Theology and Politics from a Conservative, Biblical Perspective
The men on the platform behind Moore are simply deferring to her and providing tacit approval to her preaching to crowds of men and women.
There is virtually no difference between what Beth Moore does compared to what the men standing behind her in the photo do. They all stand before mixed gender crowds, exhorting, teaching, and preaching from the Bible. Does God approve?
Some believe that it is biblical for both men and women to teach both genders authoritatively. Others see a number of red flags and these have been brought out in the first two installments of this series, here and here. Readers are encouraged to read those sections before this one in order to gain an understanding regarding biblical gender roles in the home and church. Ultimately, each student of the Bible is responsible to search the Scriptures themselves to determine what it actually states (Acts 17).
We have already highlighted what we believe are the problems related to women in positions of authority over men. We would like to unreservedly repeat that women are extremely important, valuable, and fully equal to men. They are not less than and certainly not slaves to men and should never be treated as such. Women were created to complement men, to literally be help-meets.
Let’s determine what the Bible states about the role of the man in the home and in the local church. What is the man’s actual role? Too often, it is thought that men are the “kings” of the castle and whatever the man says is what a woman must do; end of discussion. Is this even close to biblical reality? Not at all.
In order to understand the actual role of the man who holds leadership positions in the church or as the spiritual head of the home, we must look to Scripture. By way of introduction, we’ll look first to Ephesians 5, starting with verse 1, not verse 22.
1 Therefore, be imitators of God as dearly loved children 2 and live in love*, just as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God. 3 But among you there must not be either sexual immorality, impurity of any kind, or greed, as these are not fitting for the saints. 4 Neither should there be vulgar speech, foolish talk, or coarse jesting – all of which are out of character – but rather thanksgiving. 5 For you can be confident of this one thing: that no person who is immoral, impure, or greedy (such a person is an idolater) has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. – Ephesians 5:1-5 NET; (literally, live a life of loving)
If we look at the above verses, certain things should be apparent. All Christians – both men and women – are to be imitators of God. Paul defines that concept for us beginning with verse 2 and following.
A person who imitates God…
Men – husbands – do you live as described by Paul? Do you live sacrificially as far as your wife and children are concerned or do you spend time “laying down the law” and expecting them to ask “how high?” when you say “Jump!”? This is simply wrong because it is not biblical.
The husband/father/church leader must live in a way that places his wife and family second only to Jesus and makes all decisions based on what is best for them. In order to live such a life, the Christian man must avoid the things in the three other bullets and live a life of praise to God as noted in the final bullet. At the same time, the man is not necessarily supposed to make all decisions without his wife’s input. Just as any CEO has a board of advisers, so to does the husband or church leader also need input from others.
What attracted me to the woman who became my wife was not only her beauty, but her intelligence, inner strength, and certainly, her love for the Lord. When I first met her, she was finishing up her studies for her masters degree in the educational field. My wife knows how to make decisions. She is not an idiot. I trust her and she trusts me. In fact, she trusts me enough to allow me to lead.
Because of her trust I have tremendous responsibilities to never misuse my God-given authority or her willingness to allow me to take the lead position. For her to allow me to lead speaks to the fact that she has tremendous strength in herself and faith in God. In other words, my wife is secure. For a women of her intelligence and strength to be willing to allow me to lead says a great deal about her. Hopefully, after 31 years of marriage, it says something about me as well.
When we have decisions to make, we discuss things. We look at all sides of the issue together. Sometimes, we table things because we know we don’t have enough information to move ahead. Other times, we move ahead on something. When all is said and done, being the husband/leader that God wants men to be means that men must develop humility.
It often goes without saying that we are all familiar with Ephesians 5:22, which states, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord” (KJV). In the next two verses, Paul explains why this is the case. He says, “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”
This was not a cultural issue. It is biblical fact that stands until eternity future begins. Paul says the husband is the head of the wife. But the next verses are just as important as the ones quoted above.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it… (Ephesians 5:25 KJV)
So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. (Ephesians 5:28 KJV)
It is impossible to truly love another person unless you are also willing to, in some sense, sacrifice your own wants and needs for theirs. Men – husbands and leaders in the church – we have an obligation to love our wives just as Jesus Himself loves His own (the Church). To truly love someone, there must be at least a willingness to sacrifice for them.
Paul tells the husband that their number one priority (after Jesus), is their wife. Men must dedicate themselves to loving their wives to the extent that they would be willing to sacrifice his own wants for hers. This is not the picture of a self-styled Lord of the manor, who sits by the fireplace with pipe in hand reading the newspaper while the wife tends to her husband’s every whim and need. The only way to get here is to simply focus on Ephesians 5:22 and ignore everything else. But God has provided two sides to the issue, both of which need to be honored.
Think about something. The more headstrong, demanding, and dictatorial a man is, the less he will be loved, trusted, or appreciated. He will only be feared. Is this how we view Jesus? Do we fear Him or do we love Him? In some sense, we should have reverential fear for Christ’s position as God Almighty, yet we should also know that we are thoroughly loved by Him (Romans 8, as one example). He is God, but He is certainly approachable by those who know Him (Hebrews 4:16).
I’ve met couples where it is patently clear that the wife is the boss in that home. It’s very easy to picture the husband asking, “How high?” when his wife says “Jump!” Women like that are what we might call “high-maintenance” and very demanding in their own way about everything. The husband of that woman soon learns that if he wants any peace at all in the home, he will do everything that is demanded of him without question or there will be serious repercussions.
I’ve also seen couples where the man is the dedicated tyrant in the home. He is King and anyone who would suggest that he isn’t will have to answer to him. Normally, wives in this type of relationship are constantly on edge, filled with anxiety, and over time, either have nervous breakdowns or die inside. Maybe they begin to self-medicate as well. It’s not a pretty sight. We men need to care for our wives sacrificially.
The husband who truly loves his wife and shows it has her undying support. As I’ve stated, my wife allows me to lead. Have we ever argued? Unfortunately, yes. Have things been said that were stupid? Yes, largely on my part. However, I’ve always admitted my failures to my wife and she has always been gracious enough to forgive. In that way, she is very much like Jesus who also forgives upon sincere confession (1 John 1:9). When my wife does that, I want to love her more. It is the same with our relationship with Christ, or should be.
God has never eradicated the complementary roles for men and women in society, in the home or in the church. This does not mean though that because men are the spiritual head of the home, they are somehow better. This is not the case. Men are the spiritual heads of the home solely because of the reasons Paul points out in his letter to Timothy and in Ephesians above. Adam (man) was created first with Eve (woman) created second. Eve sinned by being deceived. The man is the head in the home as Christ is the Head of His Church. Being “in” Christ but still living here in this dimension does not wipe out these facts. Adam did quite a lot before God saw fit to improve Adam’s life with Eve. She was literally made for Adam as a help-meet to him. Adam was not made for Eve, but the man certainly benefits from the woman’s presence.
Men – husbands, church leaders – we have an obligation to live as Jesus lived. In fact, all Christians have an obligation to live as Jesus lived. In our churches, we are told to defer to the spiritual leaders of that church who are over us as teachers and pastors (Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 2:13; and Romans 12 – 15). Their job is to care for the flock and they do this through acts of submission to God (prayer, sacrifice, hours spent studying, preaching, teaching, visiting the sick and elderly, etc.). These are all sacrifices that they willingly do for the sake of the local body. Yet, the pastor is still considered the leader or spiritual head of that body under Christ, even as he is a servant. While the pastor is the head of the local church, he is not head over my personal family. However, if he is teaching biblical truths, then I must submit myself to his teaching.
Husbands, we are to love our wives yo the point that we would be willing to sacrifice our lives for them, just as Jesus sacrificed His life for His Body, the Church. It is not impossible to be the head of the home and the sacrificial servant at the same time. In fact, it is the biblical mandate for husbands and Christian leaders.