“Taking marriage seriously” – what does that mean for a Christian?

Christian Marriage, divorce, domestic violence, abuse, marital counseling, extramarital affairs


-Taking marriage seriously- means taking the vows seriously and having real consequences for breaking them. The idealists and perfectionists who are trying to turn -marriage- into a protected space for all man.png


My friend, Valerie Jacobsen posted this statement on her Facebook page and I asked permission to share it. I found it powerful, and yet, so contrary to the way marriage is handled in the church – especially when abuse is involved. I’m sick and tired of women being forced by their pastors/elders to bear the brunt of evil in their marriages by staying in their evil and harmful marriages.

I do not believe for a second that it is godly advice for pastors tell abused wives to remain married to their chronically evil and reviling spouses. If marriage is supposed to be representative of Christ and the church, an abusive marriage is a mockery to Christ. It seems that pastors would want to help rid the church of the blot of evil when there is an abuser clinging to his marriage and refusing to change his evil ways.

Women who leave their chronically cheating and/or abusive husbands are saying NO to evil. It is their husbands who abandoned the marriage long ago when they started their evil ways.

We need to stand beside these women and tell them they are free to go when pastors tell them otherwise. Pastors who give this bad advice are not living with this evil. And I’ll bet that they would not say this kind of thing if it were their daughter living with an abuser. Let’s stop this crazy business!




h/t Hannah Smith for image (taken in Hawaii)



192 comments on ““Taking marriage seriously” – what does that mean for a Christian?

  1. BB: Can I ask you point-blank to address Lea’s remark @ 12:58? “Being controlled is not a light burden. I really encourage Bike Bubba to think about this from a perspective of being the one controlled. What is your out? When do you take it?”

    This, to me, is the most important question you’ve been asked in this thread. And I couldn’t possibly be more interested in hearing your answer.

    I would ask in advance that you not tapdance around it by saying that actually no one is controlled because everyone can be free Christ, etc etc etc. The point of the question is for you to imagine that you — like many actual abuse victims (you can see some of this in Christianity Hurts’ posts) — do feel controlled and do feel terrorized by this person who has “authority” over you, who’s an intimate and inescapable presence in your life, and who will be believed by the church if you try to take the dispute to that forum.

    Don’t argue about whether it’s accurate, theologically or factually. Just get in that headspace the best way you know how, and answer Lea’s questions: what is your out? When do you take it?


  2. Ugh, I regret a number of things about that comment. The question very much stands, though, BB! Tone and phrasing, not so much.

    Where’s an edit button when you need one, though? 😦


  3. And I couldn’t possibly be more interested in hearing your answer.

    David, I did notice all of that got skipped. I tend to think that in that theology, there is really no good answer. Much easier to pretend things will just magically be better. But I too would be interested in hearing an attempt at an answer…


  4. Mark,
    Thanks for taking the time to write that out. I have always seen that passage as referring to God placing secular rulers over society (somehow the reference to the sword points me in that direction, and the verse elsewhere that says believers are not to lord it over each other, which is sort of connected in my brain to the word “ruler”).

    While an awful lot of people seem to see “overseer” as ruler, I did find this one little dissenting note at biblehub.com: “Though in some contexts 1985 (epískopos) has been regarded traditionally as a position of authority, in reality the focus is upon the responsibility for caring for others” (L & N, 1, 35.40).

    So many seem to take this authority business as a role of directing others (which implies that the others are not able or perhaps not allowed to direct themselves). When it is not malevolent, it works out to a kind of a benevolent dictatorship.

    Which somehow seems like a negative concept to me.

    I mean, I guess God could be the ultimate dictator. (And is, in the way the fatalistic “sovereignty”-worshippers draw him.) But then there is the mystery of free will.

    Just thinking aloud.

    The thing that gets me about complementarians is that when things go terribly wrong, their answer is that the people aren’t doing it right. Which sounds an awful lot like the way the cult kept us captive. The reason we were unhappy, or frustrated, or dying inside, was because we just weren’t doing it right.


  5. The thing that gets me about complementarians is that when things go terribly wrong, their answer is that the people aren’t doing it right.

    This is exactly it. This is exactly what’s wrong with responses like “when a husband has a wife who will not submit, he does not beat her, does not berate her, etc.. He prays.” They’re just not “doing it right.” Well, there’s a lot of people out there — husbands, church leaders — who just aren’t doing it right. What’s the solution to that? More conferences? More books and teachings? We have abundant examples of how that’s working for us. It isn’t. “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The “benevolent dictator” is rare.

    And the further you get into the bowels of patriarchy, you have women who are being raised with no other options than to be transferred from her father’s authority to her husband’s authority. There is no one to turn to when every male authority in her life happens to be abusive. It’s not enough to say they “aren’t doing it right.” (And even if the husband isn’t abusive, is it right that she is now stuck with someone because her parents chose him from a very small gene pool?)


  6. …given that I’ve never suggested women need to be “trained like a dog”, I am at a loss as to who, or what, you are actually responding to.

    Bubba, the following are your words:

    A man ought to lead his wife, train her in Scripture if he can…

    You said a man ought to “train his wife”. No, you didn’t say “like a dog” — that was my addition, based on how I suspected Christianity Hurts might receive it. I also imagine that it’s the kind of nonsense she heard from her abusers. It seems to be customary for incestuous child rapists to justify their atrocities by claiming they’re “training” the victims to be “proper” “submissive” women. (Christianity Hurts: if I’ve assumed too much about your perceptions or experience, I welcome you to correct me.)

    You really need to think about how words like these will sound to the traumatized and heartbroken. The assumption that a grown woman needs a man to to “train her in Scripture” is highly dubious, in any case. I see no reason why she can’t be taught by the Holy Spirit, the same as all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “I see no reason why she can’t be taught by the Holy Spirit, the same as all of us.”

    Serving Kids in Japan, you are amazing. Thank you 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Bike Bubba, the way you and your group of men talk about wives and daughters is demeaning.

    Headship. This is how men talk about their dogs and sex slaves.
    My father and rapist used these words, oh how loved them. They knew these words hurt and scared me, but men who get turned on by this rhetoric are the kind of men who think it is little girl’s jobs to be hurt, demeaned, and scared to make conservative Christian men feel safer with females.

    If my father was really a good man and powerful he wouldn’t have needed these words because women and little girls would have chosen to love him, respect him, and stay in a relationship with him.

    Can you answer this question, please? Why does your group of men ignore and dismiss everything women, little girls, raped women, and raped little girls tell you about how your ideology causes them great pain and despair?

    Why can’t your group of men decide we can get over ourselves because putting women and little girls through this is selfish and wrong? Why do you have Christianity rigged so we have to care about your wants, feelings, needs, and fears, but you do not have to care about ours?

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Bike Bubba

    You write @ JUNE 22, 2017 @ 1:35 PM…
    “…it’s that male ”leadership” has authority…”

    Was wondering…

    Do you know…
    In the Bible, ”leadership” is NOT mentioned?

    And Jesus has a unique take on ”Leaders” for ”His Disciples?”


    Do you know…
    Jesus taught ”His Disciples” NOT to be called ”Leader?”
    For you have ”ONE” ”Leader?” – the Christ? Mat 23:10 NASB

    And, ”His Disciples” must have believed Jesus – Because, in the Bible…
    NOT one of ”His Disciples” called them self ”Leader.”
    Or church leader. Or christian leader. Or spiritual leader.

    And, NOT one of ”His Disciples” called another Disciple ”Leader.”
    Or church leader. Or christian leader. Or spiritual leader.

    Was wondering…

    Where do you come up with the idea…
    “…male ”leadership” has authority?”

    When, in the Bible…
    NOT one of ”His Disciples” ever mentioned “leadership.”

    And, in the Bible, Jesus taught ”His Disciples” in Mark 10:42-44…
    NOT to “Exercise Authority,” like the Gentiles…

    And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be ”Servant” of ALL.

    NOT ”Leader of ALL” 😉

    Seems, ”leaders,” in the Bible…
    Ain’nt Gots such-a-gud Reputation…

    Isa 3:12 KJV
    …O my people, they which lead thee
    cause thee to err,
    and destroy the way of thy paths.

    Isa 9:16 KJV
    For the leaders of this people
    cause them to err;
    and they that are led of them are destroyed.

    Mat 15:14 KJV
    Let them alone:
    they be ”blind leaders” of the blind.
    And if the blind ”lead the blind,”
    both shall fall into the ditch.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Even on many things where I do agree, I concede that [Wilson’s] style gets him in trouble, and I’ve publicly accused him of playing fast and loose with the Scriptures.

    Just with the Bible? How about with history? And facts, and copyrights… and children’s safety… the welfare of his congregants…

    The list just goes on and on, doesn’t it?

    Wilson actually makes about the same comment; that when a young man specifically wants that authority, it’s time for the girl to run.

    (cue slow, sarcastic clapping) Bra-vo, Wilson.

    And yet, he doesn’t tell people to run from a power-hungry, super-entitled petty tyrant like himself. Odd, that.

    Now Wilson’s had some BIG problems in his realm, no doubt. But that said, the two sides may not be that far apart…

    Bubba, this is a man who officiated the marriage of a convicted pedophile, and who sat on the side of the rapist of a teenage girl in court. Whatever little bones Wilson might toss to placate female readers, in light of his actions those words ring awfully hollow to me. Trust me, Wilson and I are miles apart, and considering that he’s a self-important, ignorant, backwards-thinking fool, that gulf is only going to get wider.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. CH. You deserve so much more than what life and men’s selfishness have thrown at you.

    Yes. You really do. I hope you know I wish you the best.

    Btw, I was concerned at the hints of ‘slavery wasn’t that bad’ and other such rationalizations I was reading yesterday and I almost mentioned that sounded like Doug Wilson.


  12. Hi refugee

    You ask @ JUNE 23, 2017 @ 2:23 PM…
    “What, exactly, does the bible say about authority?”

    Well, Jesus teaches ”His Disciples” NOT to ”Exercise Authority.”
    Yeah – Go figure… 😉

    Trying telling that to ALL those who are call themselves ”Leaders.”
    In “Today’s Corrupt Religious System.”

    ALL those who take “Titles,” ”pastor/leader/reverend,”
    That do NOT exist in the Bible, for one of ”His Disciples.”

    Mark 10:42-44 KJV
    But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them,
    Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles
    ”Exercise Lordship” over them;
    and their great ones
    ”Exercise Authority” upon them.

    43 ”But so shall it NOT be among you:” (His Disciples.)

    but whosoever will be great among you,
    shall be your ”minister:” (minister = diakonos = Servant.)

    44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest,
    shall be ”Servant of ALL.” (Servant = doulos = Bond Slave.)

    Now, Jesus did give ”His Disciples” special ”Authority”
    In the Spirit Realm. 😉

    Luke 9:1 KJV
    Then he called his twelve disciples together,
    and gave them ”power”
    and ”authority”
    over ALL devils,
    and to cure diseases.

    (power = dunamis = miraculous powers)
    (authority = exousia = dominion.)

    Mark 6:7 KJV
    And he called unto him the twelve,
    and began to send them forth by two and two;
    and gave them ”power”
    over unclean spirits;

    (power here is = exousia = authority, dominion.)

    And, best as I can figure…
    WE, His Sheep, His Ekklesia, His Body, His Called Out Ones, His Church…
    Are NOT given power, and authority, over another of ”His Disciples.”

    That’s a Commandment of Men, a Doctrine of Men, a Tradtion of Men…
    That “Makes Void” The Word of God… Mark 7:13…

    What is popular is NOT always “Truth.”
    What is “Truth” is NOT always popular.


  13. I haven’t had the time to read through every single post on here, but I take it that Bubba is defending complementarianism?

    I don’t understand why some Christians defend a gender theology that excludes and is unnecessary for never-married women such as myself.

    Complementarianism is concerned only or primarily with married mothers.

    The Bible does not say anywhere that all women are to submit to all male authority or all men in general. You have one verse (in Ephesians) that is cherry picked, misunderstood and misapplies by complementarians about men and women within marriage… that one or two verses (on married couples) says nothing to or about never married women (and not the divorced or the widowed).

    As a single woman has no need or use of “male headship” or “male authority,” I see no logical reason why a married woman has any need or use for it, either.

    Single women function in life just fine without a male covering, male headship, male leadership, or whatever term you wish to use. So why do comps keep foisting this on to married women? It doesn’t make sense.

    If you’re not going to defend racism (whites are superior to blacks) based on the Bible (as some Christians used to do, but most no longer do this, outside of maybe guys like D. Wilson), why then would you then support or defend the equivalent in regards to women (sexism: male hierarchy, women on lowest rung and must answer to men)?

    I’d also ask Bike Bubba to read some of my blog posts on complementarianism, such as…
    _Even Warm and Fuzy, True, Correctly-Implemented Gender Complementarianism is Harmful to Women, and It’s Still Sexism – Yes All Comps (Refuting “Not All Comps”)_

    Another good, recent one on my blog is this one:
    “The Shifting Goal Posts of Complementarianism Show How Bankrupt It Is”

    “Yes, Complementarianism Infantilizes Women – and the Complementarian Tie-Breaking Vote Doctrine”


  14. Serving Kids quoted Bike Bubba

    Bubba, the following are your words:

    A man ought to lead his wife, train her in Scripture if he can…

    I’ve mentioned my ex fiance’ on previous threads.

    My ex was, in all seriousness (I am not saying this to be cruel) an idiot. The guy could barely read.

    I didn’t realize just how dense he was until a few years into our relationship.

    Sometimes my ex would approach me with a letter he got in the mail, or he’d point to a sign on a store’s door, and ask me to read it to him, because he could not read it for himself.

    So. To Bike Bubba. How exactly is it a woman is supposed to have a man lead her and read Scripture to her, if the dude can barely read? I had to read to my ex, because he was slow. I was more intelligent than my ex.

    Please explain to me how it is you think a guy who is so dim-witted should be in charge of, or lead, or teach his girlfriend or wife the Bible.

    Is there something inherent in a penis that bestows leadership abilities magically into a man? (I’m not seeing the “why” explained by comps for any of this, the ones who don’t dare run to the “chicks are more easily deceived” rationale – that one no longer plays.)

    Then, there are men who are in car accidents or who develop dementia.

    There was a story online a few years ago about a married couple, where the Marine husband came back from Iraq or Afghanistan literally drooling and in a wheelchair because he had been hit by an I.E.D.
    He came back home partially paralyzed, couldn’t talk, and was brain damaged.

    When this man came back home, his wife had to take over ALL responsibilities, because the husband was incapable of doing anything anymore.

    One clue to you that complementarianism is unbiblical and is not God-designed, and is rather a misinterpretation and misapplication of the Bible by Christians, is that complementarianism cannot and does not fit every scenario or life stage a man and woman may find him or herself in.

    Complementarianism only fits a very narrow scope of people and life stages – such as but not limited to – it only fits married couples where the husband can and does work full time, where husband is in good health…
    _A Woman After God’s Own Heart_ – CBE cached version of site


  15. Where are you, Bike Bubba? Lots of questions being sent your way. Seems we’re getting crickets in response. C’mon…I know you’re up to the challenge. 🙂


  16. He might be asleep or busy, Darlene. After all, we all have lives apart from this blog. There are plenty of times I’ve wanted to comment after reading, but work/play/sleep/exhaustion has conspired to stop me.


  17. Good morning everyone! Looks like I’m a little late to the party. Sorry been so busy this week, that I’m just barely getting a chance to catch up with you all now.

    Great discussion. Lots of insightful comments. Just wanted to say that reading all the thoughts you all shared has been fascinating. I’d like to add some thoughts in response to part of the discussion.

    Interesting that you all mentioned Doug Wilson—that guy is a few bricks short of a full load. At best he doesn’t understand the heart of God. At worst, he blatantly defends evil. Yes, that’s the guy that thinks that church discipline is for when the dishes aren’t done fast enough. I have his book on that.

    Many of you know that I love to read history—the crazy thing is that Doug Wilson uses the EXACT SAME arguments from one hundred years ago to defend slavery. This guy is so nuts that he actually blasts the Christian abolitionists who worked to destroy that evil over a hundred years ago. I wish I had more time to post real quotes from him, but I do remember reading something where he was talking about how much damage the Christian abolitionists had caused. He seems to have been deceived by the propaganda machine of the 1800’s which worked to conceal the pure evil that was happening in our nation.

    Now in the discussion, “Christianity Hurts” was asking some really great questions. I’m going to share some thoughts about that in the next comment along with some responses for the interesting points raised by Carmen.


  18. This is a true story:

    William Brisbane(1806-1878) was a southern gentleman living in antebellum America. Born into a prominent family, he was living a comfortable life on a plantation. He didn’t have to work. Everything was taken care of for him. Everything was fine until one morning he went to his mailbox and found something.

    There was a time in American history when the Christians were waging an all out war on the horrific system of slavery. One of their strategies was to mail antislavery pamphlets to plantations, hoping to change hearts and minds. This offended a lot of slaveowners, resulting in riots where angry mobs broke into post offices, ripped open mail bags and destroyed the stacks of abolitionist literature. At one point, Congress had tried to pass laws making it illegal to mail any abolitionist literature to plantations. In the middle of this, one day Brisbane opens his mailbox and realizes that someone anonymously mailed him a copy of the book—The Bible Against Slavery.

    Of course he gets offended. Doesn’t he know the Bible better than whoever wrote this stupid pamphlet? Deciding to write a rebuttal, he opens the pamphlet. Little did he know that reading that pamphlet would turn everything upside down.

    This pamphlet was written by Theodore Weld who had turned down a comfortable pastoring job to lead the antislavery movement. He became known as the “most mobbed man in America” because everywhere he preached, angry mobs would attack, trying to shut down his meetings. Weld wrote extensively about how much the heart of God hated slavery. He had some powerful insights on many of the difficult passages in the Bible such as the one mentioned by Carmen that sounds like God telling masters to beat their slaves. NOOOOOO!! That was a horrific mistranslation, where the Bible translators completely missed everything God said in the passage.

    Exodus 21:20-21 in the literal Hebrew, God was giving the death penalty to slave owners who beat their slaves. If they beat the slave and the slave dies, the literal Hebrew says that the death must be avenged, meaning the master would be put to death for committing murder. That was shocking to that culture because it put the same level of value on the slave’s life as the master’s.

    In other passages, if the master hit the servant, causing him to lost a tooth, that loss had to be avenged by letting the servant go free. Now the same God that gave the Ten Commandments (You shalt not kill) also in the same passage gave slave traders the death penalty in Exodus 21:16.

    The Apostle Paul referenced that law in 1Timothy 1:9-10, writing that law was intended to punish these types of evil “lawless and disobedient” slave traders described as “man-stealers.”

    Reading all of this made Brisbane realize that he couldn’t be both a Christian and a slaveowner. If he really wanted to follow the Bible he was going to have to turn his life upside down. That’s exactly what happened. Selling everything that he owned, he paid for everyone on his plantation to move to the free state of Ohio. Then he hired a lawyer to go through the legal process of recording their freedom. That decision cost him everything. He was ostracized by his community, told never to return to his hometown. He would have to go work a real job instead of living off the work of others. He would also devote the rest of his life to helping others on the Underground Railroad until the Civil War came and “our country was redeemed from the curse of slavery by the blood of many a battlefield.”

    Brisbane also did an extensive study into the literal Hebrew and Greek of the Bible, writing a full book, detailing how the Apostle Paul NEVER condoned slavery or told slaves to obey masters. He was telling those that serve to respect those in charge. Then he encouraged slaves to gain their freedom if possible. Now if anyone wants the historical sources here’s a link to the actual book published by Brisbane in 1847.


    Here’s a link to an 1840 speech he gave, ripping apart all the proslavery arguments. Doug Wilson really needs to read both these links!


    Liked by 1 person

  19. Bike Bubba

    You write @ JUNE 22, 2017 @ 1:35 PM…
    “In the church, my view is that “leadership” ought to be male
    simply because God said so…

    Was wondering…

    Where? In the Bible? does God say so?
    That “leadership” ought to be male?
    ”In the church?”

    When you say “church.” – And I say ”Church.”

    It jus ain’t da sam ting… 😉


  20. Paul spends a lot of time commending his sisters in christ who were deacons, running house churches, etc. that sound like ‘leadership’ to me!!

    Then he encouraged slaves to gain their freedom if possible.

    Avid reader, I loved the story you shared! Yes absolutely he did. Why would we think he felt any differently about wives who are being treated as slaves?

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Bike Bubba

    Seems, in the Bible…
    WE, His Sheep, His Ekklesia, His Body, His Called Out Ones, His Church…
    Can find those who are ”Sons of God,” and ”Born of The Spirit,”
    Being ”Led by the Spirit of God.”

    BUT… NEVER “led” by a ”Mere Fallible Human.”

    Rom 8:14 RSV
    For ALL who are ”led by the Spirit of God”
    are sons of God.

    John 3:8 RSV
    The ”wind” blows where it wills, (wind = pneuma = breath, Spirit.)
    and you hear the sound of it,
    but you do not know whence it comes
    or whither it goes; so it is with
    ”Every One who is Born of the Spirit.”

    Seems, in the Bible…
    WE, His Sheep, His Ekklesia, His Body, His Called Out Ones, His Church…
    Can find Jesus, teaching ”His Disciples,” ”To Follow Him – Jesus.”

    BUT, Jesus, NEVER teaches ”His Disciples,” to follow a…
    ”Mere Fallible Human.”

    Mat 4:19 KJV
    ” Follow ME,” and ”I” will make you fishers of men.

    John 10:27
    ”MY sheep” hear MY voice… and ”they Follow ME:”

    John 12:26
    If any man serve ME, ”let him Follow ME”

    You write…
    “leadership” ought to be male simply because God said so…


    Seems, in the Bible…
    WE, His Sheep, His Ekklesia, His Body, His Called Out Ones, His Church…
    Need NO Middle Man…
    And… Can ”Go Directly To”

    The “ONE” Shepherd
    The “ONE” Teacher
    The “ONE” Leader

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Carmen raised an interesting point—what about the Bible verses supposedly telling women to be silent in church? Let’s dig deeper on that.

    We have a real problem with Bible translators and scholars who couldn’t handle how many times God honors strong women in the Bible. Take the story of Jael for example. General Sisera attacks Israel, trying to capture a whole bunch of women as plunder and he gets taken down by one woman with nothing more than a bottle of milk and a tent peg! Gotta love the story of how Jael outsmarts this well trained military general. But the Bible translators tried to make that look like a mistake.

    Then they just plain deleted the story of Jesus saving the woman from the angry mob trying to stone her. That story offended them so they deleted it from the text! Fortunately, later scholars recognized the heart of God and added that story back into the text.

    Then there are Bible scholars who couldn’t handle how many times the heart of God honors powerful women. So they changed the verses about powerful women to be about “virtuous” women—case in point—Proverbs 31:10 is actually about how valuable powerful women are.

    So we come to the New Testament where Jesus not only encouraged women to speak in church, He rebuked the Pharisees for complaining about it. (Luke 14:10-17) When a woman interrupted Jesus’ sermon, it was the perfect time for Him to say that women should be silent if that’s what He wanted! NOOOOOOO…..He only corrected her theology, He never told women to be quiet. (Luke 11:27-28)

    In fact, Jesus valued listening to women so much that He made the synagogue leader sit there and listen to another woman talk for as long as she wanted even though the synagogue leader was in the biggest hurry of his life. (Mark 5:33) When that passage says she told Jesus everything, think about how long it took and how long the synagogue leader had to wait while she told Jesus everything!

    Then there’s the Apostle Paul who was actually advocating for women to speak up in church when he wrote those famous verses. What’s hard to see in the text is that Paul was answering a question in 1Cor 14. First he encourages women to speak up in verse 26 and 31. Then he answers the objection that some people want women silent in church. He’s quoting their question that they want women to be silent.

    In the Greek, (verse 36) there’s an explosion from Paul when he responds, WHAT? ARE YOU CRAZY? Do you really think that God only speaks to you (the ones trying to silence women)?

    Then for the THIRD time in the same chapter, verse 39, Paul again says that EVERYONE INCLUDING WOMEN should be encouraged to speak up in church.

    There’s so many verses in the Bible encouraging women to speak up that I’m shocked anyone in the church would still try to silence us. Don’t get me started on 1Corinthians 11. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  23. Avid Reader. Wow! You said —

    “When a woman interrupted Jesus’ sermon, it was the perfect time for Him to say that women should be silent if that’s what He wanted! NOOOOOOO…..He only corrected her theology, He never told women to be quiet. (Luke 11:27-28)

    “In fact, Jesus valued listening to women so much that He made the synagogue leader sit there and listen to another woman talk for as long as she wanted even though the synagogue leader was in the biggest hurry of his life. (Mark 5:33) When that passage says she told Jesus everything, think about how long it took and how long the synagogue leader had to wait while she told Jesus everything!”



  24. Avid Reader, you said —
    “So we come to the New Testament where Jesus not only encouraged women to speak in church, He rebuked the Pharisees for complaining about it. (Luke 14:10-17) ”

    I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying there. Where is the evidence that women were complaining about women speaking in the gathered assembly of God’s people?


  25. And my last response to Avid Reader’s brilliant comment. Avid Readers said: —

    “Then there’s the Apostle Paul who was actually advocating for women to speak up in church when he wrote those famous verses. What’s hard to see in the text is that Paul was answering a question in 1Cor 14. First he encourages women to speak up in verse 26 and 31. Then he answers the objection that some people want women silent in church. He’s quoting their question that they want women to be silent.

    “In the Greek, (verse 36) there’s an explosion from Paul when he responds, WHAT? ARE YOU CRAZY? Do you really think that God only speaks to you (the ones trying to silence women)?

    “Then for the THIRD time in the same chapter, verse 39, Paul again says that EVERYONE INCLUDING WOMEN should be encouraged to speak up in church.”

    Have you read Phillip Payne’s book on men and women? Payne is Egalitarian. As far as I recall, Payne examines and rejects the idea that when Paul wrote ….
    “The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says. If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church.” …
    Paul was quoting a statement made by the Corinthians, in order to then denounce it and castigate the Corinthians for having believed such a wicked idea.


  26. Thanks Avid Reader, about telling us about the slaveowner Mr Brisbane who came to realise that as he could not be slaveowner and a Christian so he set his slaves free. 🙂

    Revelation 18:13 talks about how those who enslave others and profit from slavery will mourn for the downfall of Babylon:

    Rev 18:11-13 (CSB) “The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over [Babylon], because no one buys their cargo any longer — cargo of gold, silver, jewels, and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk, and scarlet; all kinds of fragrant wood products; objects of ivory; objects of expensive wood, brass, iron, and marble; cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh,† and frankincense; wine, olive oil, fine flour, and grain; cattle and sheep; horses and carriages; and slaves ​— ​human lives.

    HUMAN LIVES. Those who trade in or selfishly profit from slavery are outside the Kingdom of God. In OT Law, Israelites who treated their slaves unjustly were strongly condemned by God. Slavery in Ancient Israel was normally only for a certain number of years and after that the slave was free. Slavery in that system was a way that an impoverished person could work off a debt — which is a far better system than incarcerating the person in debtor’s prison where they had no hope of getting out unless someone kindly paid their debt for them.

    Men who enslave their wives by coercively controlling and intimidating them and demanding that the wife treat her husband like he is God, are outside the Kingdom of God. Churches and church leaders who endorse / teach / enable such wickedness are violating God’s precepts.

    Revelation 21:5-8 (CSB) “Then the one seated on the throne said, ‘Look, I am making everything new.’ He also said, ‘Write, because these words are faithful and true.’ Then he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will freely give to the thirsty from the spring of the water of life. The one who conquers will inherit these things, and I will be his God, and he will be my son. But the cowards, faithless, detestable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars ​— ​their share will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.’ “


  27. Barbara,

    Thank you for catching my typo! Luke 13:10-17 is the correct reference where Jesus actually causes a woman to speak up in church. This is where Jesus heals the woman who was crippled for eighteen years. Immediately she begins praising God. The Pharisees are furious.

    Think about that for a moment. Women aren’t allowed to speak in the synagogue. Jesus is breaking the rules. Yes, He could have healed her on any other day, but He is making a point by waiting until they were in the synagogue where women aren’t allowed to speak and then causing her to launch into a big speech glorifying God.

    When the Pharisees get mad, Jesus defends her—attacking the double standards of that culture. These Pharisees prided themselves on being sons of Abraham. Jesus makes the point that as a daughter this lady has every right to her healing and freedom as they felt entitled to. There’s so much food for thought in that one verse.

    Think about all the double standards Jesus is ripping apart by elevating her to the same level of value as the Pharisees. Jesus is slamming them for not valuing her needs. Jesus is elevating daughters to the same privilege level as sons. Then Jesus labels them as hypocrites for the specific reason that they didn’t want her to be freed from oppression. There’s so much to see in this passage if we slow down and absorb each part.

    Here again we see the heart of God:
    “Where the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.”
    2Cor 3:17 (BSB)

    (And yes that Phillip Barton Payne book is a great book—Man and Woman One In Christ. It has a really intense study on the Hebrew and Greek.)

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Avid Reader, I am so loving your comments about valuing women. I think I’d like to compile them. People need to be reminded of these. Thank you so much!


  29. Thanks Avid Reader. Yes, in Luke 13:10-17 Jesus actually causes a woman to speak up in the synagogue. And while I think it’s likely that the Pharisees were annoyed about the woman speaking in the synagogue, the text doesn’t say actually that they were annoyed about that. The text only says the Pharisees were annoyed that Jesus healed her on the Sabbath.

    Furthermore, from my pretty wide reading, I’ve gathered that there is NO extra-biblical documentary evidence that the Jews around the time of the first century had a law that ‘women were not to speak in the assembly’. So I’m reluctant to affirm that that women not speaking in the assembly was a Jewish law. The only mention of that being a law is that verse in 1 Cor. 14. Maybe some dominating people in the Corinthian church had simply written in a letter to Paul that ‘the law says women must not speak in the assembly’ — but they were making a wild assertion which was not supported by the majority of either pagan or Jewish or Christian communities….


  30. Avid Reader and Barbara, thank you so much for the discussion of women in the New Testament, especially pertaining to the life of Christ.


  31. refugee, yes, Romans 13 is specifically the civil magistrate/civil government. However, the question is how does authority work in general.

    When God gives us a command, we bear the responsibility to fulfill that command, but in addition, we are given the authority to obey that command. That, of course, creates some of the biggest rabbit trails in theology, such as, if a comp. wife is told by her non-Christian that she cannot attend church, what is she to do?

    So, the question is, what authority structures did God create, what responsibility do they have and what can they do to those who reject their authority.

    For example, parents are given responsibility to provide for and train their children. They are given the authority to correct their children and make decisions that bind their children. Their children are told to obey (I think using the most comprehensive word ‘obey’ in the original languages) their parents. This has been called the family sphere. The Head of Household (parents/father/mother) makes binding decisions, like moving, buying/selling property, schooling, etc., that affect the family.

    The state has the responsibility of encouraging righteousness and discouraging sin. I believe this is explicitly “public” righteousness and sin – that bedroom laws go beyond the rights of the state. Based on Biblical principles, the state should praise those who exemplify good citizenship, and punish those who cause harm. The political parties generally differ on the definition of harm.

    The church has the responsibility of protecting and healing the flock, while proclaiming the truth. The church has the authority to accept those into membership* who profess faith, and to reject those from membership who demonstrate by their actions that they do not belong in the church. *membership does not necessarily mean in the local body.

    This would be the “three spheres” view of authority. I believe that sinfully, each of the spheres tries to encroach on the other spheres’ rights and responsibilities. For example, the state trying to restrict bedroom behavior, the state using tax-exempt status to muzzle churches, families pushing “family integrated churches” on their local churches, churches telling married couples they cannot divorce, families refusing to get birth certificates for their kids, and so on. This is somewhat backed up by the interaction between Samuel (a judge and priest) and Saul (the king) over Saul’s offering sacrifices for the Israelites.

    Much of this is foreign to Americans, since culturally there is a big emphasis on charismatic leadership. So, then, the idea is that the director holds the authority, but delegates the responsibility. His underling then has the responsibility of producing some product, but cannot actually do anything without his director’s approval. The manager role is then, essentially, to browbeat the individual contributors and pass messages back and forth between them and the directors who make the decisions. In the church, that shows up as the myriad volunteer organizers and committee chairpersons who get micromanaged by the leaders.


  32. Regarding the original post, I believe that if people want to encourage people have healthy Christian marriages, they need to focus more on basic Christian ethics, and less on so-called gender roles.

    By this I mean, focusing on what the Bible (and particularly the teachings of Jesus) tell us about how we are to treat our fellow human beings and our brothers and sisters in the faith. Treat others as you would want to be treated (I want to be treated with respect and kindness). Love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself (your spouse being your closest neighbor). Exercise the fruits of the Spirit — love, patience, kindness, gentleness, etc. Apply these principals across the board to both husbands and wives. Of course both spouses have to practice these principals in order for it to work.

    Be each other’s best friend. Neither needs to exercise authority or power over the other. If you really care for and respect each other, you will be able to come to a consensus on major decisions that affect you both. No tie-breaker vote needed.


  33. @Barbara, there’s pretty good evidence that much of Corinthians is a response to a letter written to Paul asking questions. I heard a sermon where “Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman.” is taken as the question written to Paul. In other words, Paul is not saying “it is good for a man not to touch a woman”, but he’s answering a question presumably about whether husbands and wives should abstain and Christians should avoid marriage.

    Given that this phrase is hard to understand as being the question or the answer to the question, it could easily be that Paul is repeating their question. It’s somewhat of a non-sequitur if that is not the case. For example:

    “But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved.” (1 Cor 11:5) – Paul establishes that women pray and prophesy, and that is in the context of “coming together” (vs 17)

    “Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.” (1 Cor 14:1) – A command given to all readers, not merely men.

    “Therefore if the whole church assembles together and all speak in tongues, and ungifted men or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are mad? But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all; the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you.” (14:23-25) – This is again, specifically in the context of the gathering for worship.

    So, I think “women should be silent” (14: 34-35) would be completely incongruent with the instruction so far if it wasn’t Paul quoting the statement he received in order to respond to it. Why would Paul specifically talk about women praying and prophesying in his instructions on head coverings, encourage all readers to seek the gift of prophesy, encourage them (ALL) to use that gift as a witness to Christians and non-Christians alike, and then say, “oh, and by the way, women should shut up.” Makes no sense.


  34. they need to focus more on basic Christian ethics, and less on so-called gender roles

    The Wary Witness, I completely agree with you, not just about marriage but in general. Teach people to be kind. Patient. Truthful. These are universal and will help any relationship, not just a marriage.

    Focus on gender roles, seems to help NO relationships that I can see! It can only hurt.


  35. Hi Mark, it sounded like you were asking me a direct question in your last comment (your sentence beginning “Why….?” )

    Personally speaking, I have not come to a firm conclusion about the best way to understand 1 Cor 14:34-35. So I can’t answer that question of yours.

    If you asked me to hazard a tentative opinion, I think that possibly the best theory about those two verses is that they were interpolated later into the text by a number of scribes copying the letter and copying the copy of the letter… There is pretty strong evidence that that might have been the case.


  36. I came to the conclusion that this is glorified ear-tickling. If a pastor actually preached about kindness, respect, generosity, truth, etc., then people might be challenged and leave, taking their tithe money with them. Instead, pastors focus on us vs. them and maintaining the church power structure. So, we hear why our church is better than the one down the street and across town, we hear why we should trust the pastor and the elders, we hear why we shouldn’t listen to each other when we talk theology, we hear why we’re so much better than those non-Christians out there.

    Jeff Crippen said the other part really well, “redemption through suffering”. Jesus said, “I desire compassion and not sacrifice”, yet again in the ear-tickling church, we’re taught that sacrificing (e.g. gender roles) for the good of the “truth” is what God calls us to do.

    My new church focuses on following God’s heart rather than doing his will. It’s the difference between preaching on the street corner and giving food to someone in need.


  37. Read the commentary here.

    A. Amos Love,
    You made my whole Sunday – once again, another terrific Bible study! God Bless you, sir!

    Funny thing happened the farm……the tractors/trucks/machinery really don’t care which gender operates them, the goal is getting the job done in a timely manner with minimal malfunctions; the animals really don’t care which gender feeds them, the goal is to keep them healthy until market time comes around, the weeds in the fields really don’t care which gender exterminates them, the goal is to get rid of as many as possible to insure increased productivity, the yard and flower gardens really don’t care which gender tends to them, for the goal is to tend to the beauty our LORD has created, etc.

    Of all of the sociological aspects of cultures, it seems as though those who profess to know Jesus, and Him crucified and resurrected, within the constructs of the Christian industrial complex, are the ones who are consumed with gendership, leadership, authority, and lordship over others. Funny how Christianity has digressed.

    To this day, I still haven’t had one leader/authoritarian get down on their hands and knees (as Jesus did) and wash my dirty and calloused feet, complete with field/garden dirt in my toenails. (Now that paints a pretty picture, does it not? Smile!


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