becoming a discussion about wives not submitting/respecting their husbands but...

...comes full circle to a bible verse that points to the fact that women **do** desire their husbands and **are** (not just "should") subject to them.

If we worry so much about how things break, we miss a lot about how things work. (Proverbs 23:7)

wombatty said...

Nonsense. Who has ever made that latter interpretation, let alone seen it proliferate negative attitudes or mistrust towards men?Nonsense indeed. First, I have never heard the interpretation you are taking exception to spun the way you spin it (i.e. as a way to propagate/justify 'negative or mistrustful attitudes' towards women). For instance, when my pastor gave that sermon, he went on to speak on the faults of men that endanger marriage - it was an 'equal opportunity reality check'. What is your evidence that this particular interpretation is responsible for such propagation?

Maybe your POV is no more mistrusting of women than it is of men, but it's hard to find anything that you've said about women and marriage on this blog that isn't negative.That's because you haven't been around here long enough. Quite some time ago, some assclown was here claiming that men were inherently superior (morally and otherwise) and thus more trustworthy than women - and claiming scriptural justification for it. I spent quite a few posts slapping him around for his unbiblical crap.

Now that you mention it, what positive things have you said about men, aside from the fact that you apparently want a husband?

Fair enough if you want to avoid marriage lest you be subject to the "meatgrinder" of divorce (despite the fact that the odds are in your favor).Good Lord, talk about nonsense. Go read Dr. Stephen Baskerville's book, Taken Into Custody, or visit his blog and read his posted material. The odds are in men's favor? Hogwash!

It's just sad that the intepretation you take offers an inevitable "battle of the sexes", whereas the more commonly understood traditional interpretation offers a wife who desires you. Suit yourself.You pose a false dichotomy, one does not preclude the other.

It's ironic that this thread started out as a discussion about wives not having sex with their husbands, who are then tempted to sin (ie. by adultery or sex by force), then becoming a discussion about wives not submitting/respecting their husbands but...My entre into this thread was about women and accountability (or lack thereof) in our culture and the church...