Arguing About Gender Leadership

I was recently falsely accused of not researching a certain theology – Grr! Evidence provided here to show my diligence. Click to enlarge

I was recently approached by the author of a paper that explains how he thinks the woman is designed [by God] to lead men, and inviting me to peruse his materials. Biblical teaching is widely viewed as contending that it is the male who is accountable; has responsibility and therefore has the spiritual authority to lead. Adam created and thus Eve fulfilling the ‘servant/help-meet’ role. Always one to explore, I took up Ken Brix’s offer and when he sought my feedback, I obliged. It didn’t go down well with his [false] accusations of failing to research. Here is the lengthy exchange. While I do not approve of male chauvinism per se and find feminism obnoxious, I do subscribe to the [mainstream Christian] viewpoint that genders have different god-given roles and that in the context of natural justice, if a man must be accountable for his family to his Creator then he must have His authority to lead it. HOW this should be done is another story but the core principle of male spiritual authority has my vote. It follows logically then, that Ken and I must agree to disagree. Here is the argument outworked in our emails and his online resource. Enjoy, and feel free to dive into discussion if you wish . . . men only to contribute please, of course* . . .

Here’s Ken Brix’s initial communication – initiated BTW from my ongoing critique of Victor Hafichuk’s Path of Truth ‘ministry ‘ (or cult depending on your take of him)

Hi Dennis,

You wrote a really great critique on “the Path of Truth” boys, which made me quite interested in you.

While I don’t agree with Ken I really do appreciate people taking the time to do some basic research. It’s one of the practices that many “Talking Heads” seem to avoid, so top marks to a guy who digs deeper.

Actually, they do have a lot of truth, but as you say they are uncivil, self righteous, and arrogant in the extreme. Bad boys in that respect.

This type of communication is one of the things that comes from blogging. When you write for or to ‘one’ person online, you MUST recognise that others will eventually read it and often relationships will develop from there. There is also more than one dimension to words as Ken has incidentally revealed here – one is that it is HOW we talk that catches attention just as much as WHAT we say.

Victor Hafichuk and Paul Cohen may be 99.9% right but because they are (as Ken says) “uncivil, self righteous, and arrogant in the extreme” he writes them off as “bad boys”. This is not totally logical because we shouldn’t shoot the messenger BUT it is perfectly natural, nonetheless! This has great importance here because Ken and I can generally communicate respectfully (he gets a bit ‘grumpy’ at times) but we give each other the space to ‘agree to disagree’. Not so with Path of Truth!

You stated that you “reject the popular teaching of eternal torture in ‘hell’ but stop well short of universalism.” That’s where I was for many years, but God has graced me with proof of universalism— more proofs that you will find anywhere else. (If you’re interested.)

It’s actually taught from Genesis to Revelation, believe it or not.

I passed on Ken’s offer here. I ran only with his treatise on ‘Biblical’ Marriage. For the record there is dissent within the mainstream Christian academic community over the concept of hardcore eternal torture in hell and the damnation stuff. It’s not as simple as presented in the MSM or dogmatic/light-touch preachers. Universalism is the concept that everything will be united and saved at the end. It’s a continuum not a rigid belief and there is dissent on this one too as the scriptures do talk about the reconciliation of ALL things. The idea though that we are going to share Heaven with a bunch of unrepentant rapists and murderers doesn’t come easy to most! There is a middle ground that can be validated somewhat with scripture, hence my summary that Ken quoted.

Would you be interested in “The True Biblical Marriage,” a 12 page article I wrote?

“Anyone who uncovers what the Bible actually teaches concerning God’s ideal marriage will find it so ‘radical’ by today’s standards that they may, understandably, hesitate to believe it, much less apply it to their marriage.

“Indeed, you the reader may ultimately end up not agreeing with my conclusions, but even so you will have to concede that I have offered much evidence in support of them, something that people frequently do not do. Ultimately, all of us have nothing to lose and much to gain by learning God’s truth and applying it to our lives.”

I would be happy to share with you this article if you’re interested. The above is merely part of my introduction. You need only ask.

Kenneth Brix

So ask, I did.

Yes please Kenneth
Anything you have will interest me and especially if it has proof (as you say)/
One thing I am also interested is your understanding of “the other side” of an argument or an issue. Many can present their belief and validate it but cannot (more often DO not) handle detractors…

Kenneth supplied me with the text THE BIBLICAL MARRIAGE making note that:

… the true biblical marriage is quite another thing. It’s radical therefore more difficult to be accepted.
I don’t consider Ken’s teaching to be best described as radical, more like . . . just wrong, certainly from the Christian perspective.
He sent it to me. Not wanting to assume anything too much I checked with Ken what he wanted from me:
> What do you want from me in return?
To which Ken replied:
​Mmm. A good critique? Find error? Share TBM [The Biblical Marriage] with others, perhaps?
So Ken said that he wanted feedback, potential criticism and exposure. Happy to help you Ken. Here goes.
The Core teaching material/paper/article is online at Ken’s own resource page, which I’ve also copied here. I haven’t published everything here but there is quite a bit.
The following threads contain:
  1. Quotes from Ken’s original article dealing with them in order of the original article [blockquoted plain text KB[TBM]] – enough to get a good feel for his thinking and theology, but not all;
  2. My initial response [blockquoted italic text, DS:] – in summary agreeing with a lot of peripheral stuff but not the core contention;
  3. Ken’s rebuttal of my rebuttal [blockquoted bold text, KB:] – which simply argues back at virtually everything;
  4. My final comments here [standard text] – hopefully helpful to others, as I suspect that Ken’s already made up his mind.
There are two things I regret – first is that I forgot and confused Kenneth’s name and this obviously caused him an issue. Sorry Ken. I did use Ken correctly half a dozen times and Keith [incorrectly] six times. My bad!
The second is that I used an analogy of a butterfly to describe how I saw Ken reacting to his newfound revelation(s). Knowing the writer more now, I would have been more intellectual and man-like simply stating the facts without floury word-pictures. It’s not that these are life-and-death matters but  they would be changes I would have made, doing it all again.
By way of explanation I spent several hours reading and digesting Ken’s work (it’s quite a lot!) and got his name right a few times while responding. After a break I returned and got his name wrong. As I was writing it I wondered whether I had remembered his name correctly, checked it and found out I was wrong, changed it from Keith to Ken and carried on. I didn’t back-check for all instances of Keith. Oops! Mistake.
On the other matter of using a butterfly analogy, sometimes people respond to word-pictures well; and other times better to straight-shooting and logic. Ken’s clearly in the latter camp, firmly. Not an error as such but certainly something I would do differently.

The Core Assertion

So, always ready to listen to good logic (I had noted that Ken’s paper had logic and scriptural references at the outset) and even though they may be ‘fringe’ in theology, I dived in to hear what the man was saying. My responses show how I digested the ideas, and how I tested them against the core tenets of the bible, and then gave my take.
Boiling it all down, Ken believes that the woman has spiritual authority over the man and that this is God’s doing – His intent. He came to this conclusion through revelation (“God opened my eyes”) and he has brought concepts such as the resulting good that has come from the fall, and some selected verses that justify his assertion.
In his last communication he explained to me this revelatory experience:

Hi Dennis,

Back in 1990 at 3:30 in the morning I was meditating upon Ephesians 5:23-24. At this time God opened my eyes to these scriptures to see them in a way I never saw them previously! Verse 24 reads that wives are to be subject to their husbands “as the church is subject unto Christ.” THAT is how wives are to obey their husbands!

Now, how is the church — God’s people — “subject unto Christ”?

Did you ever consult Christ in prayer or in the Scriptures as to what tie you should wear with a particular shirt you like? Did you ever consult Christ as to what color to paint your house? Did you ever consult Christ as to how often you should bathe? Did you ever consult Christ as to the best brand of peanut butter to buy?

NO — of course not. These are domestic matters, not spiritual, and not found in God’s Word. Wives are to be subject to their husbands concerning “everything” in God’s Word (verse 24) — which is the way the church is “subject unto Christ.” It is sooooooooooo simple.

Well so too is error simple!

Take for example, “God said. The tempter said!”

Make your choice. Simple!

Ken continues::

And yet Paul Cohen asked me:

“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22 MKJV). Does the Lord not rule over all aspects of the woman’s life? So it is for the husband, to whom the wife submits as her head.

“Over all aspects of the woman’s life?”

This is absurd.

Ken is here referring to an interchange he had had with Paul Cohen of Path of Truth [online] Ministries where he quotes Paul and mocks him calling Paul’s words “absurd”. Absurd it may be if taken to ridiculous extremes (which I hasten to add I do not endorse), but absurdity and God seem to go together – absurdity to bring a King as a sacrificial Lamb?

The Exchanges

I wrote to Ken with my observations. It was quite a commitment:

Hi Ken
I have digested your treatise and have a lot more to say about it now. I include critique including notes on where I think you err. If I was to share with others it would be seen to be essentially negative. I don’t think that will be beneficial to your writing career which I view has having potential, thus have not shared publicly at this stage even though I know that you have.
Let’s get started.
First, thanks for giving me the opportunity to comment. I appreciate the honour.
Secondly, As you know I write from the perspective of a truthseeker, therefore Christian. I’ve found the scriptures to contain truth and of course Christ claimed to be the Truth. I concur that this is reality.
Thirdly I attempt to write balancing truth with love. I find the coldness and harshness of truth alone ungodly; the correct balance with love according to Christ’s example should be death of self. I trust that my time spent working through this document (and my burned porrige this morning) is demonstration of that. I start a little harsh and direct even confontational. I then deal with the core issues more constructively and conclude a little more concilatory – that’s just the process of learning and understanding you and the issues outworking itself as I have written
Lastly, I conclude with comments complimenting you personally. I mean them; I see potential and am happy to engage as you so wish. While I disagree with your core assertion and the extent of your prescription I can agree to disagree. Much of what you say is clear and as I see it totally correct.
Ken replied:

KB: Now my “rebuttal to your rebuttal”.
Your words:

DS: Lastly, I conclude with comments complimenting you personally. I mean them; I see potential and am happy to engage as you so wish. While I disagree with your core assertion and the extent of your prescription I can agree to disagree. Much of what you say is clear and as I see it totally correct.

KB: Please be specific. What do you feel is my “core assertion”? The one you disagree with…and why.
This is not a good start. Ken’s entire paper can be summarised in two words and is validated in three . . . “She rulz!” and “Because God said!” This post is over 9,000 words detailing the errors of logic and interpretation Ken shows me. No need to repeat them at the outset, again.
KB[TBM]: In any case, with her being created even after Adam there is that strong suggestion.

DS: No there is not. This is illogical. Adam came before Jesus and Jesus is greater, true, but Jesus came before Paul. Paul is not greater than Jesus. This progression of creation could possibly be seen as a rule but equally it could be seen as just a matter of historical fact. I see no logical reason why woman is greater because she came after. She COULD be and she COULD also NOT be.

KB: The context is the order of creation. You’re missing my point and comparing apples with oranges. Had God created Eve well prior to creating Adam — along with insects or gorillas — you would, I think, point to that as evidence of her inferior status.

Absolutely no I would not have done that because as I said in my reply, the order of creation may have some significance but it also may not. If it is a rule that God set up that first created gives way to second created, then sure, this may have some significance, however Ken is accusing me of missing his point. I don’t MISS it. I ADDRESS it and reject it as a logical failure.

But being created AFTER Adam should give one pause to think the opposite.

Ken drew it to my attention. I paused; thought about it and rejected the hypothesis as unsound logic. It is common where people who have an agenda misconstrue opposition for ignoring them or not thinking right. Thinkers and truthseekers have freedom to agree to disagree, because we are not bothered what other people think. We do the research; think for ourselves; come to logical conclusions and back ourselves. It’s common with Christianity, the Holocaust, abortion and other big issues. Once people find out you’re a Christian they OFTEN talk about organised Religion and how [blah, blah, blah]. Or if they think you’ve got even the slightest doubt about the Six Million Jews and Gas Chambers story they OFTEN call you names beginning with anti- or deny-. Most of them have never read the bible and don’t even know the issues let alone give you the space to explain something. Question by all means. Pause, by all means. Think, by all means. Think the Opposite? Nope!

DS: Consider also 1 Tim 2:12b-13 which counters your logic. “She must remain quiet. For Adam was formed first and then Eve.”

KB: Many creatures were created BEFORE Adam. Does that give them authority over Adam? No, of course not. Paul’s point here is that since Adam was created BEFORE Eve it was given to him to preach the first sermon to the woman, i.e., be the spiritual leader.

Confused? I’m getting that way now. I can’t follow this logic any more. Who is the spiritual leader in God’s economy? My bible says the guy. Ken’s got a different take though so let’s keep on trucking.

KB[TBM]: Further evidence in Genesis of a woman’s preeminence is the fact that it was the woman — not the man — who first gave the orders.

DS: No. Authority does not come from order of use.

KB: You’re confused. The word preeminence has nothing to do, per se, with authority, but with her superiority. 

Correction, discipline, leadership, judgment, responsibility, and spiritual authority in the bible are accorded to Adam, the male. This does NOT demean Eve or women per se.  Does a dog, a tree, a cloud and a mountain compete for status? They are the same in that they were all created but they are different. Adam is more like Eve than a dog or a tree but they all contain molecules of “dust”. They perform different functions.

However, demonstrating her power and superiority over Adam does indicate that Adam was ‘weaker’ — making her very possibly more qualified to be in charge of the household — and she is in charge (I Timothy 5:14; original Greek)! God says so through the apostle Paul.

Ken makes huge assumptions here, and I think incorrectly. First it is an assumption that Eve had “power” over Adam. Secondly he assumes that this power is good”; that it came from God; that it was God’s intent for her; that it was His ideal for the world in the future. Thirdly he assumes that Adam was weaker – weak I can live with. Weak-ER, perhaps not. Fourthly he cannot presume to know the full circumstances of Adam and Eve way back when. If we extrapolate current observations back we can get a good idea of what was happening AFTER the fall and expulsion because those are the circumstances we live in now (except for the existence of the Holy Spirit and work of our Redeemer) but we cannot really understand fully the circumstances leading up to the Fall and expulsion this side of the Pearly Gates.

Now I agree that a woman is naturally more qualified to be a mother and to “run” a household – definitely. I can say this because the Lord entrusted this mothering role to her on departure from the perfection of the Garden of Eden and it’s plain that He resourced her for this. Secondly empirical evidence shows that she has the capacity to multitask, mother and a bunch more stuff that feminists hate to acknowledge.

That women are superior is a very huge subject and in many, many ways women are. And you are, arguably, commanded by God to consider them “superior” (Philippians 2:3; CLNT)).

Yes it is a very large subject. My bible, paraphased states that I should LOVE my wife – not WORSHIP her. I am very happy to acknowledge that she has aptitude and ease and capability in a whole bunch of ways than me. So what? That is superiority in a given area of life; or a given skill-set. But there are some things where I excel and she doesn’t, and they tend to fit in with my responsibilities before my Creator – funny that!

Have you never read the book “The Natural Superiority of Women”? There seems to be none supporting male superiority. According to the Scriptures men only have 3 areas of superiority over women: women are physically weaker, more fearful, and more easily deceived. That’s it, so far as the Bible is concerned. My “TBM” is meant to be an article — not a book, but there is so much more I could say concerning a woman’s superiority.

This is a distraction as superiority is a total non-issue when discussing roles or responsibilities according to scripture. So too with power. Let me give you a real example of this. You may be rich, powerful, capable and represent the entire corrupt government of Samoa – superior in every way, but if I write a book called Corruption in Samoa, and if it reveals an inappropriate relationship that you have with one of your CEOs and you kick me out of the country as a result you can show your country, indeed the entire world how much power you have, and how superior you are, but it doesn’t change the facts. The truth is the truth.

DS: Yes it MAY be that she has greater authority but it does not flow

KB: “flow”? Do you mean “follow”?

Yes I do/did.

DS: that she DOES have it because she spoke first. Jesus failed to defend Himself before a man of political power and it is now seen as a demonstration of His authority that He chose to humble Himself and pay the ultimate price. How many times in Scripture is the Lord last in a sequence of events? Still small voice? The mighty brothers all pass until David is sought for? The accusers who all disappear as He marked out their crimes one by one in the dust with His staff until they left just the last Man to speak condemnation of the one accused of a mortal sin?

Sorry but this is not “evidence” at all.

KB: Her superior power and influence over Adam is evidence that God had given her an important quality for rulership in the home. 

Nonsense. Assumptions again. Ken assumes that her influence came from God; was God’s intent for Eve and that it was His intent for all mankind. Observing reality is good. It gives us evidence to validate our beliefs. When I see apples fall down and they explain the forces of gravity I connect the two. This is solid logic. Seeing Adam’s failure is not necessarily an indicator that this is the way things should always be. It MAY be but this is NOT evidence. It is the same as our power to kill. Cain and Abel had a scrap. is that evidence that God gave one set of offspring the skills to survive in an aggressive world – not at all. This is not good logic.

KB[TBM]: Eve essentially commanded her spouse Adam to obey her rather than obey God (Genesis 3:17). And he obeyed!

DS: You confuse power and authority. She had the power. He had the authority (and responsibility).

KB: God’s WORD carries tremendous authority. And aside from sex, Adam’s authority was solely in God’s word. Solely.

Yes.

His responsibility was to give it to her — which he did.

No.

As for Eve, God gave her not only POWER over Adam, but He has given a wife AUTHORITY over her husband (I Corinthians 11:10; CLNT; see also I Corinthians 7:4). You have, like most men, avoided these scriptures.

I don’t avoid any scriptures and my opinions have nothing to do with my gender. Unfortunately Ken misquotes scripture and applies it out of context:

1 Corinthians 11:10 For this reason a woman should have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.

1 Corinthians 7:4 It is not the wife who has the rights to her own body, but the husband. In the same way, it is not the husband who has the rights to his own body, but the wife.

The first quoted scripture refers to wearing a “symbol of authority”, namely a head-covering. There are few verses as contentious as 1 Corinthians 11:10 for translation! The verse fits in the context of the opposite of what Ken has taken it to mean (i.e. Paul is sharing about the sacrifice that a woman makes to and for her husband and family) NOT as a validation for feminine leadership. Any claimed symbolism from this verse lacks evidence.

The second reference relates to submission in a sexual sense. Paul is talking about each party submitting to the other. Hardly evidence from scripture for female leadership!

KB[TBM]: This is most remarkable and it bears repeating! From this verse we learn that it is normal for a woman to have a desire to control and subjugate her husband. This desire is from God!

DS: No. Not at all! Go back to before the fall and you will find the reverse. Go looking for God’s intent and you will again find the reverse. Your error Keith [Ken] here, respectfully, is that you confuse normality with God’s ideal. It may be NORMAL for homosexual men to copulate ‘from behind’ in some sections of society. That doesn’t make it godly conduct however. In Samoa it is normal to lie; to deceive; in order to save face, to be diplomatic and to avoid shame for another. That normality is not that of a Christ-centered existence. The desire is perfectly natural and understandable though I agree!

KB: I haven’t the faintest idea of what you are talking about here.

Let’s explain more . . .

Ken said, “it is normal for a woman to have a desire to control and subjugate her husband”. He then ascribed that DESIRE to God. I may desire to take many beautiful women to bed and to throw in a bit of control and subjugation for fun. I’d consider that pretty normal for a male. We may not DO that but that desire takes a normal desire to procreate and twists it outside of what God embedded it in us for. Before the Fall however things were different. THAT’S the simple message.

And my name is not “Keith.”

I’ve already addressed this, apologised and explained.

KB[TBM]: So it’s not at all evil,

DS: If you say that it is not evil by nature then I’m sorry, I think you are wrong.

KB: You’re saying it’s evil for a wife to desire to rule over her husband in domestic matters? How can that be when God has instructed wives to “rule” (oikodespoteo) the home? You make no sense.

God gave Eve specific responsibilities upon eviction. He tasked her with mothering. He had already given Adam dominion. I only make “no sense” when one accepts that it is God’s wish to have a wife rule over her husband. This is circular reasoning. I can accept that Ken sees the woman’s desire to rule as normal IF he believes what he does. I don’t though. I see it as a mark OF the Fall.

See also The American Standard Version; Green’s Interlinear Greek-English N.T.; Interlinear Greek-English N.T. (by George Berry); Interpreter’s Bible; Montgomery N.T. (by Helen Montgomery); New Greek-English Interlinear N.T.; New Scofield Study System Bible; New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance; Spiros Zodhiates: The Complete Word Study N.T. Dictionary; Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the N.T.; Theological Dictionary of the N.T. (Geoffrey Bromiley); Vine’s Complete Expository of Old and New Testament Words; Word Meanings in the N. T. (Ralph Earle); Young’s Analytical Concordance (under the heading of “house”).

Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible and Young’s Literal Translation of the Holy Bible both read for a wife “to be mistress of the house.”

No problem. I own a business. When I employ a Manager I gave her the full responsibility and authority to act in the businesses best interest. When I come into that business I choose to respect her; to appreciate the authority that I gave to her and I do not interfere unless she asks me to help her. I though still own the business. Likewise with authority given to a woman in a home. God has ordained a role; a position with authority; a position of strength and also power. Did God want that OVER her husband or with by and for her husband. Taking scriptures as a whole, and not picking certain ones, arguably out of context, the answer is emphatically, no.

I hasten to add here that this same thing applies to men in marriage too – our role has biblical basis; it is unique; we are designed uniquely for it and that it is with and for our wives and families, not BY it though. I understand this to be the core traditional Christian understanding. I accept it with provisos that mankind’s implementation of this is not always pretty.

DS: If you say though that the consequences aren’t always evil, then yes, I can agree with you. The consequences of evil can certainly be used for good – THAT though is another subject for later.

KB[TBM]: It’s also quite normal for a husband to submit to his wife’s dominance.

DS: Yes, post the fall, most definitely. Normality however is not necessarily godliness. We must transcend our normality into ideals, and principles and extract them from the noise around us. As Christians we do this from primarily both the written Word and the spoken Rhema, the quickened Word of the Holy Spirit.

KB: It is God who gives us the ideal principles and ideals to live by and He emphasizes repeatedly (4 times) that husbands are to LOVE their wives,

No question. This is absolutely true however who has the wisdom to determine what that love should be and in what format? Man, woman, Pastor, Priest, Ken, me, the kids, posterity, the media, a blogger, a theologian, the theologians from antiquity? I posit that it is none of these, instead it is the Holy Spirit. Day by day, moment by moment, circumstance by circumstance.

which means to defer and submit to them (I Corinthians 13:5).

No it doesn’t – at least not all the time. We defer to our wives because we recognise their god-given role as a help-meet; as someone who understands us and is beside us but this is mutual submission, not as Ken explains here a norm according to God’s intent. When we submit one to another we always retain the god-given right to remove our submission.

KB[TBM]: Indeed, if he truly loves his wife he will want to do whatever she says (assuming it is lawful).

DS: No Keith [Ken] – to me this is nonsense, sorry. First the law has nothing to do with anything to do with the Kingdom of God – nothing. Then true love can only come from the foundation of a commitment – first our individual [and combined] commitment to Christ and His love. Then we must learn to discern our spouse’s needs and wants in the context of His love; His guidance and His word. This is the act of applying wisdom – knowing God’s will in any given situation. My wife’s needs and wants change as she changes and in relation to circumstances as well. The context determines a lot of this. She may want something a certain way a certain day and the Lord may guide me to give exactly as she asks – wisdom. Yet less than 24 hours later in a different context the very same thing may lack wisdom and despite her (or even my) desires to give or get or do it. Chocolate all day will make her fat, then it will be MY fault I pandered to her.

KB: The Bible doesn’t say to “pander” to your wife — but to LOVE her and if you truly love her you will encourage her to avoid junk food, cigarettes, and the like. These things could be considered “unlawful.” After all, our bodies are the temple of God’s holy spirit. Also, we are not to participate in other men’s sins — including a sinful addiction our wife might have.

Ken fails to understand the principle and gets caught up in the detail. It is the same error he makes with scriptures, tagging a string of selected verses together to attempt to validate a position he’s already taken (from revelation). The point is not junk food. The point is that loving somebody does NOT mean “if he truly loves his wife he will want to do whatever she says (assuming it is lawful)”

DS: No no no – you have lost the plot my friend!

KB[TBM]: However, our mother Eve took her natural inclination to rule over her husband much, much too far.

DS: Agreed, but at the FIRST step, not the 9th or 109th step!

KB[TBM]: The point is that Satan never once encouraged her to get her husband to disobey God. No, that was entirely Eve’s idea and her doing,

DS: Yes

KB[TBM]: the result of her intuitive ability and her dominant personality

DS: Perhaps and conditionally, yes, but only after having fallen (or more technically in the process of falling). Temptation is not a crime. Entertaining it is neither, even though it is foolish. Even believing in a falsehood is not a sin per se, but ACTING on it is. The scripture, “Lead not your temptation to sin!” reveals this truth.

If she had intuition and dominance this does not necessarily mean that this was FROM God

KB: Actually, God’s Word emphasizes that “all is of God.”

Also, “known unto God are all of His works from the beginning of the world” (Acts 15:18); i.e., Adam and Eve did exactly what God had preordained for them to do. They didn’t take Him by surprise, as some Bible teachers claim.

OK We’ve got a few topics slipped in here, some biggies and they demonstrate pre-conceptions and a priori beliefs that explain a lot of Ken’s thinking.

The biggie is whether evil is FROM God. You can see that Ken believes so. It’s a fringe theology that counters mainstream Christian thought. I reject it, not because it is fringe but for other reasons. It relates to the thoughts as Ken says that nothing is a surprise to God; then is associated with the thought that because He created, is in control, that therefore all things are as He wishes. This is sound logic on a human level. If we ‘own the show’ whatever it may be then we have the expectation to have things our way. Nothing will happen on our watch that we’re not happy with. This becomes important in the sense that we can understand power and control. We all work at this level – crying as a baby to get milk; looking good to catch a decent mate; working hard to advance our careers; etc. But this logic fails badly when we introduce freewill, grace, and the incredible workings of the Holy Spirit. It’s a huge and complex area of theology which is not my area of interest, but the question becomes critical in these sorts of situations. If God preordained that Eve sin then her desire to control is “normal” therefore can be accommodated. If He didn’t then we can legitimately ask, well is He still in control and can He still be trusted to run the show?

DS: or that it was His ideal. Remember that this is the time that things were a-changing and not for the better!

KB: Yes, because of Adam’s carnality. And yet, ultimately things were for the better because humanity was going to become more god-like by experiencing evil.

I disagree. Better than God’s perfect creation living in perfection. No Ken has lost the plot and has warped scripture around this new paradigm that he’s had an epiphany over. Sorry, Ken. I think you are wrong.

KB[TBM]: Of course this command Eve had given to her husband to eat the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:17) was evil since she caused him to disobey God.

DS: I don’t see it this way Keith . [Ken] She gave FRUIT, brother, not a command.

KB: Please read the above verse I gave — Genesis 3:17 — Eve told Adam to eat the forbidden fruit. Is it too much trouble for you to look up the scriptures I quote? Ideally, you should not only look up the scriptures, but meditate upon them. How else can you properly critique someone’s work?

If I didn’t have a thick skin I’d take offence at this.

First I DO research well. I spend hours reading and studying not only scriptures, not only what the writer has said to me, but also who he is and what makes him tick. I had searched on Ken’s email address and located submissions that he had made to government in the USA AND tracked the responses from them back to him. I had analysed multiple posts in late 2016 that he had made to male bondage and womens’ lib websites promoting his paper. I had located his version of The Biblical Marriage online AND I opened my local version of NET Bible and dived into it.

I didn’t tell Ken half of this and generally wouldn’t bother but he’s challenged my integrity, so I do now. I take care and am thorough. I can validate this research through my Chrome ‘Better History’ plugin for the dates in question if required to (chrome://history/ in my browser). Nuff said I think!

So then to the scriptures and my use of my NET Bible. I can’t remember the exact sequence of bible research on this topic but my NET Bible records what I’ve viewed. The above graphic shows the coloured visited hyperlinks.

There are three mentions of this event in Genesis: Ken’s Genesis 3:17 which is God recounting the events but there are also Adam’s recounting of the events and the first factual reference.

  1. Genesis 3:6b She also gave some of it to her husband who was with her, and he ate it.
  2. Genesis 3:12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave me, she gave me some fruit from the tree and I ate it.”
  3. Genesis 3:17 But to Adam he said, “Because you obeyed your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ cursed is the ground thanks to you;

So the NET Bible’s Translation Notes are very helpful deciding the events. I appreciate not only the NET Bible® translation which I consider reads quite well most of the time, I really appreciate the way that various translation challenges are held up honestly for us all to grapple with the myriad of issues translators have. It also makes for real trouble with dogmatic theologians when they realise that not everybody agrees with something.

The first recounting reads that [Eve] GAVE some of it to [Adam] as does Adam’s account, “she GAVE me some”. The third account though is translated “[he] OBEYED [his] wife”. From this we have Ken’s [selective] interpretation: “Of course this command Eve had given to her husband”.

So the first instance (Genesis 3:6) includes a description in the Translation Notes that highlight a Hebrew literary technique, “culminating in the action of the story . . . the action is told in a rapid sequence of verbs – she took, she ate, she gave, and he ate.” This is a simple and unambiguous analysis to me.

The second instance (Genesis 3:12) Translation Notes explain that “the woman” is the independent nominative absolute; that it is picked up by the formal subject, [and] the pronoun “she” written with the verb (“she gave”). Got that? LOL

They continue: “The point of the construction is to throw the emphasis on “the woman.” But what makes this so striking is that a relative clause has been inserted to explain what is meant by the reference to the woman: “whom you gave me.” Ultimately, the man is blaming God for giving him the woman who (from the man’s viewpoint) caused him to sin.”

Right, so again we have the translators explaining that she “gave” to Adam. No notes picking up on anything in the text that could mean a “command”.

In the third instance (Genesis 3:17 which is the one Keith relied on to justify his take) the Translation Notes explain things for us. The word “obeyed” is not a literal statement of cow-tailing to authority, but that it is an implied meaning taken from an idiom “listen to the voice of” in the original text. The man “obeyed” his wife and in the process disobeyed God.

My reply above “She gave FRUIT, brother, not a command.” reflects a broader and I believe more accurate picture of those early events. Eve’s act was more of a temptation than a command which is what I went on to explain:

DS: She was the second cause of his temptation (after the tempter who was the first cause).

KB: Surely you are not suggesting that Satan directly tempted Adam.

The process involved three entities before God – Satan, Adam, Eve. Satan tempted Eve. Eve tempted Adam. They all incurred the wrath of God. It’s written in Genesis as clear as daylight.

DS: She didn’t cause him to disobey at all otherwise God would have endorsed Adam’s buck-passing and not condemned him. Yes she was deceived and yes she sinned and tempted Adam but it is a big call to connect things as you do.

KB: That’s probably because you have not studied the matter off and on for many years.

It’s a big call means that it deviates substantially from mainstream beliefs and teaching. Now I am not averse to going out somewhat on many topics that are contested, may have doubt, but when I/we do this we must be ready to firmly validate our beliefs before the Lord. Length of studying has no bearing on accuracy and truth.

KB[TBM]: Adam no doubt reasoned that since he was not deceived (I Timothy 2:14), he never would have eaten the forbidden fruit except for Eve’s insistence,

DS: Oops! No. You preclude the possibility that he knew very well what he was doing was wrong and chose to do it nonetheless.

KB: Yes, he knew it was wrong but did it for HER, since he loved her more than God.
One Bible teacher even suggested that since he knew Eve was going to die (having eaten the fruit), that he wanted to die with her. In any case, SHE was the cause of his disobedience to God.

OK. So this possibility is reality for Ken. It appears to him that Eve was deceived, but Adam deliberately knowingly rebelled. To me this is a possibility although one would wonder why God didn’t credit this to Adam in some way. It seems more likely to me that Adam and Eve were both in it up to their necks and were equally sinners!. It’s a moot point here as Ken points out.

I take issue though with one phrase in the way Ken has written it: “SHE was the cause of his disobedience to God.” Pride is always the root cause of rebellion. Eve was the source of temptation. The root of Adam’s failure however was (like it is for all of us) Adam’s pride.

DS: In my life alone Keith [Ken], I have had many opportunities where I could have sinned along with my various wives. I left my first wife at a sex-commune at the age of 23 and paid a horrendous price as a result facing divorce at a young age for standing up for what I knew was God’s ideal. Then later I determined that I would not tolerate sexual immorality in my second marriage and again my children lost a mother as a result. It took me nine separations in eight years to get to the point that I finally stood up for something that I knew was right. Easy to look back on it now, but sometimes we choose to accept something less than ideal. This is a human weakness not necessarily obedience to “Eve’s insistence” as you phrase it.

KB[TBM]: so he looked upon the whole thing as being her fault.

DS: This is quibbling and conjecture. Pride is the root of all things ungodly, anti-social and self-destructive. It is when we entertain pride that we blame others – that’s it. Nothing more. I think you are reading too much into this. They had fallen and both screwed up. Human nature was now sinful – period. Very simple.

KB: It’s very common for men to lose their passion for their new wife, and Eve had given Adam a very good reason to be angry with her. Even today professing Christian men reveal animosity towards women — and Eve in particular — I’ve seen it many times and it’s disgraceful. Thus one editor for Christianity Today stated:

“I became disquieted by evangelical attitudes toward women, which struck me as chauvinist at best, and probably misogynist.” — Randall Balmer 01-07-02 p.71

Maybe so. Ken though slips into worship of his ‘fairer sex’ rather than love. Sadly for me, obedience is different from love. Love sometimes requires hardness, for example as shown here, in this post.

KB[TBM]: As we saw, he even felt like he belonged to her, announcing that he was “her man” (Genesis 2:23; original Hebrew), and initially demonstrated that he was more than willing to do whatever she said. He appeared, at least, to be the true “submissive sex,” which one could argue are males.

DS: This is somewhat debatable and the Hebrew thing is a new one on me. I do accept though that the general thrust without setting values or normality is correct – that man did appreciate woman and that his b*lls were bigger than his brains from the outset!

KB[TBM]: But when God punished him for eating the forbidden fruit and cast them out of the Garden, Adam lost much of his love for Eve and not only blamed her, but perhaps God as well (Genesis 3:12).

DS: Yes.

KB[TBM]: So, like so many husbands do after marriage, he lost his passion and ardor for his wife and ceased to be a loving, submissive husband. Of course, Eve did not lose her God-given desire to be dominant in her marriage.

DS: Yes, but your theory and interpretation of things here makes an assumption that I question – that her domination was normal/good/from God, but that Adam’s loss of passion etc wasn’t. This I question.

KB[TBM]: In other words, a role reversal had come about and a battle of the sexes had begun with her the loser.

DS: You have a fixed view here Keith [Ken] that precludes other possibilities and this concerns me. A truthseeker can play with various ideas and concepts and has a flexible mind. This is not necessarily a binary situation as you tend to present it. In the real world, humans seek binary situations: right/wrong, good/bad but the Lord gave dominion to US. He gave freewill to US.

KB: Yes, we have free will, but it is VERY limited, so limited that you only find it mentioned in passing in one place in the entire Bible, in the Old Testament.

Free will is demonstrated ad infinitum throughout scriptures, just as sex is and eating. A father of xxx person who begat xxx person who begat xxx and so on means generations of sex. None of that is explained each time. Likewise with eating and other bodily functions – they are implied, occasionally mentioned when appropriate. Free-will existed in all situations.

The N.T. emphasis is that God works all things according to His will (Ephesians 1:11) — not man’s.

The extent to which the Lord controls His creation though is a theological issue, and a biggie. My guess from this statement is that Ken leans strongly to the God does it all side of the debate.

DS: The Holy Spirit enables US to live OUR lives but in Him. God didn’t sit there and tell Eve how to love her man submitting to Adam’s every whim every minute of the day. Likewise it wasn’t His intent that Adam named creation according to God’s specific commands or wishes! No, the binary situation that you talk about exists in theologians minds but not in His!

The words “role reversal” imply that there is a fully detailed Law of some sort that we must all abide by. Yes, in the fullness of time there may be some standards that we all fit into but Jesus told some to go away and talk about their healing. Some he told to keep quiet about it. Some He demanded action prior to the gift of healing and others He gave unconditionally. To some He spoke hard words as He cast them off. To others He spoke harsh words to correct and chastise for their edification. At times He baited His enemies and others He avoided them. Sometimes He took them on full-frontal attack and others He suffered.

As I compare scriptural guidance in this area around man/woman relationship, I see a continuum around principles applied with sensitivity. My son looks after his two children at home while his wife works. I find that strange and would call it a role reversal, yet I was a solo father for years working from home and around my children, thus for him I showed him the importance of being around the children. Is this role reversal good or bad? We really can’t answer that as it is not a binary situation. Likewise with Adam & Eve; you and yours; me and mine. You see my point that it is not a binary situation?

KB: No. To my knowledge I have never read about “binary situations” in the Bible. Can we talk plain and stick to the Scriptures?

No. A binary situation is a simple, right/wrong, good/bad situation. It is a description of a situation not an event in it’s own right. God said not to eat or they/we die. That’s a binary situation. Right/Wrong. Eat – Die. Leave it alone – Live. Jonah went West. God said East. That’s a binary situation so trouble eventuated. Jesus’ command to love our neighbours or to go out on the byways in twos sharing the Good News is NOT a binary situation.

Spiritual responsibility and its associated authority) in my household is a binary situation for me. I fully expect to face the consequences for what happens/happened on my watch. Love though is NOT a binary situation. Sometimes my wife feels loved and others not. Sometimes I have acted in love and other times I have failed. It’s a continuum not an absolute.

Keith clearly struggles in this area. He seeks and wants the definitive in areas of social interaction and leadership from others (in his case from his wife) is his solution. Unfortunately it doesn’t marry with the core teaching of the bible.

KB[TBM]: God only took her to task for eating the forbidden fruit and merely acknowledges in Genesis 3:16 that while she has this dominant nature, from this point on it would largely be dormant and inactive because Adam would no longer be the loving submissive husband that he had been previously. Being physically stronger, he was going to throw his weight around and rule over her (same verse). So with her no longer having much if any say in her marriage, Eve was left unhappy and frustrated, as many wives are in their marriages. Nevertheless, given the opportunity — by again having a submissive husband — she could of course regain her rightful position and more effectively become her husband’s helper.

DS: I find this section a confusing mixture of good logic and truth with false deductions and assumptions that challenge. It’s a little complex to extract simply but I’ll give it a go:
Taken to task for eating the fruit – yes
“Dominant nature” – assumptions of this as normal/good are ungrounded and dangerous
“Dormant and inactive” – assumptions abound here
“because Adam” – not a logical flow/cause
“submissive husband” etc – disagree and a huge set of problems associated with it all as you write and present it
“physically stronger” yes but only to a point. In my experience women have shown greater propensty to physical violence than men in the white Caucasian world.

KB: Really?! Then why are there so many more MEN than WOMEN in prison?

Yes, and that’s got nothing to do with it.

DS: Agreed in the darker nationalities where greater male violence appears to be the norm.
“having a say” – yes but raises a huge hornet’s nest and your simplistic picture doesn’t ring true to me at all. Communication; attitudes; cultural and social influences; circumstances; timeframes; personality and the Lord’s will and actions all mix together. I could talk all day about this one!
“unhappy and frustrated” – This would describe me and my marriages – many of them and it’s for the total reverse reason!
“having a submissive husband” – no this is a badly assuming statement, again in keeping with your lineal prescriptive look at things which are actually quite dynamic.
“rightful position” and “effective … helper” – illogical and assumptive, in my opinion!
“ezer” etc – great stuff!

KB[TBM]: Why cannot God use women as well as men in this process?

DS: He can – and does. Agreed!

KB[TBM]: God in fact started this process back in the Garden through a woman, Eve (Genesis 3:22), using primarily her to make mankind more godlike, and “capable of knowing everything, ranging from good to evil” (Genesis 3:22; the Message). Of course, when one looks at the state of man and the condition of the world today, one sees a tremendous need for improvement. In fact, one could argue that men need to improve, in some ways, even more than women do.

DS: No. I think that you are connecting things together where there is no connection necessary and you miss understanding some other things. The knowing things and becoming like God was not reality. It was a deception. They came to know things that they were not intended to know. Sure. Fact. That though is not godlike. Big mistake there.

KB: You’re suggesting it was NOT God’s will for them to gain the “knowledge of good and evil”? So His will was thwarted? You’re mistaken.

Ascribing evil to God is the same thing that Satan tried in the Garden of Eden. It doesn’t work with me! Man (and women) seek and sought to know good and evil. I love knowing Good. I love knowing my wife, and knowing how to play the piano. I don’t enjoy seeing people hurt each other, or watching people die, or get old. I hate medical things and just wish that there wasn’t any need for hospitals or doctors. Knowledge of evil has brought huge costs to mankind. His will, His desire, His command was that we lived according to His instructions. Yes, because of the Fall, His will was not achieved, but . . . God. He foreknew, and is divine. I leave it to Him.

DS: Then there is no validation for an incorrect process just because you get the answer right. You can get 100% in an exam by cheating but the process lacks integrity – likewise with Eve. What she did was wrong. Good came of it by God’s grace not BECAUSE of her action.

Men do NOT need to improve “more” nor can they. Improvements are a deception. We need to HEAR and OBEY, not to improve. Relationship is the key – not conduct. Conduct will change naturally when relationships develop – us to God and us to our spouses. Purpose-driven religion is a false God – a deception that enslaves. Truth is liberating – the opposite to what you prescribe, sorry!

KB[TBM]: Note that a woman (as his wife and Helper) should have authority “OVER” her spiritual head (see also the Jubilee and Concordant Bibles). Note also that the woman was created “for the sake of the man.” And the meaning here of “sake” is “out of consideration for, or in order to help someone.”

DS: Now we get to the crux of your teaching. Before we dive into it I wish to recall a comment that I made before you sent this to me – can you handle both sides of the argument? This is especially important when you move away from mainstream teaching for there is generally a good reason why something is mainstream. So, teaching that a woman has authority over her husband requires much more than a few scriptures, a few alternative translations and a few sales pitches to convince. You need to take ALL Scriptures that run counter to your thesis and handle them constructively, explaining why they fail to pass the test.

My take is that you are dead right to attack male dominance in HOW it is represented in real life but you move into dangerous and weak ground in WHAT you propose. As I don’t argue theology, consciously and deliberately, I’ll just leave it at that and give you a couple of examples of what I mean.

Take the Holocaust for example – If I tell you that I have yet to see credible evidence that supports the mainstream events as peddled by those who write and supply the news you may want to call me a horrible racist name – an anti-whatever. Now I’m prepared to bet that you haven’t done the research that I have in this matter and I can probably prove it by asking you to tell me the Revisionists’ core concerns. Most of the time people cannot even tell you the subjects of contention, let alone both sides, and certainly not be able to provide any validation to those arguments. You gotta know and explain it all before you have credibility. You don’t here. YOu simply present what I call a ‘single dimension’ position. It may be right but equally there is always another side to ‘single dimension’ presentations.

It’s like people who say that Christianity sucks but they haven’t even read the bible! You need to present a working knowledge of BOTH sides in order to get traction with a genuine truthseeker.

Think about eternal hell and damnation for a moment. We can identify the problems in translations of certain words; misuse of certain concepts and the logic of both pros and cons. As a result of this understanding we have the authority and wisdom to advise others from a position of strength. Your paper here fails to do that. I did also alert you to this criteria before you sent it to me, although you failed to respond to it in any way.

KB: Rather she is principally for his character development by ruling over him (I Timothy 5:14) in such a way as to improve him,

When you ignore the detractors; when you fail to address the ‘other side’ not only at all but by ignoring and specifically twisting scriptures Ken loses credibility. I alerted him to this at the outset and he failed to present the alternative scriptures and viewpoints.

DS: Anyone with an inch of real life experience knows that this is totally unrealistic and to me is just hogwash.

KB: You’re saying God doesn’t know what He’s doing?

No. Ken doesn’t understand.

KB: I’ve read of first hand accounts of men who’ve claimed they’ve been helped by their wife’s dominance and discipline.

I don’t deny that in the slightest, but because some can get benefit from some sinful act doesn’t make it right or good for a world-view.

DS: A man is designed to resist improvements from above. Change of any sort can only ever be affected from beside him or behind him.

KB: Meaning?

We men normally don’t take too well to advice given to us from superiors, however when we feel loved and appreciated and have someone beside us who can encourage us to do big things of human growth and development, or to take a step of faith, or to change our ways, then yes we can do that at the drop of a hat.

DS: It is when we have respect from our wives, partners or children that we shine. Respect and the associated honour accorded to the man is the core biblical teaching as I read scripture and apply it in real life in relation to a man’s growth and development.

KB: You remind me of Rodney Dangerfield — always worried about getting respect from others, when you need to be concerned about pleasing your Creator.

Not worried, just recognising reality.

DS: Now one of the critical things here as I understand things is not the improvement, but the relationship and attitudes behind that relationship that creates the environment that we want to love our partner (and Saviour) more.

We are on opposite sides on this issue are we not?

In the decades that I have helped couples “improve” each other, it is the reverse of your teaching that I have seen to bring godliness – man to love – yes, but woman to respect and NOT assert.

KB[TBM]: And this makes perfect sense, since one in authority can accomplish much more in improving others than one without authority. Authority promotes compliance and harmony.

DS: No it doesn’t just as electricity or even electricity plus a switch doesn’t make a cup of tea. Teabags, water, a cup, a human and paying the utility company though CAN make a cup of tea. Authority just is. We either have it or we don’t. The power is there to use or it isn’t depending on whether you’ve paid the power account or not.

KB[TBM]: This is why, for example, that God has given civil servants authority. But in the case of wives it’s domestic authority.

DS: Where is this authority granted Ken?

KB: From God in I Corinthians 11:10 (when rightly translated).
By the way, how did you get my name right here?

Addressed already.

DS: I see empathy, responsibility, aptitude, designed capability and more but I don’t see anywhere that God gives a woman domestic authority.

KB: Then HOW do you explain her “rule (of) the household” in I Timothy 5:14? Do you have an explanation? In Weymouth’s paraphrase of this verse we read, “I would therefore have the younger women marry, bear children, rule in domestic matters…”
It’s a good paraphrase.

Yes. Agreed, but it refers to “management” of a house and home. There are seven words used in English by various translations:

1. TAKE CARE
New Living Translation – take care of their own homes

2. KEEP
New American Standard 1977 – keep house
New American Standard Bible – keep house

3. GUIDE
King James Bible – guide the house
Webster’s Bible Translation – guide the house
American King James Version – guide the house

4. MANAGE
New International Version – to manage their homes
English Standard Version – manage their households
Berean Study Bible – manage their households
Berean Literal Bible – manage their households
Holman Christian Standard Bible – manage their households
International Standard Version – manage their homes
NET Bible – manage a household
GOD’S WORD® Translation – manage their homes

5. MISTRESS
Young’s Literal Translation – be mistress of the house
Douay-Rheims Bible – be mistresses of families

6. LEAD
Aramaic Bible in Plain English – lead their households

7. GOVERN
Jubilee Bible 2000 – govern the house

8. RULE
King James 2000 Bible – rule the house
American Standard Version – rule the household
Darby Bible Translation – rule the house
English Revised Version – rule the household
Weymouth New Testament – rule in domestic matters
World English Bible – rule the household
New Heart English Bible – rule the household

To take this one form of translation out of context denies Paul’s clear guidance the total reverse of Ken’s claims. Take for instance Titus 2:4,5, in which he gives similar advice to the church:

Titus 2:4 In this way they will train the younger women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be self-controlled, pure, fulfilling their duties at home [keeping house], kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the message of God may not be discredited.

Paul makes this pretty clear, and Ken’s selective scriptures are misleading!

DS: I see husbands issuing it to their wives in mutual submission but not God. God came to hold MAN to account. Man was responsible so logically if God is fair and true and just man MUST have the authority, which if he understands and is godly he passes through to his wife. If she usurps it, which is her right she may have power, but she cannot have authority. Take the example you give of a civil servant overstepping their mark. If an Inland Revenue clerk tells you that you can’t spend any money on your account until you pay your tax, you respect that, but if they then say that you can’t have more children, or that you can’t even get romantic with your wife until you pay your taxes then you know very well that they have overstepped their mark. In disciplining children a wife will often growl and discipline a wayward child. It is natural to have rebellion in a child taken to the father by either feuding parties. This is not a cultural or biblkical teaching that can be undone or explained away. It is simply the way things are, anywhere in the world. Like gravity. It just is that way. Why? Because God has designed things that way. Wives have domestic authority in most situations because most men see that as a form of love and give. In return that gift is exchanged for sacrifice and respect. The point here is one that you deny, or attempt to. It is the key – the core of your paper. And you err, sorry.

KB: No, I’m afraid YOU err. Sorry. You need to study and meditate upon the Scriptures more.

I still haven’t got there!

KB[TBM]: God, as the Supreme Subjecter, desires to use women as well as men in His plan to teach humility and ultimately bring all of humanity into subjection (I Corinthians 15:28).

DS: Agreed.

KB: You do?! Earlier you didn’t.

I agree that women have a critical role in “His plan to teach humility” and to “bring all of humanity into subjection OF HIM” not of woman!

KB[TBM]: With Abraham troubled by it all and not certain as to what to do, God intervened and revealed to him that Sarah’s desire (though appearing to be evil) was actually in harmony with God’s will and thus Abraham was to do as she said (verse 12). So in the end, this is a classic case in which obedience to one’s wife is obedience to God.

DS: No it is ONE case and an exception. You are on very dangerous ground extrapolating one case as an ideal and even more dangerous ground ascribing it as His will to all if it only applied in one situation.

KB: Yeah, I like to live dangerously. O please. I bet you didn’t notice that Abraham didn’t remind Sarah that HE was the boss (as you would have done). Nor did he protest — as admittingly I would have done — and done IMMEDIATELY. 

How one deals with differences has nothing to do with the principles involved.

No, instead he quietly considered obeying her — though her command was absolutely outrageous! Why did he do this? Because he was in the habit of obeying her (in domestic matters).

Maybe so but as I said, Abraham is one example of a human being. Was his conduct perfect? Nope! Was his faith credited as righteousness, yes. Did he lead a fulfilled life – you betcha but his example runs counter to the teaching of the Word.

KB[TBM]: We need to understand that the principle of mutual submission between a husband and wife is taught more than once in the Scriptures,

DS: Yes. Now you come back to talking good sense in my eyes, but mutual submission is not what you’ve been on about so far! 

KB: Sure it is. It’s defined as “experienced or expressed by each of two or more people or groups about the other.” The experience is submission.

KB[TBM]: distinguishing the wife’s domestic authority from the husband’s spiritual authority. In most cases it’s quite simple to do.

DS: Simple yes, Easy, maybe not! I do not agree with you over this distinguishing as you describe it Ken. I think you are mixing two concepts, moving in and out of them as it suits you to make your point, rather than addressing the issues where they fall. A woman has domestic responsibility and in godly relationship a loving man extends his God-given authority to cover her in that unique role. This is a principle that describes not a prescription that is Law. I see them as separate things altogether. I also don’t like differentiating things like this in practical life. Life is much more complex.

KB: You’re forgetting God’s command to be “rightly dividing the Word of truth” (II Timothy 2:15). Ever hear of K.I.S.S.?

Yes. Some things though as I said are not easy.

Domestic authority as Ken has presented it requires a man to submit as per Eve’s command in the Garden of Eden, yet a man has spiritual responsibility and authority. Go figure.

DS: Humility – you really do hit the nail on the head many times here Ken. It is the key to many things of God – many even most!

Bad behaviour – totally agree – gender neutral though – it works both ways

KB[TBM]: Then there is the “good” requital. The “good” requital spoken of in this verse involves punishing her husband in a manner as God does.

DS: It seems to me that this is around about the point that you go too far Ken. Somewhere around this part of your logic,

KB: The primary subject here is God’s Word — not my logic. The LOVE of a husband for his wife involves SUBMISSION (as we read in I Corinthians). Focus more on that.

DS: you incorporate the faulty belief of “authority” established earlier into a right. This is the area that I think your logic fails in application. I have no issue with physical acts of punishment for pleasure or by choice of two parties. That’s between the parties and the Lord. What I do have an issue with is the aspect of authority and your extension of something personal into a principle or a norm. More on this later.

KB[TBM]: In a most profound way she is imitating God, believe it or not!

DS: Yes, in a way, but this use of power does not automatically equate to authority or righteousness or godliness.

KB: You remind me of so many men who HATE the idea of a woman, especially a wife, having any real authority over them. 

It’s not a matter of hating anything. It’s truth, and love outworked a different way from Ken’s.

KB[TBM]: And on the husband’s part, when he submits to his wife’s discipline he is imitating Jesus Christ, his supreme example

DS: Agreed.

KB: Really?! Well, good.

There are times and places of course where a man chooses to listen to his wife and respect her better judgment. When he does that of course he is imitating Jesus’ conduct/example! Saying sorry though, or deferring to another trusted who chastises us does not require us to give it all over to another as Adam did.

DS: Jesus chose NOT to exercise the power He had for personal gain , likewise it is a mark of strength to choose to humble ourselves and submit to our spouse. But while we agree on this and the value of suffering/correction:
suffering is an important part of a godly man’s calling
. . . we differ on the extent of and circumstances surrounding physical correction.

KB: O.K. Well I bet had you been an Israelite back in the days of Moses, upon hearing of the command to have your foreskin removed (by your wife), you would have protested this surgery as being extreme, bizarre, and would not accomplish its purpose. Yet God said you had to have it done if you wanted to remain in the nation. But it really was only a SYMBOL of becoming humble and obedient — it did not make you so. Nevertheless, God commanded it upon all males.

No I wouldn’t have. The reason is that I live by the Word of God – in practice and in principle in the light of the Rhema Word. I would have acted on my beliefs. I’ve done this all my adulthood. Some people live by principle. I am one of them.

Now did you ever wonder why only males; why not females too?
(The Muslims ‘circumcise’ their women.)

No, not really.

KB[TBM]: they sometimes put professing Christians to shame.

DS: Indeed, but that’s only the surface issues. The deeper ones of faith and relationship and obedience – no!

KB: The important thing is LOVE — and they do love their wives — and in many cases they change for the better! For as the Bible says, “discipline is needed.”

The message of Jesus’ ministry was that LOVE and TRUTH in equal measure brought godliness. Too much lovey-dovey and not enough Truth makes for weakness and failure. Too much truth and not enough love makes for a harsh and brutal existence.

KB[TBM]: (#1) So the first reason for a wife to discipline her husband — in a manner of her choosing — is simply to mollify her when she is angry or resentful at her husband’s failings.

DS: My take on this reason Ken is that you are right that one can assist our wives permitting correction but that giving away the authority simultaneously is to err. One can give golden eggs, but always retain the Goose that lays them would be the principle that I see expounded in scripture. Taking this back to the Garden of Eden conceptually, Adam could have allowed Eve to eat,

KB: Obviously, it would have been physically impossible for Adam to stop her, but he could have warned her and he did.

Not that I know of! Adam never warned or considered correcting Eve as far as I know.

However, as you know he set the wrong example for us by obeying her rather than God.

Agreed

DS: then refrained from sin himself, then offered himself as a sacrifice FOR her. In that event Adam and not Christ would have been the Redeemer.

KB[TBM]: Establishing these rules in the home and enforcing them through various punishments is an essential and important part of a godly wife’s role as the ruler of the home and as her husband’s Helper. A wife’s family, including her husband, can learn obedience through suffering

Yes – agree totally however you take this further than me, and I think you err in doing this.

KB: O.K. 

KB[TBM]: we need to dwell with her, as the apostle Peter says, “according to knowledge” (I Peter 3:7),

DS: Yes

KB[TBM]: knowledge that God has given her authority over us,

DS: No, not to the extent that you write

KB[TBM]: and that we need to gain knowledge of all of her personal likes and dislikes in order to be pleasing unto her.

DS: YES, YES totally but as I have said this is a living changing dynamic that requires WISDOM.

KB[TBM]: This is most important!

DS: Agreed. The process by which we achieve this though is more important than the results. I paid high prices in my failed relationships but the reward is that I have a totally clean conscience and am infinitely more real and credible as a result. It is the difference between those [few] of us who live by principles and those [many] of us who live by results.

KB[TBM]: For failing to honor our wife in this manner may well result in God not hearing our prayers

DS: Yes but this raises another bunch of topics that we may not agree on – seeking results [which undermines the valuing of relationship] and prayers [where I doubt that we would see eye to eye].

I leave the tail end of your document as we have dealt with the core teaching and principles well so far. A lot of the rest you do well explaining and discussing and I am in a large part in agreement with you. You extract scripture and apply it well, aside from the core issues/attitudes/beliefs I’ve highlighted above.

Ken I like the way that you chase this butterfly.

KB: “Butterfly”? You have some strange analogies.

I’ve explained previously that some people connect with analogies. Ken is not one of those.

DS: I like the way that you connect scriptures and apply your learning in creative ways. It is highly refreshing for me and I see a purity of thought and logic that I wish many other theologians demonstrated. BUT you seem to me like a kid chasing a butterfly focused so much on the item that you don’t realise that you’ve stepped off the cliff and are falling. Your butterfly is flying down with you as you fall so your relationship with it remains relative but you’ve lost grasp of reality at a big picture. That’s how I see you anyway.

My advice is that even at your age you should develop your writing and push through with your thinking. I would leave this butterfly for the moment. Enjoy it when it is appropriate, but reach out and re-orientate yourself, taking back the authority that you have apparently bequeathed to your wife.

KB: You err. It’s her authority from God. Men thinking they have all the authority and their wife has none — become proud and pompous (if they weren’t already).

Yes that is certainly the temptation and yes we all can fail in that, however this is not an automatic event. Women are not immune to this tendency either as sin affects us all. It is not a gender thing.

DS: I don’t want to “go into the bedroom” at present but in a practical sense, physical discipline needs boundaries and this I believe should come from the man. Sure we give authority and space to others ‘for a season’, but as men who ultimately are responsible to Him for what happens in our families we must have the ultimate right to pull back; to adjudicate when enough is enough and to insist, “Stop! This is far enough”.

I am aware that you may consider me subject to the pressures of social norms and resistant to your writing for reasons other than being directed by the Holy Spirit. In this regard I can tell you that I was raised outside of a Christian environment; that I was essentially raised in an environment where clothes were optional at a community level (and in summer very rare); that as a young man I spent time in what was essentially a sex-commune; and that I have a highly flexible mind BECAUSE I am first and foremost a truthseeker, a Christian second. I can identify with much of the value that you ascribe to this butterfly, but it is not one to be worshiped as you appear to do – it is one to enjoy along with much else. I think you err in both your analysis and how you presented it to the world.

Your personal attributes and capabilities though are clearly unique. I am taking a risk in saying this like going out on a limb but I think you will find a greater peace and sense of satisfaction in thinking and sharing and writing about your life and values and beliefs away from this topic.

KB: It’s a great topic when shared with open minded people! As is universal salvation!

DS: I don’t think it’s where the world is at and nor does it address their needs before Him in 2017.

KB: And I greatly disagree. And the divorce statistics back me up.

Christian divorce statistics have nothing to with correct biblical exegesis.

DS: I think the Lord may have other intentions for you in your later stages of life. What may those be? That, I can only guess at as you have given me nothing to work with other than this document and from what I have found about your promotion of it.

You asked for feedback. I have given it. I’ve attempted to speak honestly and lovingly but I can understand if it causes offense, stress or pain.

I don’t want to leave you wondering how to respond to this advice. If you disagree and go away, that’s fine by me. If you wish to engage in some way I would consider it an honour and I am at your service.
Regards
Dennis A. Smith

Going Further

My bible tells me that man has responsibility for the spiritual well-being of his home. Being accountable in an environment of natural justice means that he then must have the authority issued from the one he is accountable too.

Ken has used faulty logic, selected a few random examples and scriptures totally out of context to extrapolate his take that it is normal for man to submit to his wife’s authority and has ignored scriptures contrary to his belief systems.

He failed to take note of my warning that I seek to understand BOTH sides of an argument or ALL the issues involved and has simply forwarded a ‘single-dimension’ opinion document. He has sought feedback and got it but when receiving criticism, he then defended everything without recognition of any points of logic I have raised. Persistent non-engagement smacks of cognitive dissonance or else an agenda or something else.

I think that Ken is ‘different’ and there are a combination of these factors at play, making this more than a discussion of theological nature – I think it is a critical subject for Ken. Ken is over 60, “60+” is how he put it to another. Ken also appreciates discipline from his wife, although I have not heard anything from or about his wife. That a man seeks and considers that a female-led relationship is normal (as Ken does) is uncommon – certainly as I see things – BUT it is clearly normal to Ken – and he says this.

Here is my take . . . Ken is different, and for whatever reason (personality, genetic make-up, life experiences, psychiatric or spiritual – whatever) he appreciates the fact that his wife runs the show at home. This appreciation has turned into his ‘revelation’ when considering the scriptures relevant to spiritual leadership. This is the butterfly in my analogy.  Many both within Christendom and outside of it, already argue about the extent and nature of this spiritual leadership thing. That’s all good but to have Christians argue the actual principle that marriage is not supposed to be male led, nor even a democracy but that it is normal and good for the woman to lead is, as Ken says himself, revolutionary.

Or, it is simply wrong . . . dead wrong.

Included in our interchange and my research online, I’ve seen enough clues to suspect that this difference in Ken relates to social issues and his difficulty in some of the deeper things of relationships. I’ve seen these sorts of things** before many times in others who are different. I think now of four specific people. One had Aspergers’ and another Autism. Another two that I can think of had social difficulties from the earliest stages of life. All of them showed a remarkable capacity to believe things that to others observing were insanity, but it was their way of handling challenging social situations.

So now, I ask the question rhetorically . . . given that there are clearly huge differences in humankind, could it be that there are two realities here . . . that both Ken and I are correct?

To this I suggest that no, our positions are mutually exclusive – the truth is the truth, and just because of [genetics, sin, psychiatric, circumstances or] whatever a man must take responsibility before his Creator. There are situations however when on the surface things can look better the opposite way around and it might be an act of wisdom for a woman to take a leadership role at times.

Thank the Lord though that you or I don’t have to make that call when and how and why this was or is to be done. If Ken needs his wife to slip him over her knee and set to with a paddywhack, then so be it. If she does so because he says that he needs it, I say give her the paddle. But that doesn’t mean that others can and should do it this way . . . and certainly not based on incorrect use of scripture and logical failures.

There will though be a reckoning day for sure, and greater Wisdom than ours will rule that day!

Thanks for engaging Ken.

 

 

* Just kidding!
** It actually doesn’t matter as I am not his psychiatrist or advisor and it’s off-topic, but for the record, Ken’s selective use of scripture, referencing one text that fits within a string of other texts (context) that runs totally against the flow of thought; his trigger of revelation not logic or factual knowledge; his reliance on others’ making decisions; the way he attempted to promote biblical values as he saw them to non-biblical market sector; the silence from his wife; the repeating insistence on his being correct; his failure to apply cold logic; his difficulty in considering his hypothesis merely that; the way he responds in like-fashion to my style; his oversensitivity to being called the wrong name and lack of understanding when I self-corrected; his inability to grapple with an analogy; his assumptions of others’ reasons for doing what they did (mine, God’s Adam’s, Eve’s and more) are all factors and clues – all pointing towards the psychiatric difference I note.

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